GrannyMoons Weekly Feast: 15 May 2022

Stay Alert and Doors Will Open.
You can never know when and where a magic door will open for you,
so pay attention, stay watchful, and never give up hope. ~Jonathan Lockwood Huie

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Blessed Be My Little Witch. To those who came before and those who will come after, know that the Goddess is with you always. Thank you all my dear readers…be blessed. ~GrannyMoon

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Dark Moon – Time to Rest
New Moon – Time to Begin New Projects; Birth; Attraction
Waxing Moon – Time to Grow; Increase
Full Moon – Time to be Fulfilled; Abundance
Waning Moon – Time to Banish; Decrease
Last Sliver of Moon – Time to Die; Letting Go
Dark Moon – Time to Rest Again
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Light A Candle Today!
In many different traditions lighting a candle is a sacred action. It expresses more than words can express. It has to do with gratefulness. From time immemorial, people have lit candles in sacred places. You may want to begin or end your day by the sacred ritual of lighting a candle on this gratefulness. Or you may want to light a birthday candle for a friend. One single guideline is all you need: Slow down and do it with full attention.

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Current Moon Phase: FULL MOON

Time: Approx. 14 days after New Moon (Energy lasts from three days before to three days after actual full moon)

Goddess Aspect: Mother

Associated Goddesses: Danu, Cerridwen, Gaia, Aphrodite, Isis

Magickal Attributes: Fruition, Manifesting goals, nurturing, passion, healing, strength, power. Workings on this day are for protection, divination, “extra power”, job hunting, healing serious conditions Also, love, knowledge, legal undertakings, money, and dreams.

Goddess Month of Month of Hera runs from 5/16 – 6/12

Celtic Tree Calendar Month ~ May 13th to June 9th ~ Hawthorn

Herb of the Year for 2022: Viola (violet, heartsease) named by the International Herb Association

What’s Happening in MAY
May 10: Jupiter enters Aries
May 10: Mercury turns Retrograde
May 15/16: Scorpio Full Blood Moon Eclipse (May 16 East Coast time)
May 15/16th: The Vesak, the birthday of Buddha
May 15: Mokosh is the Mother Goddess in Native Slavic Paganism
May 15: Green Corn Dance
May 16: May cheeses were traditionally made at this time. A French summer cheese: Nettle Cheese, wrapped in fresh nettle leaves for ripening.
May 19: Canadians celebrate the birthdays of both Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth II. Victoria Day is also the unofficial beginning of the warm season north of the border. Canadian gardeners, raise your trowels!
May 20: On this day in 1810, Dolley Madison is said to have served the first ice cream at the White House–strawberry, it is said. Not so: Thomas Jefferson beat her to it, but the myth lives on. For the real scoop, check out this post.
May 23: The birthday of Carolus Linnaeus, born in 1707. A Swedish botanist, Linnaeus helped us keep things straight with his binomial system of plant names.
May 27: Today is the birthday of Rachel Carson (1907), writer, ecologist, and marine biologist. Her courageous 1962 book Silent Spring alerted the world to the dangers of pesticide poisoning.
May 30: The Southern Ute Bear Dance (Memorial Day Weekend)

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Reiki III and Advanced: 1 PM – 3 PM – May 22
Black Hat – May 28 – 7 PM – 9PM
Face to Face Class: 1 PM – 3 PM ~ WitchCrafting – June 5
Face to Face Class: 1 PM – 3 PM ~ The Herbal Cauldron – June 12
Face to Face Class: Noon – 2:00 PM ~ The Magick of Crystals – June 19

Join us at https://www.meetup.com/Witchy-Wednesdays/

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High Priestess Training with GrannyMoon
http://GoddessSchool.com

The entire course takes 15 months to complete (four levels). Tuition covers lessons, assignments and instructor feedback. In addition, students may download guided meditation exercises and be eligible for Sabbats, Esbats and retreats with the Sisterhood. The entire fee for each level is $120 (payment plan available), sixteen lessons in each level, except the last.

Ceremonial Cords and frame-able Completion Certificates are awarded as members complete each level.
Level I – Initiate of the Sisters of the Burning Branch – White cord
Level II – Adept of the Sisters of the Burning Branch- Red cord
Level III – Priestess of the Sisters of the Burning Branch- Black cord
Level IV – High Priestess of the Sisters of the Burning Branch – Green cord

You Might Also Be Interested In:
http://goddessschool.com/Paganstudies/index.html
http://www.goddessschool.com/courses/natural/naturalwitch.html
http://goddessschool.com/Paganstudies/healingarts.html

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Learn About Herbs with GrannyMoon!

There is so much to learn about herbs! In Herbalism 101, we cover 21 herbs, and you will start your own personal Materia Medica, that we will build throughout the next levels. We will cover the basic aspects of herbs. From culinary to magickal, medicinal to ornamental. As well as the many modalities of herbs!

During this course, in addition to the online lessons and hands-on projects that you do at home, I will be sending you articles, and information, as well as questions about your own personal use and research.

I look forward to walking this green journey with you! I love herbs and I hope that you do too or will learn to!

There are 10 lessons in each level and there is no time limit for completion. You may study at your own pace! There are no texts to purchase.

For more info or to join my class, click here!
http://goddessschool.com/Paganstudies/healingarts.html

The cost for Level 1 is $50.00 or $150.00 for the entire Healing Arts Course (1-3) which includes a free Reiki certification course when all three are ordered at the same time!
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Earth Signs and Omens in Nature Course

Learn to read the mysteries of nature! The course covers signs and omens, communication, seasonal rites, trees and shrubs, flowers, plants and weeds, herbs, plant magick, the Guardians of Nature and much more.
http://goddessschool.com/courses/earthsigns/index.html

GrannyMoonsMail@yahoo.com

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The Goddess School Grimoire

http://www.lulu.com/shop/sotbb-Goddess-school/the-Goddess-school-grimoire/hardcover/product-762380.html
Hardcover: $39.45
Softback: $26.95
eBook (PDF): $6.25

The Goddess School Grimoire is a collection of recipes, artwork, poetry, prose, prayers, rituals, spells, and practical Goddess wisdom put together by the teachers, students, alumni, and friends of The Sisters of the Burning Branch Goddess School. The sisterhood is dedicated to restoring spiritual balance by returning the Divine Feminine to her rightful place and by assisting women in their personal and spiritual development. Since being founded by Head and High Mother Priestess Grandmother Moon in 2000, The Goddess School (GoddessSchool.com) has grown into a large and beautiful global community of women.

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Join Our Cat Community on Twitter! The Cat Philosophers! Must Love Cats!
https://twitter.com/i/communities/1508878853783048194

Three Rules

  1. Be kind and respectful.
  2. Keep Tweets on topic.
  3. Explore and share.

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Full Flower Moon in Scorpio and Lunar Eclipse on May 15-16!

The Scorpio Full Moon brings powerful energies for changing and transforming our lives. It is a good time for releasing, clearing, and cleansing the darkness of hidden, unspoken conflicts and a time of quietude to get deep with ourselves. Sun is in Taurus, and Scorpio-Taurus interplay brings forward a tension between signs polarities and requires some intelligent balancing. While self-oriented Taurus enjoys stability, certainty and security supported by materials possessions on a physical plane of existence, passionate Scorpio represents more mystical concepts of life focusing on intangibles, changes, and inner emotional and spiritual workings.

In this esoteric dance of Light nature of Taurus and a Shadow nature of Scorpio, we need to find a balance and uncover the path to healing from inside out. The best way to do that is to acknowledge our own shadows and start cultivating self-love by accepting our dual nature.

The lunar eclipse offers the ways to transform heavy emotions into expanding awareness of the new realities. It is important not to resist to transformative changes even when they cause discomfort and uncertainty of the unknowns.
The name for this Full Moon was inspired by wonderful colors and fragrance of blooming flowers gifted by Mother Earth as a celebration of Spring. Sometimes it was also referred to as the Full Corn Planting Moon or the Full Milk Moon.

Text: Rivers in the Ocean

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Heartwings Love Notes 1034 Friends of the Heart

Heartwings says, “Friendships form an important part of life.”

Because I have lived such a long life, I have had many friendships of different kinds. I have certainly experienced the truth of the saying “People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime.” I’m glad for any kind of friend, whichever she or he has been. I even have special friends I never have and may never meet face to face, but know through my computer. But the lifelong friends are the most special. I have a couple of the lifetime sort that go back close to fifty years! Sometimes the connection has taken place at a distance, sometimes large chunks of time have passed between contacts, but the friendship endures.
There is a very special paperweight on my coffee table. Upon it is written, “The loveliest flowers in the garden of my life are my friends.” The one who gave it to us is now dancing with angels, and I know this because she was such a special person, not just to me but to many others. I miss her, and Stephen does too. Once upon a time our phone would ring at nine o’clock every morning except Sundays. I’d pick it up and hear the cheerful voice of our friend. She and I would chat briefly about our lives and doings before hanging up and getting on with our day.
She lived downstairs from us in the same building and suffered from pains in her legs. Many evenings I would visit her in her apartment. I would sing to her and do healing work for her pain, and she always said she felt better afterward. It was my joy to do what I could for her. We spent time in one another’s company, chatting or just visiting. She was very clever with her hands and made me some sweet dolls I cherish and keep close.
A good friend of mine, also a writer, recently wrote this: My mother used to say, “Friendships are like flowers, if you don’t give them regular water and sunshine, they die.” When I read this, I realized the way my late friend and I had nurtured our friendship. My mother, too, provided me with a good example of friendship nurturing. She and her friends used to meet twice a month at each other’s homes for lunch. They’d bring their mending or whatever handwork they might be working on and sit together in friendly conversation, after lunch.
In today’s world with its many distractions and complications, friends are more likely to meet at the gym or other exercise facility after work. But the intent is the same: the nurturing of friendship. You never know when someone will fall ill and leave the earth, and there need be no regrets if the friendship has been well tended. My friends are very important to me. I maintain a large email correspondence, occasionally telephone to chat or perhaps text a friend to see how she or he is doing. Watering and tending my garden of friends is vitally important to me.

May you find good ways to nurture your friendships.

Blessings and best regards, Tasha Halpert

PS I am so thankful for those who read my column and write to me with comments and considerations. Please feel free to do so. My poetry chapbook, Poems and Prayers is available from me for $10. Postpaid. Just drop me a line at tashahal@aol.com . For more love notes, please visit http://www.Heartwingsandfriends.com.

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Llewellyn’s Spell A Day

Divination with Spring Flowers
MAY 15, 2022 BY ARI MANKEY

“He loves me. He loves me not,” she says as she plucks the petals from a recently picked flower. It sounds cliché, but flowers are a lovely way to do a little springtime divination. Flowers don’t leave a lot of room for interpretation, so this works best with questions that can be answered with a “yes” or a “no.” For best results, pick your own flower, preferably in the early morning hours, when the possibilities of a new day are at their strongest.

Before plucking your flower, say:
Spring flower picked in
the morning dew,
Show me my future, may it be true!

Hold whatever question you have in your mind as you pluck off the petals, beginning with the affirmative answer (“Yes, it will happen!”) before moving to the negative (“No, it will not.”). The last petal will give you your answer. If the answer you receive is positive, save the petals and keep them for good luck.
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May Flowers
MAY 14, 2022 BY DEBORAH BLAKE

There is a saying “April showers bring May flowers.” The saying, however, doesn’t specify which flowers or what you should do to make the most of that abundant May energy. I suggest turning your attention to flowering herbs, which can be made into healing teas, tinctures, and ointments and, of course, used for magic. Which herbs are in flower will vary depending on where you live, but you can either plant them in your yard or garden on purpose or take a walk and see what has sprung up without human intervention. ( Just make sure that any herbal flowers you pick are safe and readily identifiable.) When you have found some lovely May flowers you wish to use, put them in a vase or bowl on your altar and say this spell:

April showers bring May flowers.
May those flowers bring me
healing and magic and joy.
So mote it be!
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Harmony in a Bottle
MAY 13, 2022 BY CHARLYNN WALLS

Friday the 13th is typically a day filled with superstition. Today, try to bring harmony into your world. Create a magickal water to boost your spirits and keep you in balance.

You will need distilled or spring water to mix with your essential oils, herbs, and crystals in a container. Some possibilities of herbs or oils to incorporate include heather, lilac, and thyme. Crystals or gemstones to use could include quartz and moonstone. Use what works for you. When adding your ingredients to the container, say:

When my days are in disarray,
allow me to find harmony today.

Store this in a container with a tight seal on it. If you have a small spray bottle, transfer some to it for easy use. Once you have the spray mixed up, use it throughout the day as needed. If there is any left over, you can use it whenever you feel like you are in a state of imbalance.
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Springtime Love
MAY 12, 2022 BY BARBARA ARDINGER

Who doesn’t feel the love in th e air after Beltane? That celebration of love and fertility can last all month. Are you in the mood for love with someone who’s near you? Someone far away? Are you feeling May’s currents of passion?

Set up your altar with all the love trinkets you can find—candy hearts, chocolate kisses, bright jewelry, photos of the one you love, cut flowers in a vase, or anything else you’re inspired to add. As you light a pink candle (of course), recite these lines from the poem “The Bait” by John Donne and fling them out toward your desired beloved:

Come live with me, and be my love,
And we will some new pleasures prove
Of golden sands, and crystal brooks,
With silken lines and silver hooks.

Collect some of that golden sand (in a heart-shaped dish) and visualize those silken lines and silver hooks on your altar. Invite your desired beloved to create some special springtime love.

Prove some new pleasures. And go to a good concert. (Be sure to extinguish the candle.)
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Shower Song
MAY 11, 2022 BY NATALIE ZAMAN

Some people get their best ideas in the shower. It’s a great place to get physically clean, but all that water can also wash away fogginess and stress.

Turn your morning (or evening) routine into a refreshing ritual. Chose a soap scent with meaning (and that uses real herbs or essential oils). Mint is refreshing, citrus is happy, and vanilla and cinnamon are warming. While in the shower, as the water pours over you and you’re enveloped in soap, sing this simple song and visualize what you want out of the shower (brightening, wakening, clarity, etc.):

Bubble, bubble
Shower and scrubbable,
I feel _!

Fill in the blank with your desired outcome (Awake! Refreshed! Calm! At peace! ).
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Nurture Nest Spell
MAY 10, 2022 BY LAURA TEMPEST ZAKROFF

It can be difficult to manifest a goal that doesn’t have something easily tangible for you to work with (such as love, truth, health, etc.). This spell will help make your goal more physical for you.

Locate a small roundish pebble (about one to two inches long) that feels good to you. After cleaning it, draw a symbol on it that represents what you’re looking for, or write the word itself. This is now the “egg” containing the idea you will nurture. Create a little nest for it. This can be as simple as a little box that you decorate, a swath of fabric, or a nest largely formed of dried herbs that align with your goal.

Set your egg in the nest upon your altar (or a safe place) and visit it daily, even for just a couple of minutes. Add little items that inspire and feed your idea until it has manifested! Afterward, you may return the pebble to the earth and recycle your nest as necessary.
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Make a Port-a-Pagan
MAY 09, 2022 BY SUSAN PESZNECKER

Doing ritual in our own spaces is always simple, but what if we’re caught in a new location, burning with the desire to carry out ritual or spellwork but without the tools to do so? Of course, you may say ritual doesn’t absolutely require any tools—and that’s true. But sometimes we want the tools. The answer? The Port-a- Pagan, a miniature set of spellcrafting materials.

Start with a small lidded tin, one that closes snugly. Add items to it, considering which tools you typically use for ritual and spellwork.

These might include:
• A small altar cloth, such as a bandana or handkerchief
• Birthday cake candles
• Bits of dried herbs
• Small stones or crystals
• Divination tools: miniature tarot cards, small rune stones or sticks, coins, small dice, a scrying mirror, etc. •Vials of salt, oil, and charged water
• Large beads in basic colors
• A collapsible cup/chalice
• Chalk
• Strike-anywhere matches
• Other items as desired

Carry this with you for use anytime.

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Nine Ways to Help Others Awaken to Consciousness

By simply being yourself, you can help the people in your life see a living example of consciousness.

  1. Living by your values allows you to become a positive source of inspiration for others. Don’t hide — express yourself and embrace life without reservation. By simply being yourself, you can help the people in your life see how one person can make a difference by being a living example of consciousness.
  2. When you communicate your views, do so casually and in a nondogmatic manner. Allow the people you speak with to ask questions. Offer only as much information as they are ready to hear.
  3. Igniting the spark of consciousness can be as easy as giving someone a gift. A favorite book, a medicine bag, or a beautiful gemstone can pique your loved ones’ curiosity and prompt them to begin an exploration of the soul.
  4. Teaching a friend, relative, or colleague to meditate or chant can put them on the path to consciousness while simultaneously reducing their stress levels.
  5. Others may want to know more about living consciously but are unsure of how to begin. Starting a discussion group — even a virtual one — can help you reach out to individuals that are eager to learn.
  6. By recognizing and acknowledging the inherent value in everyone you encounter, you can teach them how to value others. Sometimes, the easiest way to encourage people — even challenging ones — to respect others is to respect them first.
  7. Invite people from your personal and professional lives to join you in attending a ceremony or ritual. The experience may touch them in a profound way or introduce them to a new spiritual path.
  8. Casually point out the interconnectedness of all living beings using concrete, everyday examples. Many people are unaware of how their actions affect the world and are intrigued when they learn of the power they hold.
  9. Introduce your loved ones to conscious living in a lighthearted and enjoyable way. Serve delicious organic recipes at gatherings, volunteer as a group, and show them how wonderful it can feel to be truly aware and connected to the universe.

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More Benefits Of The Great Outdoors
~Andrew Weil, M.D.

It doesn’t take a scientific degree to know that spending time outside can make us feel good. Now, two recent studies add to what conventional wisdom has long suggested: Nature is good for both body and mind.

For one study, researchers from the Boston University School of Public Health looked at the effects of living near greenspace (grass, parks, trees, gardens, etc.) on nearly 13,600 women with an average age of 61. After measuring the women’s memory, attention, and learning abilities, along with the estimated amount of greenspace in their neighborhoods, the investigators found that women who lived in areas with more greenery had better cognitive function.

In another recent report, researchers from Drexel University’s College of Nursing and Health Professions surveyed more than 300 adults about their connection to nature, as well as their estimated daily fruit and vegetable consumption. They found that people who reported feeling more strongly connected to nature also reported eating a more varied diet and consuming more healthful produce than their peers.

Sources:
https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamanetworkopen/fullarticle/2791565

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A Labyrinth: Celebrating Life’s Twists & Turns
Celebrating Life’s Twists and Turns

by Andrew Weil, M.D.

Interested in how a labyrinth has influenced Dr. Weil’s life? Learn more from the man himself, as he discusses labyrinths…

Life involves many twists and turns. Why not celebrate them?
That is one of many lessons taught by the labyrinth, an ancient form that has fascinated people for millennia. I had one on my ranch in southeastern Arizona (I’ve since moved to a smaller home in Tucson) and I must say, I miss it. When I travel, I seek out labyrinths and always find a slow walk through the turns and curves worthwhile.

A labyrinth is not a maze. A maze is often made of tall hedges that obscure the route and offers multiple paths; it is designed to confuse and challenge. A labyrinth has one way in, one way out, and lets you see where you are at all times.

The idea of building the one at my ranch came from a friend, Jace Mortensen. He used the Chartres Cathedral near Paris, France as inspiration, copying the pattern of the famed labyrinth laid into the floor sometime around the year 1200. He used a center stake and string to mark the 11 concentric paths and the central chamber, making a pattern 80 feet across, roughly the same size as the one at Chartres. H then placed stones on the circles.

So what’s the attraction? Labyrinths were traditionally seen as representations of a pilgrimage – people who walk the path were said to be symbolically retracing heroic journeys to salvation or enlightenment. But in recent years, they have been regarded as ways to reach a contemplative state, and this is how I see them. Because the path is complex, it requires one’s full attention – which means the everyday cares that normally nag the conscious mind fall away. The walker becomes quiet, absorbed in this moment, freed by the fact that there is nothing to do now but walk, slowly and deliberately. It is at least restful; at most, transforming.

If you would like to realize the advantages of a labyrinth, an organization called The Labyrinth Society maintains a “Locate a Labyrinth” tool that lets you find labyrinths in your community or in places you may choose to travel. Also, labyrinths are not difficult to build – there are many resources on the web. Enjoy!

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Supporters

Just as there are people that support us, we are a supporter to many people, extending the cycle and giving back.

Behind each of us stands at least one supporter. This was once thought to be the spouse who ran the home while leaving the other spouse free to work. While this is still one valid scenario, most of us will find that we have other kinds of supporters in our lives. In some cases, our supporters are the people whose help allows us to do the things we’re best at, see to our obligations, or pursue or dreams. In other cases, our support may come from the people who are there to help us through life’s challenges by offering us their strength and bolstering our spirit.

Our support may come from our families and friends or from the people we hire–nannies, assistants, gardeners, healers, therapists, and advisors. Our supporters may be the mentors who help us express ourselves by listening to us as we share our thoughts and feelings. Our supporter can be the person sitting next to us at a networking meeting or the teacher from our childhood whose words still resonate in our minds. We have always had supporters around us whether we noticed them or not. No matter where the support comes from, few of us can make it through life without assistance.

As we take the time to acknowledge everyone that has ever supported us, we can’t help but feel grateful. Understanding our place in our human support system helps us see that just as there are people that support us, we are a supporter to many people. By gratefully accepting the expertise and assistance of our supporters, we can consciously and more easily build a life that we love. Thanks to our staff, groups, friends, and loved ones for all their support. We all need each other’s support to thrive in this world.

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Music As Medicine
~Andrew Weil, M.D.

For this study, researchers at the University of Belgrade School of Medicine recruited 350 patients who had a heart attack and soon after suffered subsequent chest pain, known as early post-infarction angina. Half the patients received standard treatment with medication. The other half were tested to determine which type of music their body was most likely to respond to positively, and then received standard treatment plus regular music sessions. They were asked to listen to their musical selections for 30 minutes daily whenever it was convenient to sit and rest with their eyes closed.

This continued for seven years after which the researchers reported that music therapy proved more effective than standard treatment alone for reducing anxiety, pain and distress stemming from pain. On average they found that anxiety among the music therapy patients was one third less than among those on standard treatment, angina was about one quarter less. The research team also reported an 18 percent reduction in the rate of heart failure, a 23 percent lower rate of subsequent heart attack, a 20 percent lower need for coronary artery bypass surgery and a 16 percent lower rate of death in the music group.

My take? These results are consistent with other investigations of sound therapy. Music can have a powerful effect on mind and body. When you listen to slow, calming music, your heart naturally beats more slowly, breathing deepens and brainwave patterns change. These physiological reactions are all components of the relaxation response.

Source:
Predrag Mitrovic et al, “Music as Medicine,” Presentation at the American College of Cardiology Annual Scientific Session, March 18, 2020

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Imposing Your Will Upon Others

When we impose our will onto others, we are telling them we want to control and leave them without a true voice.

The right to make your own choices is a precious one. We grow when we have the freedom to decide our own paths and determine what makes us happy. Yet there are those who are inclined to try and control others. They may be driven by insecurity, envy, fear, or the need for power. These people are deeply critical of themselves in their own minds, and underlying that critical nature is unhappiness. Their need to feel sure-footed and secure is quenched by controlling those around them, whether they are friends, colleagues, or even pets. However, nearly everyone has found themselves imposing their will upon others at one time or another.

Trying to impose your will on others can be tempting for many reasons. You may feel that your way is the best way or that you have a keener insight into the direction their life should be taking. But, in imposing your will, you are indirectly saying, “I want to control you.” Thus, even when you have the best of intentions, others may end up resenting you for your actions. It is always helpful to remember that it is possible to influence people and change their behavior through education or example without imposing your will on them.

If you’ve caught yourself being a bit bossy on a regular basis, make a note of it. Write down what the situation was and why you acted the way you did. You may have pushed a friend to try something new, because deep inside you wanted to try it yourself but were feeling hesitant. Or you may be unjustly interfering with work teammates because you aren’t sure of their abilities. Next, make an effort to understand and accept their preferences and ways of doing things. It can feel natural to impose your will when you feel that you “know best.” But there is a freedom to trusting others to find their own methods and joys, even when they might differ from yours. Sometimes the best course of action is to step back and relinquish control. You may, in doing so, see everything from a different point of view.

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Ghost Hunting Theories
Chesapeake Lovers: Pirate Ghosts, Spooklights, and the Romance of Chesapeake Living

Pirate Adventure on the Chesapeake
It isn’t talked about widely, but for 200 years, the Chesapeake Bay dealt with pirates.

Perhaps the most infamous pirate was Blackbeard. After a life of pirating on the seas including the Chesapeake, Blackbeard settled down in North Carolina to the married life. That didn’t last long, however, when Governor Spotswood of Virginia sent Captain Maynard to duel him in North Carolina. After winning, Maynard brought Blackbeard’s head back to Hampton Virginia on the bow of his ship.

Old House Woods
When I was back at my childhood summer home area of the Tidewater Region of Virginia last summer, my friend Julie and I did a little stop by an infamous supposed ghost pirate location, Old House Woods.

Legend says a crew of pirates came ashore in the 1600s and buried their treasure in these woods. They returned to sea where they perished in a storm. On dark nights mysterious figures have been seen digging in the woods with their lanterns.

That’s not all….

There is a Storm Lady of the Woods. It is the wraith of a woman in a long nightgown, her long fair hair fling back from her shoulders, appears whenever dark clouds gather, she is wailing and warning of coming storms.

A man’s car broke down on Old House Woods road and he was looking at the engine when he heard someone behind him say “Is this King’s Highway, I’ve lost my ship.” He turned to see a skeleton in armor. He promptly ran away from it.

As well, a phantom ship is seen in the water nearby. Fishermen report encountering it, lights blazing, men aboard, but no one seeing the fisherman. A fisherman shouted at the ship to not run into him. His small boat was pitched from the tide of it and he said it was a beautiful ship that made no sound, then he heard harp and organ music as it passed. It went into the shore, through the sand and into the Haunted Woods!

You can find a spine-tingling rendition of this legend in Weird Virginia (the Weird USA book series is my serious fav!!!)

Ghost Lights
The Hebron ghost lights are well known in the Maryland area in the County of Wicomico. First reported in the early 1950s, a spectral light was seen in the woods. Town officials wanted to explain it away, but the locals came up with a legend of a slave who was hanged in the woods and others said it was a slave trader and murderess.

Source: A highly skeptical Maryland state trooper, C.C. Serman of the Salisbury barracks, along with several other officers, was sent to investigate and chase the light.

Serman described the light as looking like a “sort of phosphorescent wash basin.”

“The light which appeared to travel about 50 miles per hour, eluded the troopers. The troopers agreed the light wasn’t a gag,” reported The Sun.

“The light, according to a police report, bounces along a back road which connects Hebron with United States Route 50. Or rather, it doesn’t exactly bounce. But it can disappear from the front of a witness, as Trooper Robert W. Burkhardt has declared, and reappear behind him,” the newspaper reported.

Whatever this “thing” is, The Sun reporter wrote, it caused “an uneasy tingling along the nape of the neck.”

I find this interesting because in my account in my book (below), I had watched blue balls of light dance around the graveyard across the sandy road from our summer home on the Chesapeake in Mobjack Bay. I went to investigate and heard a whizzing sound and felt the hair stand on end.

When I was a kid, our summer home in Newpoint at Doctor’s Creek faced a cemetery. I used to watch blue ball lights appear, dance around and then just disappear. I wrote about it in my book Vacationing With Ghosts. What was interesting was that I went in the daytime to see what might be causing it and I felt like I was under attack by something humming and buzzing by me, making my hair stand on end.

Vacationing With Ghosts
In my book, Vacationing With Ghosts, I share my childhood experiences at our summer home on the Chesapeake and the unexplained phenomena of the area, including the pirate legends. The book even includes a section of Chesapeake recipes from my childhood.

One such thing was a woman who seemed to scream across Mobjack Bay. She sounded like she was calling for someone. We were told that if you heard her voice while out fishing, it was a sign of luck for your fishing trip. I do recall us clamming in the pre-dawn hours during low tide and hearing her.

If you love to go to the sea in the summertimes and your only getaway this summer is to stay home and read about it, this book will sweep you away into the five senses, heart, and soul of the beautiful and mysterious Cheasapeake.

And, if pirates and spooklights aren’t enough, the Chesapeake also has its own monster, Chessie. She is reported as the typical serpent/dinosaur form.

Interestingly, the last time I went back to visit the Chesapeake, I was out on a boat going to the lighthouse I used to play in as a kid when the captain shouted “dolphins!” I was shocked to see dolphins in Mobjack Bay. I had never seen them as a child and I practically lived on the water. He reported it was something newer in the past several years. Perhaps a manatee or other creature not usually known for the Chesapeake has made a showing, but the legends of sightings of Chessie continue today.

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The Druids Garden
Building an Earth Oven Part I: Foundation, Dome, and Structure

~Dana

An earth oven is an oven made of cob (a mixture of clay, sand, and straw) with insulating features (firebricks, bottles). It is an extremely efficient and sustainable method of doing any baking you might need to do. One firing of your earth oven can allow you to bake different things for hours (pizzas, bread, casseroles, vegetables, etc), and it takes only a small amount of wood to heat. We fire ours by simply picking up deadfall sticks and branches, cutting them up, and that’s all we need. An Earth Oven is fully sustainable to build and cook with, and you can locally source literally all of the materials for the oven (and in fact, minus fire bricks, you can probably harvest everything you need from your own land or the land around you).

An Earth Oven allows you to connect deeply with the earth itself, encouraging you to slow down, root, and ground. It is certainly a nice example of “slow time” and “slow food”, as the oven takes a few hours to fire before you can bake in it, and it requires some learning. With that said, the rewards of this approach way outweigh any challenges you might experience as you learn and grow.

The other thing about your oven that is rarely discussed is that it is truly a sensory experience. Your earth oven will allow you to bake any number of delicious creations–and when you bake in it, the smell of the bread permeates the clay itself, and it has this incredible smell, unlike anything you’ve ever experienced. Even on cold days, being near your oven will keep you warm (and your oven will stay warm for literally hours–possibly all night). It is just such a wonderful thing.

Earth ovens are a wonderful kind of “hearthspace” where we can cook foods for ourselves and loved ones, use natural materials to build from the land and honor the land, and create a very sustainable and low-input cooking method that is a joy to make and a joy to bake in. In this new series, I’ll offer full details about how to build an earth oven step by step! This series will have three posts–today’s post covers materials, preparing the foundation, preparing the base, and creating the dome. Next week’s post will explore insulating the oven and finishing the oven through a mosaic/cob, finish plaster, and options for doors. The final post will explore how to cook in your earth oven and some tips and tricks I’ve learned in my first year with the earth oven.

Preparation: Materials
In order to build your earth oven, you will need to prepare some materials and do some prep work. Earth ovens are not expensive to build–most of the investment is in your own time and labor.

Materials for building:
Stone and urbanite: You will need some kind of base for your oven; most people use local stone or even urbanite for a strong foundation. Urbanite refers to waste materials like broken bricks, broken concrete blocks, etc. You can use urbanite to “fill” the inside of your base and create a stable foundation. I have also seen people build ovens on old large stumps or platforms.
Subsoil / cob: First, you will need access to your subsoil (that’s the soil that is not full of organic matter, but the soil below it). You will need quite a bit of subsoil, so make sure you have easy access. Once you have access to the subsoil, you will want to do some soil testing (which I explain in the link) so that you can be sure you have good subsoil to work with. To access subsoil here, I found a tree that had gone down and uprooted itself–the roots and ground below it was full of all of the subsoil I needed.
Straw: You will need a bale of straw for your cob. Straw adds strength, can provide insulation, and can help hold your structure together.
Sharp sand. You may also need some sharp sand (known as builder’s sand) depending on what your cob tests reveal. You can get this from a landscape supply or building supply place.
Sand: In addition to the sharp sand as an additive, you will need sand to build your sand dome.
Newspaper: You will need 3-4 newspapers for your dome.
Bottles: You will need at least 20 wine bottles for insulating your base. These can be foraged from recycling bins, saved by friends, or even found at local restaurants. Depending on your structure, you can also use smaller recycled bottles to help with insulation (I did this, but some people use only straw).
Tools for building:
Wheelbarrow or cart: You need something to move materials around your site.
Shovel: A shovel for digging subsoil and moving cob around.
Screen. To prepare your subsoil, you will need to screen it of larger items (stones, debris, etc). For this, you can build a simple soil screener (this also works great for screening compost!). Make your soil screener large enough that it will sit over your wheelbarrow or cart that you will be using to move it. I built mine with scrap lumber and 1/2″ hardware cloth.

5-gallon buckets: A few buckets are super helpful. They can move the cob from where you mix it to your oven. You can fill some with water to rinse your feet.
Tarps: A small tarp will allow you to mix your cob. You might want several, especially if you are doing the work yourself (I found that when I was doing the work myself, I would gather materials – screen cob, gather rocks, etc, on one day and then build on the next, so tarps were able to keep my cob screened and protect it from the elements). You also will need a tarp to cover your cob oven until you can have a structure built for it.

Cob screen in action – this was built with scrap lumber and 1/2″ hardware cloth

Other Tools and Materials:
Pizza peel (I created one from an old aluminum pan and an old rake handle)
Firing door and baking doors (more on this in an upcoming post)
Shelter structure
We’ll cover these last three in an upcoming post.

Preparation: Oven Size
You can decide how large of an earth oven you want to build. There are many measurements in the Build Your Own Earth Oven which I used as a reference. Here’s a simple diagram of the oven and the dimensions that I used. These allow you to figure out how large of a foundation and base you need and will determine the overall structure.

For example, to get good airflow, I created an oven that was 27″ in diameter, which included an 18″ high dome. Your door should be 63% the height of the oven or 11.5″ high.

Your oven can be larger or smaller, of course, depending on your needs.

Preparation: Selecting a site
I think it is really important to spend time selecting the right space. Your space needs to drain well (especially if you are in a temperate climate that has snow/ice). Your space also needs to be protected from the elements as cob is a natural material that will weather quickly if left without protection. Your space should also align with your landscape (see setting intentions with nature).

Your oven should be somewhere easily accessible. You will need to tend a fire every 20-30 minutes for four hours in order to have an earth oven hot enough for pizzas or other baked goods. Thus, you don’t want to put it so far away from your house that it’s hard to tend the fire (but not close enough to cause any insurance issues!)

For my earth oven, I decided to build a little nook on the edge of the property that leads into the forest. That provided both shelter from the elements (and it will get a permanent roof this year) as well as being pretty close to the house for tending the fire in the oven.

Preparation: Clearing and Foundation
Building your earth oven begins with a good foundation. Any cob structure should have “a good hat and feet”, and the foundation is the “feet” part of that equation. Here is step by step how I built my foundation.

I began by measuring out my foundation – 46″ based on the height of my oven. Then I removed all of the plant material in a respectful and reverent way (as described in this post); I worked to replant any material that needed to be replanted, etc.

After clearing, I dug down 1.5 feet and added a gravel base for drainage. It’s hard to tell from these photos, but we are on a slight incline, so I made a drainage area to the left of what you see here.

Preparing and Mixing Cob
The next step is to screen and create your cob. I went to my site with my wheelbarrow and put a 5-gallon bucket at a time in my screen. Using a rock, I worked the cob through the screen. (More details about making cob here).

After that, I moved it to my building site and prepared to mix the cob.

To mix the cob, you will need an old tarp, two or more buckets of water (I like to use warm water!), and some happy feet. First create a well in the center of your cob and, just like making noodles or dough by hand, then start mixing the cob with your feet. You can use the tarp to flip the cob and keep working it.

For building, you will want to also add handfuls of straw (I cut the straw up so it’s a little shorter) and work that in. Ideally, you want something with a good consistency that sticks together and isn’t too wet and crumbly. You can add more water or more soil as you mix. I have more detailed instructions on mixing cob in an earlier post.

You can also get others to help you–friends, children, or even geese.

Building your base
In addition to the cob, you will also need something to build your base up that is fireproof and stable–rock or brick is a very good choice for you. For my foundation, I used a mixture of cob along with locally foraged stones and urbanite (old concrete bricks that were broken and strewn about the property.) A good foundation and good base are critical to the success of your oven. You want to build your base high enough that it’s comfortable for you to fire and use the oven. I kept mine pretty low cause I like to sit on the ground when I work!

I began by mapping out a circle (using a string and some chalk) and building the outside of the circle up using the cob as a mortar. On the inside, I added my urbanite brick pieces and filled in all holes with smaller stones and cob. Here’s the first layer.

As I worked, I continued to build up the stones on the outside. Since I also planned some decoration, I had stones I had already added mosaic to that I wanted to include. These pieces were made of mosaic materials leftover from both from doing my mosaic bathtub a few years ago + broken pottery and plates that I save.

It took me two building sessions, but the base continued to grow.
You can see that I’m building up the inside of the base as I build up the outside of the base.

At this stage, I have the base at the top level and as high as I want it. You can see I am using a piece of wood and a level to check to make sure everything is level as I work. The next step is to add the insulation layer to the base. The insulation layer is made up of a straw-rich cob combined with wine bottles. Bottles offer insulation, which keeps heat from getting absorbed by the stone below. Insulation is really an important feature of these ovens–investing the time to do insulation will allow your oven to be used in colder temperatures, hold heat longer, and heat up sooner (meaning you use less wood to make that happen).

I started this with a thick layer of straw-rich cob. Straw itself is insulating as it traps small amounts of air in it as it is worked into the cob.

Next, I layered the bottles with more cob in between each to create a solid foundation.

After the bottle layer, I used the board to smooth out the layer and wait for the base to dry for about a week before continuing.

Except that we have powerful raccoon activity, and that night, someone tried to dig up my base to see what was in the bottles!

I repaired the cob and then started putting a tarp over it at night to deter the raccoons until my base was a bit drier.

Laying your firebrick
To start your hearth, you want to put down a fresh layer of cob so that you can set the bricks in carefully. Slide the bricks against each other and make everything perfectly level. To make an oven that is 16″ inside (which is enough to cook a few breads and two small pizzas, perfect for small groups or families) you can use fifteen firebricks in the following pattern (the two firebricks in the back were redundant and I removed them later).

Notice here that I’m also planning a lip to pull my pizzas in and out of the oven.

Using a string, I made a circle to show me where to build the sand dome for the oven itself. Now I’m ready to build the actual oven.

Creating Your Sand Dome
I think the most labor-intensive part of this entire process is building the dome and cobbing the dome. Everything else can be done in stages, but this really has to be done all at once. This part is a great time to invite some friends or family to help you if you are doing this on your own.

Start by mixing 1-2 large batches of cob (with straw reinforcement) and tarping that while you build the dome.

To build the dome, you will want a ruler (to test the height of the dome), newspaper, and a few wheelbarrows of sand. I mixed my sand right in the wheelbarrow and got it to a consistency where it would build up well.

So then, start building the dome, using the guide you drew. I stuck a metal art ruler down the center of the dome so I would know exactly how tall it was (with a goal of 18″ tall).

As you get further along, you can take a small board and smooth and shape the sand dome. PUll out the ruler, and you are ready to build!

Go head and coat the whole sand dome with a layer of thick wet newspaper (this creates a barrier both to keep the cob from sticking to the sand and gives you a sense of where to dig out later.

Now, you want at least a 2-3″ thick layer of cob all around the dome. You dont’ want to press the cob into the dome, but rather, shape the walls downward with your hands.

Keep working your way up.

A lot of ovens have some kind of door area. We used old bricks to build our door area (planned out in advanced). To keep the door balanced, we added two pieces of packing foam that we cut to the right size. These were later pulled out when the structure was dry.

The arch proved a bit tricky–we layered sticks in between the sand dome and the foam arches and that provided enough stability until the oven has dried.

At this point, you will want to give your oven some time to dry. We put a little pavilion over it and allowed the summer sun to dry it out.

Digging out the oven
The next step is to dig out your oven and light a few small fires to help dry out the inside of the oven. You can just use your hands, a small trowel, or a stick. You want to be careful as you dig out so that you are not digging into the cob itself (hence why the newspaper barrier is so useful).

I used my shovel to remove the bulk of the sand and then got in there with my hands as I got closer to the walls. I let the oven sit another week after I pulled out the sand, and then I lit a small fire for a few days to get the inside dried out. Here’s the very first fire.

Alright! That’s over half of the oven build. In my next post, I’ll show how I added layers of insulation, a final plaster, and also decorated it with more mosaic pieces that were salvaged from broken pottery.

One final thing I want to say now is this is an incredibly good way to connect with the element of earth. There is nothing more grounding than having your feet and hands directly in the soil, shaping it, honoring it, and getting to know it. I really enjoyed my time building this and felt incredibly grounded afterward!

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Ghost Hunting Theories
Phantom Islands

Gather around, my dearies, for tales of phantom islands and shivers of delight. Phantom islands are islands that were drawn on maps long ago, but seem to have gone missing.

Hy-Brasil
The Lost Phantom Island of Ireland is one such island. For ages, Ireland referred to an island by the name of “Hy-Brasil” (and other spellings). It was documented first in 1325 when it appeared on maps. It was described as perfectly round with a channel river running down the center. The people had known of the island and spoke of it, so it being shown on a map was an obvious consequence of documenting the shores of Ireland. It had earned a reputation for being laced in fog most of the time and possibly holding gold or the answer to immortality.

In the 1480s and explorer went out, determined to find it, but could not. Interestingly, one explorer kept pushing further and further and eventually ran into Newfoundland.

A few in the 1600s claimed they had managed to stumble upon it. One said that they fell into a fog and then found themselves at the shore. They reported giant black rabbits and a wizard living alone in a stone castle who gave them silver and gold. Another said that he was approached by an old man who gave him a book and told him not to open it for seven years. When seven years went by, he supposedly found it to be filled with info including medicinals. When I read that, I thought immediately of the unusual book called Voynich manuscript which has botanicals and unknown language that has been unsolved.

Island of Demons
The Isle of Demons was said to be off Newfoundland. The first time it showed up was on maps in the 16th Century. The story has a deliciously dark history. A woman in 1542 was traveling by ship to French Canada. She supposedly got pregnant by one of the sailors and so her and her lady-in-waiting were dumped off on the Isle of Demons. Supposedly her lover and lady-in-waiting, as well as her baby, died on the island, leaving her to wander around for two years and fought off the devils who inhabited the island. A fisherman found her and took her home to France where her story was put into a romantic novel. Later, it was believed that she had met up with Native American people in the New World and they were the “demons” she fought off.

Sandy Island
Sandy Island in the Coral Sea in the South Pacific near Australia is another phantom island. It shows up on Google Earth (above). It was first listed in 1875 and then up until 1908, and then not again. It had been mentioned as a low-lying island to beware of.

The island was reportedly the size of Manhattan and a research ship went in search of it. When they reached the spot, not only was no island there, but it was 1000 feet deep. It was decided to be a combination of old charts being passed on without question and digitalized issues. Another phantom island was removed from the charts forever.

There have been many infamous supposed islands of the past from the continent of Mu to the continent of Atlantis and even the supposed entry to Hollow Earth said to be at the North Pole region.

  • Movies To Get You In The Uncharted Island Mood –

Uninhabited (above)
Castaway
Robinson Crusoe
Six Days, Seven Nights
The Beach
Lord of the Flies
Blue Lagoon
The Savage is Loose
Paradise
Land of the Lost
Swiss Family Robinson
Island at the Top of the World

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Jigsaw Puzzles

It’s possible that the inscription found on a headstone can solve a mystery that has puzzled you for years, but sometimes the headstone is a puzzle itself. That was the experience of Find a Grave® volunteer, Christine Hanson, and her daughter at Slate Ridge Cemetery when they found headstone jigsaw puzzles by happenstance.

This cemetery sits high on a hill which overlooks the small town of Delta, Pennsylvania. Christine and her daughter were in the process of fulfilling photo requests that day. There are two sections and the old section doesn’t include a lot of shady spots.

They were working out in the sun and after awhile took a break by a small grove of bushes. Christine shared her story with us.

While we were getting some shade, it was obvious there were stone pieces all around us. Some just above the soil line, some that one would never see without digging. We began the process of carefully recovering the stones, turning them over to see if they had intact carving on them, digging out those that were barely visible and so on.

There were many types of stone used in this graveyard (including metal), though the majority were black slate, due to the huge slate quarry which sits below the cemetery. Initially, we turned the stones over and left them in place, though when stones are found along the periphery, they tend to be nowhere close to the actual place of interment. There is always a combination of sadness and excitement when we find these pieces, particularly when we find multiple pieces of the same stone. It gives me an incredible sense of satisfaction when I find stones which are not currently documented and I am able to add them to Find a Grave, but even more so when I am literally able to piece together a broken stone that has been scattered about and left as rubble.

Elizabeth’s stone was in a pile of slate pieces not far from the edge of the cemetery, along the crest of the hill. We assembled her stone, along with many others and took photos. There was no way to tell where this person was initially buried, so like the others, we left them as they were, where they were, but assembled properly in a readable fashion. Again, we could tell she died in the 1700s, but that is a hundred-year span.

Her Find a Grave memorial existed, with a photo of three possible above ground stones taken in 2012 by another volunteer. Finding her stone allowed us to add a photo of her exact information to the Find a Grave memorial. Neither photo shows us exactly where she was buried, but considering this is a headstone from 1773 that may not be recorded anywhere else, it is so rewarding that I would be doing this everyday if I could!

John Wright’s stone was a particular challenge. It was carved from a local brownstone, which is very grainy and crumbles easily, not to mention the stone being over 150 years old and not well cared for. Still, we were able to find nearly all the pieces and reassemble them on the ground before photographing. The biggest challenge for that stone was finding the ‘when’ of Mr. Wright’s life. The only year had worn away. It was only just recently that we conclusively were able to match the stone to the young man and added the photo to his Find a Grave memorial.

These bits of stone, assembled into a complete picture, help me to add bits of information to often incomplete records. To me, each marker represents a human being, once living and breathing with a story or stories to share.

Thank you to all Find a Grave volunteers. Your valuable work and efforts are making a difference and helping family members with personal discoveries every day.

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Coach Gilberto Chapter 11
Stephen Halpert

Maria’s red dress twirled as she skipped down the hall to the elevator. When Gilberto caught up with her, he swept her up in his arms and plied her with kisses. The elevator door opened; they hurried inside. Both were breathless when they reached the ground floor.
His eyes gleamed. “Your red dress is captivating.”
She shivered and clutched her scarf. “All for you.”
His hand touched her lower back.
She grinned. “Are you seducing me?”
He paused. “I was about to ask you that same question.”
“My answer is, definitely.” She patted her hair, which she had pinned up for the occasion, and smiled.
Same, me to you,” he grinned and took her hand as they walked toward the dining room.
The Ritz dining room was opulent. Glittering chandeliers hung above the flowers displayed in tall vases. Gleaming white tablecloths were set with crystal goblets and heavy, ornate silverware. A tinkling fountain was decorated in crystal, complete with shining lights and iridescent stones.
“You’re wearing that dress so nothing else matters,” he said. His arm went around her, sliding across her back.
“Thank you, kind sir,” she smiled. “That’s exactly what I have in mind. Loosen up that beast in you.”
“So then I act like a blithering fool?”
Her tone took on a touch of seriousness. “You’re no fool, Gilberto. You’re one smootfh operator, and you know it.” She pointed. “Look, there’s Joey and his friend.”
Accompanied by a thin young blond boy with piercing blue eyes, Joey walked toward them. “Hi Mom, Gilberto. Meet my friend Davie Kyle Conners.”
“Just Kyle,” he said quickly dropping his gaze toward his sandals. One foot went around the other, and he sighed.
Maria noticed his shy behavior. She noticed the touch of brown pencil on his eyebrows and just a hint of color on his lips. In his left ear was a small diamond chip.
Gilberto stood and offered Kyle his hand. “Gilberto Santiago.”
Davie brushed his hand against Gilberto’s.
“I really prefer being called Kyle.” His soft voice was determined. He wore an open blue silk shirt with a floral ascot and a brown leather vest. His long legs were sheathed in tight, fashionable jeans.
“Hello, Kyle,” Maria smiled. “I’m Maria Sanchez, Joey’s mother.” She turned to Joey. “Your Houndstooth blazer looks so spiffy with those khakis.”
Joey grinned and smiled sheepishly. “Glad you think so,” he said.
The waiter poured goblets of iced water. Gilberto ordered a beer. Maria red wine, the boys went for iced tea lemonade mix.
“How do you like Houndstooth Kyle?” Maria asked. Her tone was friendly and her smile warm.
“It’s a school,” his tone was languidly blasé, he sounded almost bored. “I’ll manage and graduate.”
“Any thoughts about college?” Maria asked.
He sighed. “Maybe Emerson in Boston.” He paused, peered upward at the ceiling. “Then again there are lots of dance arts schools on the west coast.” He looked at Joey. “A lot would depend…,” he looked at Joey and smiled shyly.
“And your special interest? Gilberto asked.
“Dance,” Kyle said. He looked at Joey. “But that’s something we need to decide together.”
Gilberto’s eye brows rose. “Really.” He looked over at Joey, who grinned somewhat sheepishly again.
“Yes,” Maria cut in. ” That’s a good way to make decisions.”
Gilberto looked down at his place setting and frowned. He picked up his beer and took a sip.
“I love the freedom of dance,” Kyle went on. He threw his hands out with a laugh. “I feel like I’m just leaping into the clouds.” He paused, squeezed Joey’s hand. “I want us to dance together.”
Gilberto cleared his throat. “How long have you been dancing?” he asked.
“Since I was four,” Kyle replied. “I think I was born to dance.”
The waiter came to the table, looking expectant.
“I’ve already ordered us lobsters,” Maria told him.
“Very good, Madam,” I’ll see to them, and a fresh salad to go with? Perhaps French fries for the young gentlemen?”
Maria nodded and the waiter departed. There was a silence, then Kyle spoke again. “I’ll go anywhere, doesn’t matter as long as Joey is with me.” He sighed and threw his arm over Joey’s shoulders. “We’re twin souls. Mom even said we probably shared a past life or two.”

Gilberto nodded. “You have fantastic taste; our Joey stands above the crowd.”
“Yes,” Maria echoed. “I second that. Joey’s one in a million.”
Kyle looked at Gilberto and Maria solemnly and took a breath. “And it’s ok? Us being like we are… us?”
Joey nodded at his parents and looked at his friend. “I told you they’re great.”
Kyle took his arm from Joey’s shoulders and seemed to shrink into himself. “Joey’s love gives me strength. He enables me to be the real me, the me nobody knows.” He lowered his voice to a bare whisper. “The me who scares me a little.”
Maria touched his shoulder. “Joey is a dear sweet boy,” I know you can both be happy.”
Gilberto coughed, What the hell was she doing? Giving up our son to a fruitcake? Can’t she see that? He cleared his throat again. “Joey’s one amazing athlete. Takes great endurance, as well as good coordination to play soccer.” Kyle nodded and seemed about to speak, but just then the waiter brought the lobsters, and everyone was captivated.
After they had done justice to the meal and the waiter had brought elaborate ice cream sundaes for the boys, Kyle asked Gilberto what he taught at Houndstooth.
“I’m the athletic director, and also a coach,” he replied.
“You’re a coach?” Kyle’s forehead wrinkled and his mouth turned down.
Gilberto half smiled and took Maria’s hand. “You’re not much into athletics?” he asked Kyle.
“Too competitive,” Kyle said softly. “Too much pain and so little gain. I know how strong my man here is.” He reached over and took Joey’s hand. “He’s athletic enough for me.” Then he turned to Maria. “Do you dance?”
She smiled and nodded.
But then he equivocated. “I mean serious dancing, allowing the self to be captivated and flung into the passions of the moment.”
Gilberto grinned.” Oh, she’s got that down good”
Maria smiled. “I’ve always enjoyed free form jazz dancing.”
“Way different from ballet,” Joey said.
“Oh yes, I know,” Maria said.
Kyle let go of Joe’s hand and smiled, looking more relaxed. “You two are pretty cool,” he said. “You both make me feel so comfortable I know I could even wear my skirt and be ok.
To be continued

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Kitty Kat’s Korner
=^..^=

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Resource Guarding — Why Some Cats Can’t Share
By Rita Reimers

Resource guarding is fairly common in multi-cat households, and most people have experienced it with their cats. Yet in our cat behavior practice, we have found that many people don’t know the term for it, nor what causes it to happen, let alone what to do about it.

Why it happens
Cats who have spent a great deal of time homeless or in shelters, especially those who have been deprived of food in the past, are most likely to resource guard. This behavior usually happens when there is a perceived lack of resources for the cats, even if there are plenty.

Usually there is also an underlying stress component that triggers this type of behavior. Often, we will see it happen by the resident cat when another cat enters the household. A new cat may also exhibit guarding if he has come from a situation of abandonment or lack of food and water. Feline insecurity can also cause your cat to feel stressed by any household changes, such as new people entering (new spouse or roommate) or by people leaving the household (divorce, kids leaving for college).

One of my cats, Smoochy, is very protective of her time with me. If any other cats try to come near me when Smoochy is on my lap, she will swat at them. Before swatting, she will growl and often “bark” at the other cat. When she’s on my lap, the other cats know to stay away until she leaves. When she does try to bully the other cats, I simply set her down on the floor and walk away. She’s learning that her guarding of my lap equals removal of my attention, so she’s getting better about sharing me.

What it looks like
Guarded resources can be anything from toys and food to places and people. Cats exhibit guarding of resources by:

  1. Hissing to warn others to stay away
  2. Swatting at other cats and perhaps even their human to stay away
  3. Literally blocking the other cat’s access to an item or place to prevent other cats from getting near
  4. Scratching items to claim as territory
  5. Spraying or peeing on items (or people)

Resources your cat might guard
Food
Toys
People
Litter boxes
Cat trees
Cat scratchers
Napping spots
Anything else they decide is “theirs”

What to do
If you notice one of your cats is guarding resources from the other(s), there are things you can do to prevent the behavior from escalating into constant bullying or fighting. Nipping these behaviors in the bud is the key to preventing disagreements among your cats and keeping peaceful coexistence.

Here are a few tips:

Prevent food bowl sharing by putting a bowl down for each cat.

Remove lids from litter boxes, so one cat cannot trap the other in the box.
Provide more than one litter box area so the bullied cat has another option if one litter box area is being guarded.

Give each cat one-on-one time with you, as well as group play experiences.
Provide enough toys, cat beds, cat trees and cubby holes that each cat can claim one as theirs.

Try flower essences as a natural choice for calming stress in both the bully and the bullied cat. Two to try are Convivial House Cat and Cat Calm Stress Reducing Liquid Formula.

Give your cats praise whenever they are together and no bullying or guarding happens.
If needed, visit your veterinarian if your cats need anti-anxiety assistance with medication.

Living in harmony with multiple cats can be done. I live with 18 cats and rarely do I see resource guarding in my house. Providing enough toys, food and love for all cats goes a long way toward correcting, or even preventing, bullying and resource guarding.

Now that you know what to look for, you’ll be able to bring harmony to your own cat household and prevent guarding behaviors before they become too much of a habit.

Help your cats adapt
When bringing a new cat home to your resident cat, prepare ahead of time with the following steps.

If it’s possible, do some scent swapping before the new cat enters your household or at the very least before introductions happen.

Provide enough toys and bedding areas for both cats to enjoy.

Feed your cats in separate bowls instead of having them share one plate.

Give your resident cat extra praise and love when in the company of the newbie, so he knows he has not been replaced.

Mutual playtime will help the cats become friends, as long as time and attention from you (and treats!) is distributed evenly and both also get special alone time with you.

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Georgia Nicols’ Weekly Horoscope:
Sunday, May 15, 2022

All Signs
Whoa Nellie! This week starts with the only Full Moon in Scorpio all year. The challenge is this Full Moon triggers fast-moving change, which requires fast thinking; but meanwhile, back at the ranch, the wise choice might be to rely on our instincts rather than logic. This is because Mars is lined up with fuzzy Neptune, which makes our thinking suspect. It could be unreliable. On the upside, this promotes passion, romance and the arts – fun, glamorous choices! But the downside is a confusion between a willingness to try new things and a tendency to cling to old habits. “But we’ve always done it this way!” In most cases, the better choice will be to go with out-of-the-box thinking. Be courageous and trust your instincts. Take the red pill – it’s Tylenol.

Aries (March 21-April 19)
Financial issues come to a head this week. This could be about your earnings, debt, the bank or your partner’s wealth. Fortunately, some kind of resolution will take place, which will give you a better idea of where you stand. (Although privately, it makes your teeth itch.) This new confidence will help you to use what you own in a more productive, useful way. You might restructure how you handle money, debt or how you use something that you own. Later in the week, you’re enthusiastic and upbeat! Old contacts with people from the past are encouraging. Quite possibly, new information will help you bring an old decision back into perspective.

Taurus (April 20-May 20)
Well, you certainly feel this Full Moon because it’s the only Full Moon opposite your sign all year! The good news is that after Monday, solutions will present themselves. In particular, relations with partners and close friends will improve. Bygones will be bygones. However, expect confusion related to a friend or a group to which you belong. In fact, an element of confusion from a friend or related to a group might affect your decision about future goals. You might be unsure of these goals, or wonder if you should change them, or if they’re realistic? My advice is to trust your gut instincts about this. When head and heart agree, it’s generally a good thing. By the end of the week, moneymaking ideas and your finances look good!

Gemini (May 21-June 20)
You might feel caught off guard as this week begins because this Full Moon vibrates in a quiet part of your chart. It could bring stress to health issues or your job and your work. Fortunately, these will be resolved. Nevertheless, relations with parents, bosses and authority figures (including the police) will be confusing. You might question what others expect of you; and likewise, you might question what you think about them. You might doubt their abilities or possibly, they might have doubts about you. Either way, this is demoralizing. Because you will investigate something, including your own motivations – you can trust your instincts. By the end of the week, you’re happy and full of big ideas!

Cancer (June 21-July 22)
It will be challenging dealing with kids or friends at the beginning of the week. This challenge might also occur because of your involvement with a group. Fortunately, by mid-week, problems will be resolved. Despite the fact that travel plans or issues related to higher education, medicine and the law are confusing, and you might be unclear of your direction – nevertheless, you’ll get in touch with what motivates you. You will define goals to have a better life for yourself. This is reassuring! It’s like getting a sure compass setting. “I was lost and now I’m found!” Behind-the-scenes activities or research might boost your reputation in the eyes of others. Stay tuned!

Leo (July 23-Aug. 22)
This is a tough Full Moon because it’s a Sun/Moon opposition in Fixed Signs (Taurus and Scorpio); and you are also a Fixed Sign. This means everyone is at odds with each other! This is why you feel pulled between the demands of career and your public reputation versus the demands of home and family. You can’t keep everyone happy. Meanwhile, confusion about finances, money with the government, your partner, taxes or debt might be a challenge. If you’re not sure what to do – do nothing. Wait. (Instincts are a good thing but with finances – not so much.) Something might reinvent your reputation in the eyes of others. If so, it’s time to entertain some big goals!

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22)
Be careful Sunday/Monday because this Full Moon will create an accident-prone situation. Therefore, be mindful. Pay attention to everything you say and do. Furthermore, avoid controversial subjects when talking to others because they will escalate into nasty arguments. (You don’t need this.) In part. some of this unpredictable energy is because relations with partners and close friends are confusing. You don’t know if you’re coming or going. (Maybe literally.) Make no promises. Trust your gut instincts. Nevertheless, philosophical issues are important to you. You care. This means you will do your homework and your research. By the end of the week, you have good news for others.

Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22)
You feel a financial squeeze play as this week begins. Fortunately, whatever problem you experience regarding flow, earnings or your relationship to other people’s resources and assets might be quickly resolved. Meanwhile, issues related to your work or your job might be confusing. You’re prepared to give something your all, but suddenly, it’s a changing landscape? This makes you uncertain about what to do. Likewise, some of you will have this same confusion about a particular health issue. Later in the week, you will make strides dealing with shared property, taxes and debt. You will also be enthusiastic about travel plans and doing something that expands your world!

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21)
Relax and stay grounded while the only Full Moon in your sign all year is taking place. Naturally, this will stress your relationships. Fortunately, many problems will diminish and possibly disappear. (Fingers crossed.) Meanwhile, relations with kids are confusing. Things are up in the air. This same confusion will also apply o romance for some. While you have these feelings of confusion, do not act. (Although, a strong gut instinct can’t be ignored.) An intense conversation with someone powerful might resolve these issues. At the very least, they will probe them. Good news — assistance from others, or financial or practical support at the end of the week is grand.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 21)
This Full Moon makes you uneasy because it’s taking place in a hidden part of your chart. Be reassured that the concerns it raises will diminish in importance by midweek. Admittedly, confusion related to your family or something to do with your home might make you feel paralyzed. If you’re unsure, you can’t act. What to do? Probably, the best thing to do will be nothing until you are confident. Perhaps, listen to your instincts? Sometimes they are the clue you need. One thing is certain, you can introduce improvements to your job, your health and even to something related to a pet. This will make things better. Conversations with partners and close friends will be upbeat by the end of the week!

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 19)
The Full Moon taking place now will create havoc in your relations with kids, as well as tension with romantic partners. Issues build up and intensify before a Full Moon, and then, after the Full Moon peaks, these same issues diminish and sometimes disappear. Go figure. Nevertheless, there is confusion this week about your daily schedule, your daily interactions with others, and your relations with siblings, relatives and neighbours. You might feel you are damned if you do and damned if you don’t. The paralysis of the negative. Do nothing if you’re not sure. Fortunately, you will think your way out of any of these challenges because by the end of the week, you’re laughing. Clever you.

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 18)
This is a challenging time because Sunday/Monday is a Full Moon in Fixed Signs (Moon in Scorpio, Sun in Taurus) and you also are a Fixed Sign. Naturally, it’s impossible to please everyone, especially home and family. Just cope as best you can. Fortunately, despite confusion about money and possessions (and possibly deception) – a powerful talk with someone at home, perhaps a parent, will resolve things and get them back on track. This will lead to improvements. Perhaps things just needed to come to a head in order to provoke this solution? By the end of the week, social plans look promising. In addition, the arts and activities with kids will be upbeat and fun!

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20)
Be careful because the Full Moon (Sunday/Monday) is an accident-prone time for you. Verbally or physically. Therefore, think before you act or say anything. Count to three. This is good advice because this week, Mars and Neptune are lined up in your sign creating a fog of confusion for you. It will make you indecisive. Therefore, don’t think you have to act when you’re not sure what to do. You don’t. Err on the side of caution. Do nothing unless you have a strong clear instinct to act. Meanwhile, a powerful discussion with someone might get to the bottom of something, which is ultimately a relief. By the end of the week, repairs and group discussions are some things that make your home life happier.

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Weekly Horoscopes Beginning Sunday, 15 May 2022


If you’re born within a cusp period (16 to 26 of any month); you’re advised to read horoscopes of both signs covered by that period. You’re on the border; you may have influences from houses within those signs.

Outlines are longer versions; consist of every possible detail of everyday and are based on three parts of each sign: 1st, 2nd & 3rd Decan; that is, any of three divisions of 10° within a sign of the zodiac. Even if you know or don’t know your Decan; I recommend, please read all three Decan.


Aries
Personal theme: I am!!
Fire & cardinal sign: March 21 — April 19

Your horoscope for this week:

You’re in a thrilling period. While, ordinarily, turning opportunities into lasting plans swiftly would be wise, with fortunate Jupiter having moved into Aries the 10th, and remaining until late October, this cycle of sudden and, often, stunning growth and opportunity has only just begun. The secret? Say a tentative yes to whatever appeals, but continue to explore your options. There’s lots more excitement yet to come.

A friend or colleague needs some compassionate and understanding guidance. You know what they are going through. You have lived this with them and can put yourself in their shoes. Emotions are raw. Compliments and cuddles will help others feel loved and needed. A request from a relative will need some further consideration. You will want to do what is best for everyone. It’s a good time to develop your spirituality and for quiet thought and contemplation.

Monday’s Lunar Eclipse may coincide with global financial challenge from which no zodiac sign can be immune. Anticipate the unexpected: the size of an invoice, or possibly even the loss of key documents or perhaps even harder to deal with, the challenge of information coming from abroad that doesn’t reach you in a timely manner. Your professionalism and expertise will surely be under scrutiny. Yet you can rise to the occasion and turn the situation to your advantage. Not for the first time, you may be asked to take on a leadership role. What’s likely different, is that this time, you may need to deal with not just daily finances, but a budget intended to last at least several months but where there are many unknowns.


Taurus
Personal theme: I have!!
Earth & fixed sign: April 20 — May 20

Your horoscope for this week:

A pair of eclipses, on 30 April and now, on 16 May, are triggering timely shake-ups, in the world around you and in your life. Tempting as it is to avoid seemingly unnecessary changes, these are breakthroughs. The problem? Recognising them as that; and the secret? Learn all you can, especially from those who’ve dealt with similar changes. Their guidance will give you much-needed courage.

Big changes are ahead. This could take you away from all that is familiar. Starting a new life can be nerve wracking for you but the sooner you accept how it has to be, the quicker you will adjust to new circumstances. There are others going through this with you and the emotional support this provides will be priceless. When everyone puts their mind to it in a group situation, good progress will be made. Someone in power will offer their full and unconditional support.

Monday’s lunar eclipse is in your opposite sign. This, together with Mercury retrograde through one of the finance zones of your solar chart, suggests this could be a challenging few days when you feel overwhelmed. The costs of quality work might seem unsustainable and the temptation to do something quickly (sticking plaster) and proper works later may be great. It was surely be wise though to take time out and to discuss options – probably with a Sagittarius or Pisces to see if there are ways around this difficulty. You could yet steer around financial rocks and possibly even make sound and interesting investment. Recall that Uranus is still travelling through your sign, and that the drive to do things differently will be strong.


Gemini
Personal theme: I think!!
Air sign: May 21 — June 20

Your horoscope for this week:

Ordinarily, your quick mind is an asset. However, with your ruler Mercury retrograde, so triggering confusion, and a pair of eclipses bringing their own brand of disarray, complications are inevitable. They’re disruptive but also are breaking up once efficient habits that are now increasingly restrictive. Changes? Regard them as an experiment to be learnt from, but nothing final. It will make life easier and more fun.

You’re hopeful and optimistic that something real will come out of a campaign you are supporting. You won’t give up your support until changes are made. Someone you are dealing with can charm the hind legs off a donkey. It won’t be easy to distinguish between truth and fiction and further research will be required. If you are still left feeling confused by the end of the week, don’t dismiss the idea of talking to a professional.

You may remember that Mercury is retrograde in Gemini. Don’t think of this as being a bad thing: rather see it as an opportunity to ‘think before you speak’. You probably have plenty of instances of knowing when you’ve overstepped the mark or got involved in a conversation that was not beneficial either to you or to the people involved. Particularly around Monday’s Lunar Eclipse, it would be wise to stand back and stand clear. Fact is that disturbance is probable and upsets more likely than not. All could and should be resolved before Friday – but only after it’s agreed who will take the lead on a project and who will accept responsibility for it. The two roles may not be related. Your role should be to provide vision and design. It may be that you’re involved in providing a fitting memorial. Your wordsmith powers should work so, so well here – though true, edit followed by edit followed by edit will likely be necessary.


Cancer
Personal theme: I feel!!
Water & cardinal sign: June 21 — July 22

Your horoscope for this week:

You’ve long realised that, while most everybody adapts to even dramatic changes, certain individuals turn their difficulties into dramas, some unsettling for others. This is exactly what’s happening now. As a Cancerian, you’re ruled by the Moon, so have an instinctive understanding that these eclipses, on 30 April and this Tuesday, the 16th, are triggering timely breakthroughs. Encourage others to see it that way, too.

You’re inclined to turn down an invitation to a party or social gathering. This would give you a chance to talk to people you haven’t seen for some time and it will feel good to get together again. You may need to find someone who shares your long-term aims as a joint effort will be more successful than a solo one. Your boss or a senior colleague will support your ideas and this should help strengthen your position.

Monday’s Full Moon is also a Lunar Eclipse, and yes, it is possible that your reactions will be over the top. Actually, in this instance, and with Mercury retrograde, you may well be left speechless. True, it may be global events that prompt you to pull your shell down. Whatever, it seems you’ll need time to process information and how it will affect both immediate and long-term career plans and probable that someone in powerful position will declare that they simply cannot manage a task without your involvement. Being needed is of course, music to the Cancerian ear. Expect – and especially in the second half of the week, – to be wined and dined and told that someone couldn’t manage without you. After that, it’s up to you to work out how you can make increased involvement in the project work around existing obligations.


Leo
Personal theme: I will!!
Fire & fixed sign: July 23 — August 22

Your horoscope for this week:

The first half of May was unsettling, and judging by the coming weeks’ planetary acidity, the rest of the month will bring events that combine drama with thrilling and, often, unexpected opportunities. However, taking advantage of these means altering, if not letting go of, once worthwhile arrangements. While challenging initially, you’ll soon realise these are freeing you for far more worthwhile activities or pursuits.

There’s a lot of work to be done. Even so, don’t use this as an excuse to cut yourself off from your family and friends. Find a balance between work and play. A new romance may not be as warm or loving as you had expected but it’s not going to be very successful if you don’t have much time for it. A long-term partner expects to enjoy your company in the weekend. Don’t let them down or they will find companionship elsewhere.

Monday’s lunar eclipse accents the backbone of your solar chart and could coincide with a crisis involving property management. It would be understandable if the whole question of ownership required careful consideration. Even intellectual property would fall into this category. Note that Mercury is retrograde in one of the Air signs and that it will likely suit many to go over old discussions and agreements and refine these. In fact, it could take until Mercury concludes retrograde condition in mid-June before you really know where you stand. In the interim, and especially over the next few days, obtaining valuations and estimates takes priority. Given that your expertise will likely be under the spotlight too, expect to have to explain reasoning and/or the steps you’ve taken to acquire qualifications.


Virgo
Personal theme: I analyse!!
Earth sign: August 23 — September 22

Your horoscope for this week:

You’re superb at dealing with the unexpected events triggered by your ruler Mercury’s retrograde cycle, which began last Tuesday, 10 May, and continues until 3 June; but, also, you and the rest of the world are dealing with far-reaching changes. Tempting as it is to tackle each, as it arises, do the minimum. While this is out of character, it’s the best approach to this unpredictable but exciting period.

A quiet spell as the week begins is your chance to check goals you are working towards are still important to you. If not, make any changes you feel are necessary to bring you greater happiness and fulfilment. Taking on new responsibilities or applying for a new job will feel rewarding. You are making an effort to improve your life and your career. A group project will be fulfilling especially if you get involved from the start.

It would be understandable if you felt unsettled around Monday’s Lunar Eclipse. This takes place against the backdrop of Mercury turning retrograde at the apex of your solar chart. Career wise it might seem as though you’ve stumbled into a brick wall, or a mess that is not of your making but which will require considerable effort to resolve. This though, will surely find you at your best – especially if property matters are involved. There is little doubting that Virgos, once they’ve assessed a crisis, know exactly the kind of attack that will be necessary to reach resolution. You could say that this is where you are at your most creative. Whether you take a three, four or five pronged attack depends on your personal chart. What seems likely is that at least one of these approaches will be hugely traditional; follow exact rules and regulations and require support from a Capricorn who is only too eager to give it.


Libra
Personal theme: I balance!!
Air & cardinal sign: September 23 — October 22

Your horoscope for this week:

Although you’ve a talent for dealing deftly with even complex situations and, equally, others’ moodiness; but, recently, even you have struggled with their ups and downs. The trick? Do the minimum. This may seem unwise, if not unkind. However, with both circumstances and the general mood changing regularly, it’s your best option. Similarly, tactfully sidestep tricky issues. For now, offer emotional support. Serious discussions can wait.

Friends will not take a lot of persuading to join in with your ideas. They know they will have a good time. In fact, it won’t be long before you will be reminding yourself of how having fun together helps revive relationships. Good news around Wednesday will give you something to celebrate. All your wishes will seem to have come true as a tidy sum is received to enable you to afford luxuries you have always dreamed of.

It would be unsurprising if you experienced a cash flow crisis around Monday’s Lunar Eclipse. This is the annual one across the financial axis of your solar chart. What’s striking in 2022, is that Mercury is retrograde in one of the Air signs. It’s quite possible that you’ve overlooked a cost and that this matter will need to be addressed and resolved before the middle of June. Another possibility is reconsidering self-investment. This could be made necessary for a variety of reasons; not least of which are that travel and communication costs have risen dramatically. Career wise you could attract singular attention toward the end of the week when your value is recognised and an alliance with share of profits come under discussion.


Scorpio & Ophiuchus
Personal theme: I desire!!
Water & fixed signs: October 23 — November 21

Your horoscope for this week:

While there’s a Scorpio Full Moon sign each year, Monday’s is also an eclipse. This marks a turning point in past arrangements, and both ongoing and future plans. Ideally, you’ll go with the flow, especially because what’s least expected could be best in the long run. The trick? Avoid far-reaching plans and live one day at a time. While challenging initially, you’ll soon agree it’s wise.

It can sometimes feel as if it is taking you twice as long or twice the effort to get results compared with how you worked in the past. You will not want to fail and you may not have realised the standards you set yourself keep getting higher. Perseverance will always be necessary for you to achieve. Relationships are harmonious because you are keeping thoughts to yourself if these might upset other people.

Monday’s lunar eclipse is in your sign and may mark an ending. It could be that you conclude a financial matter or realise that a working relationship has come to its natural conclusion. Obviously much depends on your personal chart. Either ending could be fractionally messy as Mercury is retrograde. It could take some weeks for a deal to be finalised and the process be dispiriting and unsettling. That said, the end of the week, you should feel empowered. It’s worth noting too conversations taking place over Thursday and Friday are likely to be ultra-rewarding career wise – with sound advice and an exciting introduction being offered.


Sagittarius
Personal theme: I see!!
Fire sign: November 22 — December 21

Your horoscope for this week:

Usually, when others are struggling with changes, you’ll be there with ideas. However, you’re also facing your own unsettling events, some welcome, others puzzling. In every case, you’re urged to take things slowly. This may be out of character or even seem a compromise; but once you learn more, you’ll realise being flexible, both about plans and the future, isn’t just wise, it’s essential.

You’re confronted with a number of choices. It will feel as if these are being thrown at you from a few different directions. It will be hard to keep up with it all. Even if some hold a degree of risk you might decide it’s worth taking chances. Luck seems to be on your side when things regularly go your way. Trust your intuition. It will lead you in the best direction. The latter half of the week will be quieter than earlier.

Monday’s Lunar Eclipse should prove useful energy. It coincides with Mercury retrograde in your opposite sign: the combination suggesting change of pace and yes, the possibility of altered working relationships. That includes a close colleague declaring their intention to move on next month. Unsettling as this might be, note that Mars will soon join Jupiter in the research and development area of your solar chart. It’s very likely that an idea that’s been incubating for perhaps as much as six years, will soon gain momentum. Perhaps what it’s needed is a navigator. That person may be hovering in the wings. Though the actual introduction might not occur until next week, the meeting could be arranged in the second half of this one.


Capricorn
Personal theme: I use!!
Earth & cardinal sign: December 22 — January 19

Your horoscope for this week:

This may be a tricky period; but once you understand a single, essential fact, everything else will make sense. That fact is: during May, virtually every day will bring changes. Some will be welcome, others less so; but, whatever their nature, circumstances will shift. Knowing that, instead of dealing with those changes immediately, you’ll develop an uncharacteristically easy-going attitude. It will make life a lot easier.

For a few more days there will be more of what you have already been experiencing: lots of activity and little time to yourself. Be prepared to continue a short while longer on matters that have kept you busy since the month began. They may be growing monotonous but to turn your back on them now would make you feel a failure. There will be moments later on when you just won’t feel happy until you can shut the door on the world.

It might help to be aware that not only is Mercury retrograde, but that there is a Lunar Eclipse on Monday. These are arguably not the best cosmic conditions in which to begin the working week. The Lunar Eclipse marks an ending. The fact that Mercury is retrograde suggests it might be messy; and yet: A new team are likely to try to pull together as Mars conjoins Neptune. They may be full of grand ideas and designs but lack the expertise to see these through. This is where you come in. You’ve probably already made a name for yourself in showing professionalism and fortitude. You perhaps need to show a little more of that now. This though, could be regarded as one of your major strengths. Though you might balk at the idea of taking on more responsibility, fact is that you may be best placed to steer a concept through to reality.


Aquarius
Personal theme: I know!!
Air & fixed sign: January 20 — February 18

Your horoscope for this week:

Although you probably weren’t thrilled with the changes triggered by late April’s eclipsed New Moon, since then you’ve realised, they weren’t just timely, they were long overdue. Consequently, you’ll probably be better prepared to deal with those triggered by Monday’s eclipsed Full Moon, which accents breakthrough in the structure of your life. Changes? They aren’t just wise; you’ll soon recognise them as powerful breakthroughs.

Delaying arrangements to offer a little help to a friend might upset some people but you know there is nothing to worry about. This isn’t going to cause a problem. As it is, it will be left up to you what you do, when you do it and how. Since you enjoy the freedom of making your own choices, this will suit you down to the ground. If your intuition is telling you someone isn’t being honest where money is concerned, trust your instincts.

Monday’s lunar eclipse accents the backbone of your solar chart and a significant career angle. That it coincides with Mercury turning retrograde in the research and development area of your solar chart suggests that you might wish time out to rethink an idea or concept, and perhaps accept that you either don’t have the required expertise or have yet to build the team that would support you. Either way, time out will likely be needed. True, as you gather information you could feel overwhelmed. Yet this feeling too should pass. Before the Sun arrives in another of the Air signs next weekend, you might need to accept that you are entering into a trial period but that this is an essential step before progress can be made. Perhaps you need to test strength and resolve – not in yourself – but in others.


Pisces
Personal theme: I believe!!
Water sign: February 19 — March 20

Your horoscope for this week:

The past weeks have been dramatic, and the twists and turns continue during much of May. The irony is, while others are struggling, you’re quietly reorganising elements of your life, and with amazing ease. These changes are timely, so much you’re urged to conduct a serious review. Others’ problems? They’re complaining but, in truth, those issues can wait. For now, you and your interests take.

Relationships and events will be somewhat unpredictable early on. By Wednesday you will find it easier to get into the swing of things. No matter what chores or tasks might await you then, you will feel ready to take them on and complete them. Are you single? You might get talking to someone in a queue or while travelling on public transport. This could be the first cautious step towards a rewarding romance.

So, Mercury is now retrograde at the base of your solar chart and there is a Lunar Eclipse on Monday. It could be argued that these are not optimum cosmic conditions for pushing your career forward; and yet, these do provide pause for thought. It may be that you’ve been steering against prevailing winds and a rethink required. With Mars conjoining Neptune, in your sign, you could yet glide out onto new ocean entirely: and yes, take a few people by surprise. Fact is, that you do have vision. Anchoring this and determining the steps needed to realise success is imperative. To this end, it might suit you to join forces with a Capricorn who lacks your vision, but does have the necessary expertise and background to ensure that your dreams are realised.

~CelestialPrognostication

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By GrannyMoon Posted in Pagan

GrannyMoons Weekly Feast: 8 May 2022

Mother’s Day Blessings

Seeds of great discoveries are constantly floating around us,
but they only take root in minds well prepared to receive them. ~ Joseph Henry

Blessed Be My Little Witch! To those who came before and those who will come after, know that the Goddess is with you always. Thank you all my dear readers…be blessed. ~GrannyMoon

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Dark Moon – Time to Rest
New Moon – Time to Begin New Projects; Birth; Attraction
Waxing Moon – Time to Grow; Increase
Full Moon – Time to be Fulfilled; Abundance
Waning Moon – Time to Banish; Decrease
Last Sliver of Moon – Time to Die; Letting Go
Dark Moon – Time to Rest Again
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Light A Candle Today!
In many different traditions lighting a candle is a sacred action. It expresses more than words can express. It has to do with gratefulness. From time immemorial, people have lit candles in sacred places. You may want to begin or end your day by the sacred ritual of lighting a candle on this gratefulness. Or you may want to light a birthday candle for a friend. One single guideline is all you need: Slow down and do it with full attention.

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Current Moon Phase: Waxing Moon

Time: From New Moon To Full (Approx. 14 Days)

Goddess Aspect: Maiden

Associated Goddesses: Artemis, Branwen, Eriu, Nymph, Epona

Magickal Attributes: Invoking Beginnings, New Projects, Ideas, Inspiration, Energy, Vitality, Freedom. Workings On This Day Are For “Constructive” Magick (Love, Wealth, Success, Courage, Friendship, Luck Or Health.)

Goddess Month of Maia runs from 4/18 – 5/15

Celtic Tree Calendar Month ~ April 15 To May 12 ~ Willow
Willow is a very magical month, great for drawing down the moon and love spells.

Herb of the Year for 2022: Viola (violet, heartsease) named by the International Herb Association

What’s Happening in MAY
May 9: At the 1876 Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition, sassafras-flavored Hires Root Beer was introduced to a thirsty nation.
May 14: England sometimes celebrates Be Nice to Nettles Week, introducing modern folk to Nettles
May 10: Jupiter enters Aries
May 10: Mercury turns Retrograde
May 15/16: Scorpio Full Blood Moon Eclipse (May 16 East Coast time)

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Face to Face Class: Noon – 2:00 PM ~ The Magick of Crystals – May 15
Reiki III and Advanced: 1 PM – 3 PM – May 22
Black Hat – May 28 – 7 PM – 9PM

Join us at https://www.meetup.com/Witchy-Wednesdays/

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High Priestess Training with GrannyMoon
http://GoddessSchool.com

The entire course takes 15 months to complete (four levels). Tuition covers lessons, assignments and instructor feedback. In addition, students may download guided meditation exercises and be eligible for Sabbats, Esbats and retreats with the Sisterhood. The entire fee for each level is $120 (payment plan available), sixteen lessons in each level, except the last.

Ceremonial Cords and frame-able Completion Certificates are awarded as members complete each level.
Level I – Initiate of the Sisters of the Burning Branch – White cord
Level II – Adept of the Sisters of the Burning Branch- Red cord
Level III – Priestess of the Sisters of the Burning Branch- Black cord
Level IV – High Priestess of the Sisters of the Burning Branch – Green cord

You Might Also Be Interested In:
http://goddessschool.com/Paganstudies/index.html
http://www.goddessschool.com/courses/natural/naturalwitch.html
http://goddessschool.com/Paganstudies/healingarts.html

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Learn About Herbs with GrannyMoon!

There is so much to learn about herbs! In Herbalism 101, we cover 21 herbs, and you will start your own personal Materia Medica, that we will build throughout the next levels. We will cover the basic aspects of herbs. From culinary to magickal, medicinal to ornamental. As well as the many modalities of herbs!

During this course, in addition to the on-line lessons and hands-on projects that you do at home, I will be sending you articles, and information, as well as questions about your own personal use and research.

I look forward to walking this green journey with you! I love herbs and I hope that you do too or will learn to!

There are 10 lessons in each level and there is no time limit for completion. You may study at your own pace! There are no texts to purchase.

For more info or to join my class, click here!
http://goddessschool.com/Paganstudies/healingarts.html

The cost for Level 1 is $50.00 or $150.00 the entire Healing Arts Course (1-3) which includes a free Reiki certification course when all three are ordered at the same time!
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Earth Signs and Omens in Nature Course

Learn to read the mysteries of nature! The course covers signs and omens, communication, seasonal rites, trees and shrubs, flowers, plants and weeds, herbs, plant magick, the Guardians of Nature, and much more.
http://goddessschool.com/courses/earthsigns/index.html

GrannyMoonsMail@yahoo.com

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The Goddess School Grimoire

http://www.lulu.com/shop/sotbb-Goddess-school/the-Goddess-school-grimoire/hardcover/product-762380.html
Hardcover: $39.45
Softback: $26.95
eBook (PDF): $6.25

The Goddess School Grimoire is a collection of recipes, artwork, poetry, prose, prayers, rituals, spells, and practical Goddess wisdom put together by the teachers, students, alumni, and friends of The Sisters of the Burning Branch Goddess School. The sisterhood is dedicated to restoring spiritual balance by returning the Divine Feminine to her rightful place and by assisting women in their personal and spiritual development. Since being founded by Head and High Mother Priestess Grandmother Moon in 2000, The Goddess School (GoddessSchool.com) has grown into a large and beautiful global community of women.

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Join Our Cat Community on Twitter! The Cat Philosophers! Must Love Cats!
https://twitter.com/i/communities/1508878853783048194

Three Rules

  1. Be kind and respectful.
  2. Keep Tweets on topic.
  3. Explore and share.

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Full Moon Circle at Sticks and Stones
May 15, 2022 from 5pm to 7pm
Organized By: Sway

Event Description:
A moon circle is a sacred gathering of women, who come together to honor and celebrate the new and full moon gathering to harness the potent energy of the moon.

The moon circle is a safe space, where women can enjoy being in sacred sisterhood, feel supported and witnessed. In the circle we will set intentions, clear energy, gain clarity, and connect to oneself through communal energy.

Everything that happens in circle remains privately in the circle, which allows women to truly open up, share, and be authentic, practice self care and experience community.

Instructor: Sway
Entrance Fee: $25

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Llewellyn’s Spell A Day

Mothering Sunday Meditation
MAY 08, 2022 BY DALLAS JENNIFER COBB

A good mother loves her children and teaches them to love themselves. Today is Mother’s Day, and while there are many good mothers we should celebrate, there are also many people who don’t come from a good mother. Let’s expand and extend this day, making it inclusive to all (and not exclusive to those lucky enough to have a good mother).

Sit quietly and meditate. Focus on the qualities of a good mother: someone who is loving, caring, nurturing, and kind; someone who feeds, protects, cuddles, and teaches. Drop your attention down through your root chakra into Mother Earth, reaching awareness there. Know that timeless, abiding strength and wisdom are there for you to meet your deepest needs. Draw mothering energy up from the earth, through your body, and around your heart. Mother yourself: cultivate self-love, self-protection, self-care, and kindness. Claim good mothering as yours as a child of the great mother, Earth.
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A Pet Protection Spell
MAY 07, 2022 BY JAMES KAMBOS

Traditionally early May was when farmers would hang pine in their barns to protect their livestock from bad luck. Then they would walk their livestock around bonfires in a rite of purification. This spell is similar and helps you bless your pets. You’ll need a small pine twig and a small amount of your pet’s fur. Safely ignite the pine in a heatproof container. Add the fur and say:

My furry friend, you’ll
remain at my side,
By my rules you will abide.
I promise to feed you and to protect,
I’ll care for you without neglect.
I’ll give you a cozy place
to lay your head,
Be it by my door or by my bed.

When the ashes are completely cool, sprinkle them near your front door. End by giving your furry friend some extra attention so they know how much you care.
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Clean Sweep
MAY 06, 2022 BY MELISSA TIPTON

This spell is designed to clear out energy that no longer serves, neutralizing and recycling it back into the cosmic flow where it can be put to better use. You’ll need to gather some sort of natural debris that you can sweep away without littering, such as sticks, leaves, pebbles, or sand.

In a ritual mindset, arrange the debris intuitively while bringing to mind the situation or pattern you wish to clear. Allow the debris to become a symbol of this situation. Spend a few minutes in meditation, contemplating how this energy has affected your life, expressing gratitude for its lessons, difficult as they may be.

When you’re ready, say farewell and sweep the arrangement away, completely dispersing the energy and returning it to the greater cycle of life, where it can be composted and reused. Take a few minutes to enjoy a new sense of liberation and clarity.
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Sweeten Up and Chill Out
MAY 05, 2022 BY RAVEN DIGITALIS

If you find yourself in an argument, dispute, or otherwise disagreeable situation with another person, simply write their name on one side of a piece of paper and your name on the reverse.

Put this paper in a small self-sealing bag and add water, filling it enough to cover the paper. While doing this, say:

By the power of water, we
invoke empathy between us.

Add a handful of sugar to the water. While doing this, say:

By the power of sugar, we
invoke sweetness between us.

Seal the bag and put it in the back of your freezer. While doing this, say:

By the power of ice, we invoke
chill vibes between us.

Once you feel resolution has occurred with this person, toss the frozen bag in a public trash receptacle so it can be buried in the landfill, thereby offering the spell to the earth with gratitude.
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Bird on the Wing
MAY 04, 2022 BY ELIZABETH BARRETTE

Today is Bird Day. In its various incarnations, it draws attention to migratory birds in particular and encourages conservation of birds in general. Like all flying creatures, birds represent the element of air. For this reason, they often figure into travel spells. This can mean air travel but also applies to travel over land or water.

For this spell you will need a charm shaped like a feather or a bird (preferably in flight) and something to string it on, such as a necklace, bracelet, or key chain. Toss the charm gently in the air, catching it in your hand, and say:

Bird on the wing, bird in the air,
Carry me safely from here to there.
Light as a feather on the tail,
Watch over me upon my trail.

String the charm on its carrier. You can wear it to protect yourself, or attach it to a vehicle to protect that. If you put it on your key chain, you’ll always have it when you need it.
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Honor the Sun
MAY 03, 2022 BY CHARLYNN WALLS

On May 3, 1978, Sun Day was established by President Jimmy Carter. It is now recognized as World or International Sun Day. It is a day devoted to solar energy and the power it has to propel life.

Now is the time to honor our sun and its life-giving energies. Decorate your home and your altar with items relating to the sun. Use the colors orange and yellow in the form of sunflowers or daisies if available. You can also include oranges, sunstones, or agates in your decor.

At sunrise or sunset, honor the sun by lifting your arms to the sky to absorb the radiant energy. As you do so, close your eyes, take a deep breath, and slowly exhale. Repeat this action several times, feeling the energy of the sun increase the element of fire within you.
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Enhance Psychic Awareness
MAY 02, 2022 BY TESS WHITEHURST

Cleanse three moonstones by placing them in bright sunlight or cool running water for a few minutes or by bathing them in sage smoke. Hold your hands in prayer pose, with the stones between them. Then move your hands to touch your heart. Close your eyes, take some deep breaths, and say:

Great Goddess, help me to be a
clear channel of divine energy and
wisdom. Cleanse my perception
and open up my awareness so
that I may clearly see, hear, know,
and understand. Thank you.

Move your hands, still in prayer pose, up to touch your forehead. Then recline comfortably. Place one moonstone on your heart center (the center of your chest), one on your throat, and one on your third eye (the center of your forehead just above your eyebrows). Relax as you feel your psychic sensitivity growing. After a few minutes or when this feels complete, place the moonstones on your altar. If you’d like, you can repeat this process before any psychic or intuitive work.

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MOTHER’S DAY, MOTHER’S MILK
~Donna Henes

It is promulgated in some paleontological circles that all of humankind is the offspring of a single lady who lived in Africa, or some say, Asia, a very long time ago. The geometrically multiplied generations of her darling daughters and sons have since become geographically dispersed and ethnically diverse.All branches of the Family Tree of Life.

Lately, linguists have been speculating on the communality of verbal communication. It has been suggested that all of the extant thousands of languages and dialects in the world today come from a single shared source. That, ultimately, we all speak some variation of one original mother tongue. Certainly, the very first word most of us utters is identical everywhere: “Ma.”

The word for mother, world wide, is based on ma, or close enough. Ma is the earliest form of the Indo-European root word for mother, mâter, which is reflected in the Latin, mäter; the Greek, métèr; and the prehistoric Germanic, möthar. These, in turn, have become madre in Spanish and Italian, mère in French, mae in Portuguese; mite’ra in modern Greek; mutter in modern German, moeder in Dutch, moder in Swedish, mör in Danish, mor, in Norwegian and mother in English. Mother is mat’ in Russian, matka in Polish and Czech, majka in Serbo-Croatian, máyka in Bulgarian, anya in Hungarian, ema in Estonian, mâte in Latvian, nâna in Albanian, ima in Hebrew, anne in Turkish, and omí in classic Arabic. In the many languages of Sub-Saharan Africa, too, ma is prevalent: mamá in Ibo and Hausa, mma in South African Sotho, mbuta in the Congo, and inate in Ethiopian Amharic.

The similarity holds in Asia as well: aamaa in Nepali, mae in Thai, nanay in Philippino, omoni in Korean, chomo in Tibetan, moqing in Mandarin and mamá in Cantonese. In the Telgu and Tamil languages of India, mother is amma, and she is mata in Hindi. In Pakistani, mother is man, which means “moon” and “wisdom.”In Japanese, one’s biological mother is called, ha ha, while the ubiquitous bar hostess who, with offers of sake and sympathy, listens tenderly to a man’s troubles is known as mama-san.

Interestingly, words that designate father do not display such a remarkable resemblance. The universal inspiration for the maternal appellation, ma, must then come from some inherent quality unique in the relationship with the mother. It is not difficult to imagine how this etymological concurrence might have come to pass. Behold a scene played out billions upon billions of times throughout human existence:

A baby, cradled close, is nursing. Along with the rich nourishment of her mother’s bountiful body, she blissfully imbibes warmth, security, contentment, love. Her small head buried in soft breast, she enthusiastically sucks. Mmmm. Mmma, mmmaa, mmaaaaaa. Ma! Mama!. Ma, as in “maternal,” Ma, as in “mammary,” Ma, as in “mammal.” Mama means “mother’s breasts” in many places, and ma frequently refers to ”milk” as well as “mother.” Certainly from the point of view of a dependent child, mother is milk.

The Great Goddess, divine maternal model, source and sustainer of all life, prototype single parent, has been widely represented as a lactating mother. Abundant, ample-breasted and serene. Protective and nurturing. Full with the wherewithal to provide perfectly for the children whom She has created. Provider of bliss, She personified the primal miracle of mother’s milk.

This Mother’s Day let us toast our universal Maternal Creatrix, our mutual Mother Earth, our biological mothers, and our own mothering impulses with the nurturing milk of human kindness.

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Grief Is Important

Grieving doesn’t have to be a process that keeps us rooted in our thoughts of fear and sadness.

Change is something that happens each and every moment in our lives. Since nothing is constant, it may sometimes seem as if we are losing something whenever things do change. Understanding that this is part of our daily existence and that there will not only be gains but also losses in our lives can help us more readily accept and deal with whatever happens.

Whenever we lose something or somebody we love, it is important for us to take time out for ourselves and truly feel the weight of what we are experiencing. Although it may seem that doing so will push us into a deeper state of sadness, truly giving ourselves permission to be with whatever arises actually creates space for us to begin the healing process. This is because the act of grieving is a natural process, allowing us to sort through the range of emotions that are present in our everyday existence. Even though it may sometimes seem easier to involve ourselves in activities that take our minds off of our sadness, this will only make the route to healing more difficult. Unless we listen to where we are in the moment, the emotions we experience will only grow in intensity, and our feelings will manifest themselves in more powerful and less comfortable ways. Once we consciously acknowledge that these emotions are present, however, we are more able to soothe the sorrow of the moment. In so doing, we become more open to our natural ability to heal ourselves.

Grieving doesn’t have to be a process that keeps us rooted in our thoughts of fear and sadness. For the moment we might feel despondent, but by expressing and coping with our true feelings, we face the sadness head-on. When we allow ourselves to accept and deal with our loss fully, we will then be able to continue our life’s journey with a much more positive and accepting outlook. This will make it easier for us to see that our grief is ephemeral and, just like our moments of happiness, it will also come to pass.

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Heartwings Love Notes 1033
Mothers Come in All Sizes and Shapes

Heartwings says, “Mothers are to be honored as are all who mother.”

The idea of Mothers’ Day can be traced back to Greece and Rome. They celebrated the mother goddess at least annually. In the 16th century churches celebrated Mothering Sunday on the fourth Sunday in Lent. Today, thanks to the efforts of Mother Jarvis and her daughter Anna, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed the second Sunday in May as the official Mothers’ Day.

This seems good. Most mothers work hard to care for their children. This is true, given that it is done to the best of their capability, no matter how things may appear. People do the best they can with who they are. However, although mothers do come in all sizes, Mothers’ Day still applies only to human ones.

Animal mothers are very focused on guiding and protecting their young and there are many internet postings to that effect. It often happens that one kind of animal or bird will nurture and protect even the little ones of another species. However, when it comes to Mothers’ Day, who mentions other than human mothers? It seems to me that motherhood is much more than about taking one’s mother out to dinner or giving her flowers.

Here’s an example: for many years I have maintained a practice of giving small amounts of money to organizations of my choice. Most of these are not large, but all do something to nurture and sustain nature. One such recipient is OWL. According to their website, Operation Wildlife, aka OWL is an animal rescue organization “dedicated to providing care and release for injured and orphaned wildlife.
Recently they sent me a wonderful tribute they had printed up about a barred owl named Josie that had been with them for 27 years and recently died. She had come to them severely injured, and though some parts of her healed, her vision was not good enough for her to safely be released into the wild. As a result, she became a resident mom, as quoted here from her story. “…she would foster anything that peeped and begged for food.” They said she was a superb mother and will be missed. There are many more stories like this on the internet.

Not only mothers but also fathers can be seen nurturing their infants these days. I have seen in the past few years how fathers have come to care for their very young children. It is assumed that mothers are responsible for babies, yet fathers, as opposed to mothers can be seen these days with very young infants strapped to their chests.

The mothering instinct is very strong in every species, not just us humans, as most surely know. People who have not birthed a child or raised one still may have the same nurturing instinct. It may come out in their interactions with nieces or nephews, or they may give friends that kind of caring love. Mothering is a special trait, but not exclusive to women.

May you find mothers to honor and be grateful for.

Blessings and best regards, Tasha Halpert

PS Do you have a story to share or a memory? I so enjoy hearing from Readers. Please write to me at tashahal@aol.com and for more Love Notes, please visit my website at http://www.heartwingsandfriends.com.

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More Benefits Of The Great Outdoors
~Andrew Weil, M.D.

It doesn’t take a scientific degree to know that spending time outside can make us feel good. Now, two recent studies add to what conventional wisdom has long suggested: Nature is good for both body and mind.

For one study, researchers from the Boston University School of Public Health looked at the effects of living near greenspace (grass, parks, trees, gardens, etc.) on nearly 13,600 women with an average age of 61. After measuring the women’s memory, attention, and learning abilities, along with the estimated amount of greenspace in their neighborhoods, the investigators found that women who lived in areas with more greenery had better cognitive function.

In another recent report, researchers from Drexel University’s College of Nursing and Health Professions surveyed more than 300 adults about their connection to nature, as well as their estimated daily fruit and vegetable consumption. They found that people who reported feeling more strongly connected to nature also reported eating a more varied diet and consuming more healthful produce than their peers.

Sources:
https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamanetworkopen/fullarticle/2791565

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Can Flower Essences Address Your Mental Outlook?
~Andrew Weil, M.D.

Physician Edward Bach introduced Bach flower remedies to England in the 1930s. He theorized that people fell into seven groups, based on their reactions to illness. The groups are fear, uncertainty, loneliness, over-sensitivity, lack of interest in present circumstances, despondency, and over-concern for others.

He determined that to treat illness, one had to address patients’ emotional and mental states. Following the principles of homeopathy, he devised the flower essences for that purpose. Today, many homeopaths, naturopaths, chiropractors, and herbalists still utilize flower essences in their practices with good success.

Several brands of flower essences are sold at health food stores for self-care, but you’ll need to determine, on your own, which particular emotional state you’re trying to treat and be sure to ask a practitioner or expert which brands are sourced and prepared from organic and quality ingredients. Trying high quality sources seems to have very little downside, so it may be worth a try even though there is not a lot of high quality medical evidence of benefit.

Physician Edward Bach introduced Bach flower remedies to England in the 1930s. He theorized that people fell into seven groups, based on their reactions to illness. The groups are fear, uncertainty, loneliness, over-sensitivity, lack of interest in present circumstances, despondency, and over-concern for others.

He determined that to treat illness, one had to address patients’ emotional and mental states. Following the principles of homeopathy, he devised the flower essences for that purpose. Today, many homeopaths, naturopaths, chiropractors, and herbalists still utilize flower essences in their practices with good success.

Several brands of flower essences are sold at health food stores for self-care, but you’ll need to determine, on your own, which particular emotional state you’re trying to treat and be sure to ask a practitioner or expert which brands are sourced and prepared from organic and quality ingredients. Trying high quality sources seems to have very little downside, so it may be worth a try even though there is not a lot of high quality medical evidence of benefit.

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Fill Yourself from the Inside Out

Creating and expanding your own inner light is a simple way of tending to your own energy field.

Life presents us with many opportunities to gain mastery in tending our own energy fields. At times we may want to protect ourselves by using energy shields of color, light or angelic presence. Or in order to become more grounded, we may run energy down through our feet or first chakra, rooting ourselves to the earth. Sometimes it’s appropriate to play openly with others in an expansive, flowing state; and at other times, we may want to limit our availability to a chosen few. In certain public environments such as graduation ceremonies, work conventions, or even weddings, it may be important to remain open-hearted and able to connect, while still preventing our individual systems from depletion or overwhelm. In these situations, rather than putting a barrier between ourselves and the world around us, we can fill our energy fields from the inside out. In doing this, we become so filled with our own personal energy that no room is left for outside influences or discordant energy to enter in and affect us.

When you need to connect with people on a one-to-one basis, separate from the bustling environment around you, here is a visualization technique you might try. You can start in the morning and repeat any time as needed. Begin by taking a few moments to breathe deeply and relax. When you are calm and present, envision a ball of light in your solar plexus area just above your belly button. Allow it to build there, growing stronger and stronger. Eventually, allow the light to expand throughout the rest of your body until it fills your entire physical and energetic field.

By filling yourself with your own energy in this way, you become fortified with your own power. You retain access to all of your intuitive and mental abilities. And, you are able to act from a loving space in the midst of any situation.

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Seeing Beyond Fearful Delusions

By focusing our light on our fears, they are revealed as mere shadows that disappear in the presence of mind and spirit.

One of humanity’s biggest fears is losing what we have. It is healthy when fear of loss helps us take steps to protect what we have worked hard to attain, but it is unhealthy to continue to fear something we can do nothing about. We need to remember that focusing our energy on fear can actually create what scares us, and holding tightly to what we have keeps us from participating in the universal flow of abundance and instead creates stagnation. Since we can only really control our thoughts and our responses, gaining proper perspective may be key to conquering such fears.

Fears of being separated from something or someone we feel we need for our security or happiness comes from a delusion — a distorted way of understanding ourselves and the world around us. When we understand that possessions are only representations of the energy at work in our lives, we can shift our attention to the right and proper place. We can stop fearing loss of money or success because when we understand how it is created, we can always create more. We can stop fearing loss of possessions when we realize that they are not the source of our joy or well-being but only icing on our cakes. And when we understand the energy of love, we need not hold anyone too close for fear of losing them for we know that love does not diminish when it is given or shared but expands beyond boundaries of time or space.

By focusing our light on our fears, they are revealed as mere shadows that disappear in the presence of mind and spirit. We can choose instead to direct our thoughts and creative power toward things of true value — love, abundance, peace, passion, and joy. These are energies that are always available to us when we place ourselves confidently in the universal flow of abundance.

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Is Licorice A Healthy Food? Find Out
by Andrew Weil, M.D.

Believe it or not, much of the licorice sold in the United States does not contain the herb licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) at all. Most “licorice” candy sold in the US is flavored with anise, contains wheat, is mostly sugar and does not have any of the health beneficial properties of this medicinal herb.

The benefits of the licorice herb are many, but be mindful of licorice root, which contains glycyrrizin, a compound that can raise blood pressure, but is often used in supporting adrenal function and energy, and should only be used with the supervision of a knowledgeable practitioner. The other form of licorice, deglycyrrhizinated licorice extract or DGL, does not contain glycyrrizin and is safe to use without keeping an eye on your blood pressure. It can treat canker sores and heartburn by stimulating the mucous lining of the esophagus and stomach, can soothe gastroesophageal reflux disease, as well as being helpful in relieving symptoms of gastritis and ulcers.

DGL can be found in wafer form or as chewable tablets at your local health food store or online through supplement retailers. Take it between meals or before meals, until your symptoms are lessened or eliminated.

Believe it or not, much of the licorice sold in the United States does not contain the herb licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) at all. Most “licorice” candy sold in the US is flavored with anise, contains wheat, is mostly sugar and does not have any of the health beneficial properties of this medicinal herb.

The benefits of the licorice herb are many, but be mindful of licorice root, which contains glycyrrizin, a compound that can raise blood pressure, but is often used in supporting adrenal function and energy, and should only be used with the supervision of a knowledgeable practitioner. The other form of licorice, deglycyrrhizinated licorice extract or DGL, does not contain glycyrrizin and is safe to use without keeping an eye on your blood pressure. It can treat canker sores and heartburn by stimulating the mucous lining of the esophagus and stomach, can soothe gastroesophageal reflux disease, as well as being helpful in relieving symptoms of gastritis and ulcers.

DGL can be found in wafer form or as chewable tablets at your local health food store or online through supplement retailers. Take it between meals or before meals, until your symptoms are lessened or eliminated.

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The Druids Garden
The TreeLore Oracle and Magical Compendium of North American Trees

by Dana

One of the most important things we can do to address the challenges of today’s age is to build authentic, lasting, and meaningful nature-based relationships and spiritual practices that are localized to our own ecosystems. We can build deep connections with our local land and take up our traditional ancestral role intending and honoring nature. Doing this allows us to build reciprocal relationships with nature, which shifts our own viewpoint and practices from those that are anthropocentric (human-centered/dominated) to those that are ecocentric or biocentric (focusing on the equality of all life).

These practices are best if we root them where we live–in our local ecosystems. In AODA we call this practice “Wildcrafting”, which has a focus on developing eco-regional Druid and nature spirituality practices using a variety of resources: folk, ecological, and experiential. The challenges with wildcrafted practices are that learning like this takes a good deal of time and skill to master and thus, as regional communities, we can build these together. Also, for those of us of European ancestry living in colonized lands, we do not have a right to the meanings or stories of indigenous cultures, which means we must explore the magical landscape where we live in different ways that do not appropriate others’ wisdom. In today’s post, I’d like to introduce you to my long-term tree project, the TreeLore Oracle and Magical Compendium of Eastern North American Trees. The TreeLore Oracle serves as one contribution to building wildcrafted and eco-regional knowledge of how to work with the sacred trees found throughout Eastern North America.

If you are interested in preordering the TreeLore Oracle and supporting the project, please see our Indegogo Campaign!

About the TreeLore Oracle
The TreeLore Oracle is a 35-card eco-printed oracle deck that includes trees native to Eastern North America. The deck channels the spirit of the trees through beautiful eco prints, allowing you to have deep communion with nature. Both common magical trees (Apple, Oak, Hawthorn, White Pine) and less common trees (Hickory, Spicebush, Witch Hazel, Maple, Black Locust) are included in this stunning deck. Enter the sacred grove with the TreeLore Oracle and commune deeply with the living earth. The North American TreeLore Oracle Deck and the companion book, The Magical Compendium of Eastern North American Trees: Ecology, History, Lore, Magic, and Divination form a partnership to explore the many magical trees in the Eastern North American landscape and their specific uses for magical and divination purposes. This project was created in collaboration with the living earth—trees that wanted to be included are part of the deck–they are the artists and illustrators. The following is an image of all of the different prints that are included in the deck:

In order to create this deck in collaboration with the living earth, I developed my own process of eco printing. Starting in 2014, I based my painting on paper from the work of India Flint, who was doing eco printing on fabric in Australia. It took me about 5 years to figure out the right timing and to get the prints correct and then in the last few years, I refined my printmaking technique with mordants, different papers, and different processing times. I say years because I discovered that the fall is the best time to do most ecoprints, and the fall leaves are at their peak only for 1-2 weeks. Thus, if I didn’t get the right print, sometimes I had to wait a whole year to try to print it again (or try printing at a different point in time). The basic process involved finding plant matter from trees who wanted to be included in the deck, soaking thick papers in water + natural mordants, and then layering them. I would then steam the entire bundle for a few hours and then wait till the next day when I unveiled the results. I ended up doing over 500 ecoprints to construct the deck. All of the ecoprints that did not end up the deck were still put to good use as cards, journals, and more.

Here are a few photos of the ecoprinting process that created the TreeLore Oracle. The entire process was alchemical and magical, and I think that it produced a really unique oracle deck that is unlike anything else out there!

The Book: A Magical Compendium of Eastern North American Trees
One of my major motivations for this project came from a lack of magical lore and knowledge about the trees growing where I lived, the trees that I interacted with daily. Books on magical trees typically focus on European sacred trees, and while there is some overlap with trees like Oak, Apple, or Hawthorn, many of our common trees—like Maple, Hickory, Witch Hazel, or Ironwood—have little to no magical information available! Further, meanings and mythology from the Old World are not always applicable to North America. Thus, I began from scratch, working with each of the 35 trees in this project. I spent time researching each of these trees in-depth: gaining direct life experience with them, understanding their ecological functions, their traditional human uses, and their herbal and healing uses, and applying principles like the doctrine of signatures to understand their magical uses. I knew I needed to work with the trees for food, medicine, shelter, and other basic human needs to understand them. I studied herbalism, bushcraft and ancestral skills, natural building, wild food foraging, and much more to understand these trees. What seemed like a simple start later turned into a 12-year project: I started researching these trees in 2010. As many of my longtime readers know, the initial research for this book was explored through my series “Sacred Trees in the Americas” which has, at this point, dozens of entries (Here are some of them: Holly, Tulip Poplar, Dogwood, Spruce, Spicebush, Rhododendron, Witch Hazel, Staghorn Sumac, Chestnut, Cherry, Juniper, Birch, Elder, Walnut, Eastern White Cedar, Hemlock, Sugar Maple, Hawthorn, Hickory, Beech, Ash, White Pine, Black Locust, and Oak).

A Magical Compendium of Eastern North American Trees offers an in-depth exploration of 35 trees and includes extensive details about their ecology, human uses, history, lore, traditional magical uses, and divination. Trees include commonly found trees such as Apple, Hawthorn, Oak, and Holly as well as many trees unique to North America such as Hickory, PawPaw, White Pine, Sassafras, and Maple. Through a detailed exploration of all aspects of the tree ecologically, socially, and magically, this book presents a complete North American tree-based divination and magical system. This book serves as the companion book to the TreeLore Oracle but can also be used as a standalone magical reference. For samples of the first few chapters of the book, see: TreeLore Oracle Table of Contents, the TreeLore_Meanings, and the TreeLore_Sample Entries.

This book is in two sections: the first section offers an introduction (Chapter 1) and key aspects of using North American Sacred trees for divination (Chapter 2) and working with the trees magically (Chapter 3). The second part of the book forms the majority of the text and serves as a magical Materia Medica for 35 sacred trees: presenting full entries with research on their ecology, history, lore, traditional uses, and magical and divination meanings. Part II of this book also provides recipes, magic, rituals, celebrations, and other methods of direct work with each of these sacred trees.

Crowdfunding Campaign
We are releasing a crowdfunding campaign through Indegogo for the TreeLore Oracle and Magical Compendium. If you are interested in supporting the project, please click here! Thank you so much for your support of this new project!

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Coach Gilberto Chapter 10
by Stephen Halpert

Gilberto and Maria hurried after the uniformed bell hop as he carried their luggage through the lobby and up to their spacious room at the Ritz hotel in downtown Boston. After he tipped the bellboy generously, Gilberto kicked off his loafers and grinned at Maria. “Here we are at last.”
She nodded and kissed him gently. Then she drew back and looked at him.
He raised his eyebrows. “What have you got up your sleeve?”
“Just my arms,” she said. She put them around him.
He sighed. “Too much world with me, not enough you.” They embraced and she brushed her lips against his into what became a long-lasting kiss. “I’m glad we’re here,” she said. “We need to chill, relax and talk. That’s always easier when we’re away from the condo, and especially at a splendid hotel under the covers in a comfy king size bed.”
He smiled and took off his sweater.
Seeing his bare arms made her shiver. She straightened up and took a breath. “Wait, let’s save the best for last and clear the decks first. Take care of old business.”
He started to unbuckle his belt, but stopped and looked up. “What old business? I didn’t know there was any old business.”
“Well, there are things to talk about…”
He sighed and hoped it wasn’t anything he’d done.
“Sure. Whatever you say. Tell me what’s up?” He waited.
Her words burst out in a rush. “Joey’s been confiding in me.” She paused then said, “he told me he’s gotten very close to Davie Conners, Helen Conners son.
“My secretary?” Gilberto scratched his head, envisioning the skinny woman who perched on the edge of her folding chair.
“Yes, he recently moved back to be with his mother and transferred to Houndstooth.”
Gilberto wondered where this was leading, but as he did so, he remembered Joe’s lack of interest in both sports and studies, and thought again.
Maria went on, her voice soft but firm. “He told me since they met at the Drama Club, they spend most of their time together.”
Gilberto frowned. “”Ok, I guess.” His heart sank within him. His son? Losing interest in his dreams of being a star athlete? Perhaps, he thought those are my dreams, not is. He sighed.
She led him to the bed and sat down beside him, taking his hand in hers. Then she fell silent and said no more.” But he knew there had to be more.
Very softly she kissed his bare shoulder and shook her head.
He nodded, stood, and unlocked the liquor cabinet under the TV. He selected an imported Danish beer, filled a glass of red wine for Maria and turned. “And you, you’re saying Joey has a crush on this kid Davie?”
She nodded. “But Gilberto what you must understand is only you and I can help our son move through this, this identity crisis.
She kissed him, smiled and ran her fingers along his thick muscular arms. “Oh Gilberto, you’re such an amazing hunk of masculinity.”
He sighed. It was almost impossible to wrap his mind around this news.
Maria’s next words came out fast. “I invited them to meet us here at the hotel tonight for dinner in the dining room. I thought it could be helpful for us to get to know Davie.”
“You did? But I thought?”
She nodded. “I thought we’d sit in the dining room, relax and interact safely and lovingly.”
Tears filled her eyes. “I just want to be sure we do the right thing. I don’t
want raging hormones to take our son from us.”
He nodded. “And this concerns you, doesn’t it?”
She finished her wine. He poured her a refill. “Of course it does. I’m especially concerned he hasn’t confided any of this in you.”
His eyelids lowered. Come to think of it, not only has he said nothing, but he’s been avoiding me. I thought he was just busy.”
She sipped her wine and cuddled closer to him.
He decided to share his apprehensions. “Are you saying Joey’s gay?”
She frowned. “I’m not sure where his fascination with Davie will lead. He’s growing and exploring and we’ve got to be sure to be there for him.”
He nodded. “I’m with you. You know that.” Inside he was feeling nervous and uncomfortable. He wanted to be a good partner, but his dreams for Joey…”
“I feel concerned you might blow up at him. You do have temper, you know.” She nodded, sipped her wine. “Yes. If we work together and do this right…”
Her logic bothered him. “But I thought this was our escape. Isn’t that why we’re here?”
She smiled. “Like I said this is old business we need to get past.”
Now he really was annoyed. “And you invited them to meet us here and have supper.”
Yes,” she smiled. “And I told Joey to be sure they wore jackets and ties. I wanted to give them a fabulous meal in a really nice setting.”
That brought him up short. “Maria, why get all dressed up?”
“For their sense of self-esteem.” She took his hand, looked into his eyes. “Gilberto, teen suicides are rising.” She took a breath and went on.
“I’m doing this for them to know we’re supportive.” She smiled brilliantly. “I told Joey it was all right for Davie to visit over some weekends. My condition was that he pull up his grades.”
“We’ll see,” Gilberto said.
She stood up and straightened her skirt. “So, let’s go down to supper and meet Davie, I already ordered lobsters all around.”
Gilberto thought she looked ravishing in her special red dress. How amazing that something she had bought years ago for their honeymoon still fit. He put on his shoes back, caught her around the waist and kissed her.
“Then afterwards we can go dancing right here in the hotel,” she said as she came up for air.
That lit up his eyes, “I can hardly wait.”
To be continued

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Kitty Kat’s Korner
=^..^=

‘Creepy’ Video of Cat Sensing Something Dangerous Is a Wake-Up Call

They say your pet sometimes has a sixth sense about things we can’t see, like predators or other wildlife. Yes, the idea is sort of terrifying, but for one man on TikTok, the idea probably saved his life. It was all thanks to his cat, who noticed something strange out in the distance while they were outside together. And now some people in the comments section are praising the kitty for knowing when to play things safe.

According to @kodiakthetravelcat, he was out on a walk with his cat Kodiak when something weird happened. “This is a little bit creepy,” the TikTok creator can be heard saying in the footage. “Kodi and I were just on a normal little walk when something really, really caught his attention in the woods. It’s very rare that he has this kind of attention that you cannot break him from what it is.” Watch what happens when the cat got totally spooked.

It’s not clear what was out there, but some of the nearly 1.4 million viewers who watched the video had some ideas about what Kodi could’ve seen. “Maybe a hawk or mountain lion, bear??? Cats have awesome eyesight,” @jessiezo suggested. “Mountain lions for sure, the fact that you didn’t hear or see anything helps boost this,” @kee420 added. “Prob mountain lion,” @amandaoffgrid agreed. “It’s rare they’ll let you see them… a black bear mighta just wandered out after you left.”

And other people praised Kodiak for tipping his dad off that they needed to get out of there — ASAP. “Smart cat is keeping you safe,” @izzy_survives wrote. “I’m not sure, but the fact that he ran from it, is a good indication that y’all should’ve left,” @sweetz926 chimed in. And a third commenter dropped some knowledge that was actually pretty wise. “Ancient Egyptians said dogs protect us from the things we can see, cats protect us from the things we can’t,” @danniicorbitt explained.

We guess we’ll never really know what it was that Kodiak saw. But the video is a good lesson for anyone who likes to hike or camp to always, always, be aware of your surroundings.

https://pethelpful.com/pet-news/cat-senses-danger

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Georgia Nicols’ Weekly Horoscope:
Sunday, May 08, 2022
All Signs

Two big changes take place this week: Mercury goes retrograde in its own sign Gemini, to stay retrograde until Friday, June 3. (Note: The shadow period continues until June 19. Avoid buying cars, computers and cell phones until after the shadow period is over.) The second major event is that Jupiter will burst into Aries and stay there until the end of October. (Wow.) This bold, flowering of energy will benefit every sign in a new way. “Look ma, no hands!” Caution: Jupiter in Aries will make you enthusiastic and tempt you to act without thinking. Never forget: What the large print giveth – the small print taketh away. Which brings to mind Mark Twain: “Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.”

Aries (March 21-April 19)
Glory hallelujah! Lucky Jupiter enters your sign this week to stay for six months! The last time this happened was in 2010 – 2011. This signals a new 12-year cycle of growth in your life. It’s a new cycle where you will discover who you really are as an individual. It promotes learning and gaining new experiences. People and resources will be easily drawn to you because this is a fortunate time for you. Yes, you are blessed! You will have divine protection. Nevertheless, expect transportation delays and mixed-up communications during Mercury retrograde. (Ouch.)

Taurus (April 20-May 20)
Jupiter is associated with wisdom, religion, philosophy and the law. It symbolizes the glue that holds society together. It magnifies and benefits. (Indeed, it is called the “Great Benefic.”) It always denotes the higher aspects of life, especially consciousness-expanding awareness. (Heady stuff.) Meanwhile, for the next six months, Jupiter will be in the part of your chart that deals with spiritualism and mystical ideals. This means that for the rest of this year, you will begin to more deeply explore the spiritual and religious dimensions of your life. You will come to appreciate that we are all in this Big Soup together. You might become a teacher or a student.

Gemini (May 21-June 20)
Jupiter changes signs this week, which is good news for you! The next six months will flow more easily for you. It will be a time of growth and optimism. Relations with others will improve because you will be more generous and tolerant and not easily bothered if things go wrong. This will be an excellent time for making plans. Your popularity with others will expand because you might become more involved with friends and groups. You might even boost your income through your interaction with groups. (Jupiter symbolizes wealth.) Meanwhile, with Mercury retrograde in your sign for the next few weeks – steady as she goes! When delays and goofy mistakes occur, be patient with yourself.

Cancer (June 21-July 22)
Good news! Lucky Jupiter will be at the top of your chart for the next six months. (For the first time since 2010-2011.) This means that you will look successful in the eyes of others, especially parents, teachers, bosses, authority figures and the police. Typically, it signifies a time of promotion, awards, kudos and a recognition of your efforts professionally or personally. Many of you will experience work-related travel more than usual. If you want to change your profession, now will be the time, especially if you want to explore a field of work related to medicine and healing, the law, higher education and travel. Meanwhile, Mercury retrograde will help you do research! Bonus!

Leo (July 23-Aug. 22)
This week Jupiter enters your fellow Fire sign, which will be a fabulous support for you for the rest of year! (Like a leg on the three-legged stool.) Because life will feel pleasant, you might want to kick back and relax; but that would be a waste of opportunity. Your creative potential is fantastic for the rest of this year; plus, you’ll be self-confident and strong. Therefore, pursue your dreams! This year will also be excellent for finances. (This will help to make your surroundings more elegant; plus make increased travel possible.) Meanwhile, old friends are back in your life, which can be interesting or tedious, depending on the relationship. Life is brief. It’s illuminative to acknowledge people from your past.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22)
Jupiter changes signs this week, which is good news for you because it means that you will get richer! Ka-ching! That’s because Jupiter will be in one of your Money Houses, specifically, that part of your chart that relates to the wealth of others. You might inherit, or get money back from the government, or you might benefit indirectly because of the increased wealth of your partner. It will be an easy time for you to get a loan or mortgage because doors will open for you! Meanwhile, Mercury retrograde is occurring at the top of your chart, which means you might hear from bosses, parents and authority figures from your past. Be prepared. Look sharp!

Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22)
Only once in 12 years, does lucky Jupiter sit opposite your sign. The last time this occurred was 2010-2011. Starting this week, it has returned and will stay there for the rest of year. This means it’s a time of culmination in your life — a time of success. You might acquire possessions, money and social prestige. You will go after what you want, especially indulging yourself! Jupiter will enhance your closest relationships; (indeed, this is one of the best years in over a decade for Librans to marry). Meanwhile, in the next month, Mercury retrograde will help you study and wrap up writing projects. However, it could cause delays and snafus to travel plans. If you travel, go someplace you have been before. Bon voyage!

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21)
You’ll be glad to hear that for the rest of this year, you have marvellous opportunities to improve your job or get a better job! Your duties might improve. Work-related travel might please you. You might earn more money. However, if none of these things occur – then look for work because this is your year to seek work satisfaction. You can also improve your health. You will feel more vigourous and more positive about life. Some will get much joy from involvement with pets. All these things are possible this year because Jupiter changes signs this week. Meanwhile, Mercury retrograde will help you wrap up taxes, debt and shared property.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 21)
This is week, your ruler Jupiter will move into your fellow Fire Sign, which is beneficial for you. It will be so helpful you might want to relax and play for the rest of the year. But this would mean missing a great opportunity because your creative vibes are hot! Use your talented ideas and increased self-confidence to explore the arts, publishing, the media, involvement in sports as well as areas related to medicine and healing. It’s a great year to socialize! It’s also the perfect time to take a vacation — the best in over a decade! Meanwhile, Mercury retrograde is attracting ex-partners and old friends from the past. It’s time to trade lies and talk about the bad old days.

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 19)
You have conservative values: paid-for home, white picket fence, 2.5 kids, God, motherhood and the flag. This is why you’ll be happy for the rest of this year. Lucky Jupiter will bring good fortune to your home, family and private life. In fact, this is your best chance in over a decade to improve where you live by buying beautiful things, or redecorating or renovating. Some will move to better digs. Others will benefit financially through real-estate speculation. Likewise, family relationships will be enhanced in a lovely way. Family members will be friendlier and more generous to each other. Meanwhile, prepare for goofy mistakes and delays at work due to Mercury retrograde, which lasts a mere month. Phffft!

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 18)
Life will flow more easily for you for the rest of year because Jupiter is changing signs this week. You will find that you will move in the direction you want with very few obstacles. The rest of this year will be a time of growth, optimism and taking it easy. Your relations with relatives and daily contacts will improve. This is also a great year for making plans because you’re ready to “think big.” Also, you will realize that many of the limitations you thought were imposed from without are actually self-imposed. Ain’t it the truth? The secret to your success this year will be the power positive thinking. Meanwhile, Mercury retrograde will attract old flames back into your world. (This is always interesting.)

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20)
“Show me the money!” Once every 12 years, lucky, moneybags Jupiter travels through your House of Earnings. As of this week, that time has arrived! This means that for the rest of this year, you will earn more money or get richer for some reason. You will attract wealth and assets to you directly or indirectly. However, to put a finer point on it, you will actualize whatever it is you value. This is what you will attract. It’s a good year to take an honest look at your goals and your values. Meanwhile, Mercury retrograde will attract family members back into your world, and you will find yourself dealing with past issues and old memories.

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Weekly Horoscopes beginning Sunday, 08 May 2022


If you’re born within a cusp period (16 to 26 of any month); you’re advised to read horoscopes of both signs covered by that period. You’re on the border; you may have influences from houses within those signs.

Outlines are longer versions; consist of every possible detail of everyday and are based on three parts of each sign: 1st, 2nd & 3rd Decan; that is, any of three divisions of 10° within a sign of the zodiac. Even if you know or don’t know your Decan; I recommend, please read all three Decan.


Aries
Personal theme: I am!!
Fire & cardinal sign: March 21 — April 19

Your horoscope for this week:

Annoying as recent shakeups seemed at the time, they were breaking ground for the thrilling cycle that begins with Tuesday’s move by fortunate Jupiter into Aries. This accelerates benefits from your past efforts and triggers ideas and offers as sudden as they are promising. The secret? Explore everything, and say a tentative yes to what seems worthwhile. You’ve plenty of time to explore these in greater detail.

Demands from family and friends will stop you from doing what you want to do unless you set boundaries. Right from the start decide on how much time you have to give to others without it starting to feel as if people are imposing on you. Get the balance right between outside and private commitments or you will grow resentful. Jobs behind the scenes that require just one or two people will give you a chance to improve working relationships.

The other signs of the zodiac should know that as Jupiter enters your sign on Wednesday, they’re in for a switchback ride. It would appear you will be in the driving seat and that yes, you’ll turn things around (or upside down). Mercury turns retrograde the day before – and in the communication sign of Gemini. As though you had suddenly switched mobile phone numbers, you demand that other people pay attention to how best to communicate with you. You now have the option of either (metaphorically) transferring numbers to your new number, or thinking of alternate ways of communicating. Either way, you can imagine the mess that ensues. Bear in mind that with Jupiter moving through your sign, that others will expect you to be a good driver and to get you – and them – safely to your destination. The art is presumably to do a fuel and electrical check early in the week. It might also be wise to have a first-aid box handy.


Taurus
Personal theme: I have!!
Earth & fixed sign: April 20 — May 20

Your horoscope for this week:

The Taurus eclipsed New Moon on 30 April and mid-May’s eclipsed Full Moon are triggering unexpected changes in your world and your own life. Acknowledge that, and instead of battling changes, you’ll embrace them, even those that seem unsettling. Currently the focus is on letting go of anything, from possessions to past arrangements, that’s become burdensome. The sooner you say farewell to these, the better.

You’re almost ready to give up on a matter that is getting you nowhere. Going back to this one last time could turn out to be a good idea. Take a look at the problem from a new angle and this will reveal the cause of the problem. From then on, progress will be made. You aren’t a dreamer. You will only aim for what you feel is realistic and achievable. Whether it is studying a new subject or travelling overseas, you will get the chance to do something you’ve always wanted to do.

Your world could be turned upside down as Mercury turns retrograde in neighbouring Gemini. A bill or invoice you hadn’t expected could be challenging. If it’s not money that’s the issue, then you may find that someone you’ve relied upon on the past, is unable to deliver as promised. Give them time. Fact is that Jupiter (legal matters), moves into Aries just after Mercury turns retrograde. The combination suggests many people will need to have a pause and rethink before they move forward. There is yet everything to play for and, with the Sun still moving through your sign, you can afford to think seriously about your long-term aims and objectives. It would be as well to take careful note of telephone numbers and e-mail addresses. There’s the potential for items being sent to the wrong destination and creating chaos by the end of the week.


Gemini
Personal theme: I think!!
Air sign: May 21 — June 20

Your horoscope for this week:

With your ruler Mercury retrograde from Tuesday 10 May until early June, a range of errors and unsettling events is inevitable. However, many are breakthroughs, if in disguise. The secret? Deal with anything urgent, then step back and allow the resulting twists and turns to unfold. Be inquisitive. What seems least welcome could, within a short time, be revealed as timely and, ultimately, welcome surprises.

You think quickly and act just as fast. Some people aren’t as speedy in their thoughts and actions. When working with someone who likes to take their time you may have to be doubly patient. A task you take on later in the week will mean a lot to you and you will want to make a good job of it. This is when you will appreciate the help of a careful and cautious friend or colleague.

Mercury turns retrograde in your sign on Tuesday. That’s followed by Jupiter’s crossing of the World Axis where it moves into Aries – that area of your solar chart associated with networks. It’s entirely possible that you will decide you want to reframe your communication systems. That might mean leaving one group to join another. A review of subscriptions would surely be wise. Yet there is the potential for you inadvertently creating chaotic communication systems by not being where you said you would be – or giving out misinformation. Take particular care over Tuesday and Wednesday that this isn’t the case, as the last thing you need is to fall into a legal trap. Note too, that your affairs are likely to be very public. What you’ve been doing at work, how you’ve been balancing work and play are all issues that will likely be discussed. Between now and next week’s Full Moon, you perhaps need to rethink plans and deal with practicalities; systems and schedules having altered greatly in recent weeks.


Cancer
Personal theme: I feel!!
Water & cardinal sign: June 21 — July 22

Your horoscope for this week:

You’ve been focusing your efforts on various ideas, some straightforward, others more far out. Still, the slow pace has been frustrating. Now, suddenly, things begin coming together. However, with progress being triggered by Tuesday’s move by expansive Jupiter to accent these matters, events are so sudden you’re unsure what to do. It’s simple. Enjoy this exciting period. Details? You can tackle them over the coming weeks.

Check that you know the plans of those you are closest to as the week begins. Make sure you know where they are and what they will be doing. That way, when you need to contact anyone urgently, you won’t be left wondering how to do so. Keep to the point if you are trying to establish the legalities of an awkward or contentious situation. Have you weighed up all you will be letting yourself in for before taking on new commitments?

Jupiter arrives at the apex of your solar chart mid-week. It’s reasonable to expect that this will bring a burst of activity on the career front. Yet, the day before, Mercury turns retrograde and the rug could be pulled from under you by news concerning a Gemini, Libra or Aquarius whose world is turned upside down by information which you suspect may not be entirely accurate. You may well be right. It’s probable though, that you will be caught in the contractual challenges that ensue. A further possibility is that you will be considered prime candidate for a role that has been developed over the last couple of years. Even now, whilst the decision to create this job may have been made, it’s perhaps not yet refined. Much discussion will likely be necessary over the next two weeks. In the meantime, involvement with an educational project or with the needs of someone younger who is stalled or challenged by pending examinations, could also demand your attention.


Leo
Personal theme: I will!!
Fire & fixed sign: July 23 — August 22

Your horoscope for this week:

As a Leo, and a fire sign, you’ve a knack for focusing on whatever arises, from a challenge to an opportunity, and turn it into something magical. That’s the case now, although as you’re discovering, events won’t always proceed as anticipated. Be flexible. Those twists and turns will be more exciting than anything you’d previously conceived possible. The more options you explore, the better.

Either take some time out and deal only with responsibilities that cannot be put to one side for another time, or keep a lookout for a chance to take one more step up the career ladder. You want to feel you are doing something useful or enjoyable with your time. To be successful at home and at work you will need to be compassionate, patient and kind. Above all, you will want to win the confidence of your boss or employer.

It’s Jupiter’s turn to arrive at the World Axis mid-week. Just before it does, Mercury turns retrograde; and yes, many people will feel as though their world has been turned upside down. For you, Jupiter’s move through Aries is all about extending your reach, widening your horizons, and learning something new. A potential difficulty is Mercury turning retrograde and in its own sign of Gemini. Perhaps you’ll want to reach out, but discover that transport or other difficulties prevent you from doing so. This week may be all about the challenge of dealing with obstacles. Yours is a sign known for determination and resilience so are unlikely to be defeated. Forming alliance with a Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius or Pisces could be to your advantage.


Virgo
Personal theme: I analyse!!
Earth sign: August 23 — September 22

Your horoscope for this week:

The period when your ruler Mercury is retrograde, at it will be from Tuesday 10 May until early June, has a reputation for causing disruption. Now, however, the bigger the change, the more you’ll learn. The trick? Forget about restoring the status quo and, instead, focus on exploring a range of options. What initially seems far out, if not unrealistic, could be perfect in the long run.

Put more thought into it before making a move in new directions. You will feel more in control if you have your long-term plans mapped out every step of the way. That way, if you veer slightly off target, you will easily get back on track again. You aren’t in a rush. You will happily leave competitive colleagues to fight it out between them while you stick with your own plans and ideas.

Your ruling planet, Mercury, turns retrograde this week and in a sign in which it said to work particularly well. As it does, it affects the career axis of your solar chart. It stations just as Jupiter arrives at the World Axis. So it could be that you find yourself in the eye of a storm and impossible to avoid global conditions. There again, you may not want to: wherever there is chaos, you bring order. So, it could be argued that cosmic conditions will find you at your very alliance best. That said, you’re not a miracle worker and the fact that so many people want you to resolve issues – and by Friday! – would surely put you under considerable pressure. Resisting that, and also alerting others to the fact that where there is chaos, there is also opportunity to do things better next time, is a slightly different challenge, but one that you might enjoy.


Libra
Personal theme: I balance!!
Air & cardinal sign: September 23 — October 22

Your horoscope for this week:

With both your ruler Venus and, as of Tuesday the 10th, fortunate Jupiter accenting close alliances, personal or out in the world, life’s about teamwork. While you’ve an amazing knack for encouraging exactly that, you’ve a stubborn streak that battles certain varieties of change. The time has come to let go. While, initially, this may seem a compromise, you’ll soon realise how wise this strategy was.

You may have made errors in the past. Everyone makes mistakes. You might feel ready to admit this now and learn from them. If someone is willing to give you a second chance, you will get it right next time. Are you single? A friendship is turning into something romantic and this will be what you have been secretly longing for. If you have a partner, surprise them with suggestions on how to add adventure to your days.

You perhaps won’t be the only sign to feel that your world is been turned upside down this week. First is Mercury turning retrograde in another of the air signs and then there’s Jupiter’s arrival at the world axis and its entry into your opposite sign. Travel arrangements may be involved that contact with those whom you see rarely. Anticipate the unexpected. News may not be of the easiest kind to absorb either. The way in which your present material or market items and services may be challenged. A radical rethink may be necessary. Rather than view this as an irritation however, this should give you the opportunity to rethink an overall strategy and that will surely bring out the best in you. Before next week’s full moon on 16th, you might also consider joining forces possibly with an Aries who like you is ready to spread their wings.


Scorpio & Ophiuchus
Personal theme: I desire!!
Water & fixed signs: October 23 — November 21

Your horoscope for this week:

You don’t realise it, mostly because planning ahead comes naturally, enough you do it without a thought. However, between now and the pivotal Scorpio eclipsed Full Moon, on the 16th, you’ll want to be flexible. Explore absolutely everything, including what seems unappealing or even unrealistic. Once, these matters were; but times are changing and so is your life, far more than you realise at the moment.

It might feel as if it’s a race against time as you work towards reaching a specific target. It’s all about speed and this could mean having to cut a few corners. If you have no other option, don’t let this make you feel guilty. A workmate will admit to feeling unwell. They won’t want to let the team down. Encourage them to go home and rest. It isn’t being fair on them to expect them to continue as normal.

Jupiter crosses the world axis this week and moves into Aries the other sign of the zodiac ruled by your ruling planet Mars. Anticipate considerable activity. The fact that this crossing happens just 24 hours after Mercury arrives at its retrograde station, suggests that many people will feel as though the world been turned upside down. Certainly, your daily routine should be affected. This though might not necessarily be a bad thing. You will hopefully find that there is a team of people now ready to complete tasks which they began over a year ago and failed to finish. Perhaps they now realise the urgency and the costs involved in prolonging things. Progress could be swift yes, despite Mercury being retrograde. True, there may be moments when you feel that there are too many cooks and that disaster is inevitable. It might be as well not to voice fears however, and instead to focus on the positive and the fact that others so clearly want to get to an end.


Sagittarius
Personal theme: I see!!
Fire sign: November 22 — December 21

Your horoscope for this week:

By no means are you rigid in your thinking. In fact, nobody’s more eager to learn about new ideas, places and what others are up to than you are. Yet your independent streak could prevent you pursuing certain thrilling ideas or offers. The problem? They’re in the hands of others. This once, go with the flow. You won’t regret it, now or in the long run.

There’s a competitive note in the air. You’re mixing with many talented people. Some will think and act as if they always now best. This will inspire you to work harder and study more but don’t forget that you have skills you can be proud of too. A friend is hoping for your support in campaigning for something they believe in. An older colleague whose advice you have always appreciated will reassure you that they aren’t planning on retiring any time soon.

It could easily feel as though your world has been turned upside down as Mercury turns retrograde in your opposite sign on Tuesday, followed by Jupiter’s arrival at the World Axis and its entry into another of the Fire signs, Aries midweek. The latter should put you in the mood for fun and play whilst also revving up your internal research and development department. The former could bring surprising news from a close friend or colleague whose announcement that they plan to work very differently upsets your plans. As one of the Fire signs, you are quick to respond. This week it would be as well to access your internal thermostat and make adjustments. Over-reaction would likely lead to real difficulties. The antics of someone younger and impatience with the quality of their work might be hard to control, but essential, if this is to go on to be a viable working relationship.


Capricorn
Personal theme: I use!!
Earth & cardinal sign: December 22 — January 19

Your horoscope for this week:

Nobody is more skilled at organising plans, large and small, then turning them into reality. Now, however, you’re facing twists and turns. The best strategy? Stand back, and allow things to unfold as they must. Initially, this might seem a compromise. It’s not; but you won’t recognise how or, indeed, why for several weeks. While this requires patience, the results will be worth waiting for.

You know how to get your message across. People are listening. You have stood up for policies in the past which were at the time classed as extreme but are now part of the mainstream consensus. Be proud because you are making a difference. Competitors are watching and waiting for you to make mistakes. This is your chance to prove your worth particularly if you feel some people have been underestimating you. You have bundles of energy. Carry on doing what you do best.

Jupiter’s arrival at the base of your solar chart comes just hours after Mercury turns retrograde in a zone associated – for you – with day-to-day affairs. It’s very likely that there will be upheaval within your working environment. Whilst in the long term these are presumably constructive developments, disturbance would be both uncomfortable and disruptive. Further, there is high probability of someone younger demanding care. Their lack of knowledge or understanding of procedures could at times be infuriating. There’s also the high probability of discovering that research has been poor and/or that costs have risen enormously. All this will likely require you to consider the level of responsibility you’re willing to carry giving you much to think about next weekend.


Aquarius
Personal theme: I know!!
Air & fixed sign: January 20 — February 18

Your horoscope for this week:

Being a clever Aquarian, you’ve a knack for making plans that, magically, seem to anticipate changes, some completely unexpected; but both recent and forthcoming twists and turns are surprising, even to you. While, initially, they’ll seem unsettling, you’ll soon recognise them as timely breakthroughs. The secret? In every case, do some serious exploration first. Then, only after that, decide whether you want to proceed.

Embrace new experiences. Smile and try to do the best you can. You could be surprised by how much you do manage to achieve. All promises you make you will intend to keep and you will manage this too, thanks to your determined efforts. Are you single and in the market for romance? It might take a few dates before you start to bond with a new partner. Give a new relationship a little time.

It’s reasonable to expect that a week containing Mercury turning retrograde in another of the Air signs, and Jupiter moving into a Fire sign, will prove tempestuous. By Friday you may well be screaming that enough is enough; and yet it’s not all bad news. In fact, far from it. Whilst true, at one level it could be intensely irritating that certain individuals are altering direction and leaving you with extra work, it should also be clear that they weren’t positioned well in the first place. This shakeup gives you room to consider other options. By next week’s Full Moon in another of the Fixed signs, you could explore training opportunities, review qualifications and perhaps advise someone how best to improve their skills. In the process, you might also discover systems that would be beneficial to you too.


Pisces
Personal theme: I believe!!
Water sign: February 19 — March 20

Your horoscope for this week:

At the moment, events are forcing you to acknowledge that certain longstanding arrangements, both personal and out in the world, are benefitting others far more than you. Yet you’ve been defending these. While, once, those feelings were justified, times have changed and, as a result, a serious review is vital. If you can’t say farewell to these, at least cut back on their influence in your life.

It isn’t how much you do and get through but the quality of your work that will matter most now. You could be amazed by how much you learn through attending a workshop or seminar. People who raise complaints will be far from satisfied with the findings and will push to have the matter looked at again. Anger will come through there seeming to be one rule for one and one rule for another.

One of your ruling planets, Jupiter, move sign this week. It does so just a day after Mercury turns retrograde at the base of your solar chart. You perhaps will be the only signed experience upheaval on both the home and career front. In your case, delayed mail could give you much to think about. Costs may have risen apparently exponentially. It would be understandable if this put you into blind panic is sent you looking for expert help before next weekend. Of course, the art is as always in not overreacting. Tempting as it may be to shout complaints from the rooftop, you might do better to apply some diligence and to go over the small print very carefully. Though it could take a couple of weeks before you can present your case, the effort would surely be worthwhile. Meanwhile, this also the probability that a colleague will ask for help either because they’ve lost their actual direction, or because they want to refine their career aims and objectives.

~CelestialPrognostication

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Every Day is Earth Day! Love Your Mother!

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Goddess Blessings!
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Teach a witch a spell and she can do that spell. Teach a witch the craft and she can do magick!

GrannyMoon, Teaching the Craft for over 20 years!

“We all come from the Goddess
And to Her we shall return
Like a drop of rain, going to the ocean”
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“May the circle be open, but unbroken,
May the love of the Goddess be ever in your heart.

Merry Meet and Merry Part
And Merry Meet Again

Never forget…you are magick!

Goddess Bless!
GrannyMoon

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By GrannyMoon Posted in Pagan

GrannyMoons Weekly Feast: 1 May 2022

Blessed Beltane!

Transformation in the world happens when people are
healed and start investing in other people. ~Michael W. Smith

Blessed Be My Little Witch! To those who came before and those who will come after, know that the Goddess is with you always. Thank you all my dear readers…be blessed. ~GrannyMoon

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Dark Moon – Time to Rest
New Moon – Time to Begin New Projects; Birth; Attraction
Waxing Moon – Time to Grow; Increase
Full Moon – Time to be Fulfilled; Abundance
Waning Moon – Time to Banish; Decrease
Last Sliver of Moon – Time to Die; Letting Go
Dark Moon – Time to Rest Again
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Light A Candle Today!
In many different traditions lighting a candle is a sacred action. It expresses more than words can express. It has to do with gratefulness. From time immemorial, people have lit candles in sacred places. You may want to begin or end your day by the sacred ritual of lighting a candle on this gratefulness. Or you may want to light a birthday candle for a friend. One single guideline is all you need: Slow down and do it with full attention.

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Current Moon Phase: New Moon ~ The beginning of a new cycle.

Keywords for the New phase: beginning, birth, emergence, projection, clarity.

Goddess Aspect: Maiden

Associated Goddesses: Artemis, Branwen, Eriu, Nymph, Epona

The New Moon is for starting new ventures, new beginnings. Also love and romance, health or job hunting.

Magickal Attributes: Invoking. Workings On This Day Are For Starting New Ventures, New Beginnings, Love, Romance, Health Or Job Hunting.

It is the time in a cycle that you are stimulated to take a new action. During this phase the new cycle is being seeded by your vision, inner and outer. Engage in physical activity. Spend time alone.

VISUALIZE your goals for the 29.6-day cycle ahead. New Moon workings can be done from the day of the New Moon to three-and-a-half days after.

Goddess Month of Maia runs from 4/18 – 5/15

Celtic Tree Calendar Month ~ April 15 To May 12 ~ Willow
Willow is a very magical month, great for drawing down the moon and love spells.

Herb of the Year for 2022: Viola (violet, heartsease) named by the International Herb Association

What’s Happening in MAY

MAY 4: Celtic/British Festival of Cerridwen and Brigit: Corn Goddesses of Fertility

May 4 – Celtic Festival of Cerridwen and Brigit – Corn Goddesses of fertility, healing, and poets.
– St. Monica’s Day (Irish)
– Veneration of the Thorn (Irish)
– Festival of Sheila Na Gig (Irish)

MAY 6: – Shepherd’s Day – Day to meditate on Deity as Lord of Animals: Dumuzi (Old Sumerian), Osiris (Egyptian), Pan (Old Greek), Shiva Pasupati (Hindu).
– Eyvind Kelve (Norse)

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Face to Face Classes with GrannyMoon

Face to Face Class: 1 PM – 3 PM ~ The Herbal Cauldron – May 8
Face to Face Class: Noon – 2:00 PM ~ The Magick of Crystals – May 15
Reiki III and Advanced: 1 PM – 3 PM – May 22
Black Hat – May 28 – 7 PM – 9PM

Join us at https://www.meetup.com/Witchy-Wednesdays/
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High Priestess Training with GrannyMoon
http://GoddessSchool.com

The entire course takes 15 months to complete (four levels). Tuition covers lessons, assignments and instructor feedback. In addition, students may download guided meditation exercises and be eligible for Sabbats, Esbats and retreats with the Sisterhood. The entire fee for each level is $120 (payment plan available), sixteen lessons in each level, except the last.

Ceremonial Cords and frame-able Completion Certificates are awarded as members complete each level.
Level I – Initiate of the Sisters of the Burning Branch – White cord
Level II – Adept of the Sisters of the Burning Branch- Red cord
Level III – Priestess of the Sisters of the Burning Branch- Black cord
Level IV – High Priestess of the Sisters of the Burning Branch – Green cord

You Might Also Be Interested In:
http://goddessschool.com/Paganstudies/index.html
http://www.goddessschool.com/courses/natural/naturalwitch.html
http://goddessschool.com/Paganstudies/healingarts.html

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Learn About Herbs with GrannyMoon!

There is so much to learn about herbs! In Herbalism 101, we cover 21 herbs, and you will start your own personal Materia Medica, that we will build throughout the next levels. We will cover the basic aspects of herbs. From culinary to magickal, medicinal to ornamental. As well as the many modalities of herbs!

During this course, in addition to the on-line lessons and hands-on projects that you do at home, I will be sending you articles, and information, as well as questions about your own personal use and research.

I look forward to walking this green journey with you! I love herbs and I hope that you do too or will learn to!

There are 10 lessons in each level and there is no time limit for completion. You may study at your own pace! There are no texts to purchase.

For more info or to join my class, click here!
http://goddessschool.com/Paganstudies/healingarts.html

The cost for Level 1 is $50.00 or $150.00 the entire Healing Arts Course (1-3) which includes a free Reiki certification course when all three are ordered at the same time!
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Earth Signs and Omens in Nature Course

Learn to read the mysteries of nature! The course covers signs and omens, communication, seasonal rites, trees and shrubs, flowers, plants and weeds, herbs, plant magick, the Guardians of Nature and much more.
http://goddessschool.com/courses/earthsigns/index.html

GrannyMoonsMail@yahoo.com

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The Goddess School Grimoire

http://www.lulu.com/shop/sotbb-Goddess-school/the-Goddess-school-grimoire/hardcover/product-762380.html
Hardcover: $39.45
Softback: $26.95
eBook (PDF): $6.25

The Goddess School Grimoire is a collection of recipes, artwork, poetry, prose, prayers, rituals, spells, and practical Goddess wisdom put together by the teachers, students, alumni, and friends of The Sisters of the Burning Branch Goddess School. The sisterhood is dedicated to restoring spiritual balance by returning the Divine Feminine to her rightful place and by assisting women in their personal and spiritual development. Since being founded by Head and High Mother Priestess Grandmother Moon in 2000, The Goddess School (GoddessSchool.com) has grown into a large and beautiful global community of women.

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Join Our Cat Community on Twitter! The Cat Philosophers! Must Love Cats!
https://twitter.com/i/communities/1508878853783048194

Three Rules

  1. Be kind and respectful.
  2. Keep Tweets on topic.
  3. Explore and share.

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Full Moon Circle at Sticks and Stones
May 15, 2022 from 5pm to 7pm
Organized By: Sway

Event Description:
A moon circle is a sacred gathering of women, who come together to honor and celebrate the new and full moon gathering to harness the potent energy of the moon.

The moon circle is a safe space, where women can enjoy being in sacred sisterhood, feel supported and witnessed. In the circle we will set intentions, clear energy, gain clarity, and connect to oneself through communal energy.

Everything that happens in circle remains privately in the circle, which allows women to truly open up, share, and be authentic, practice self-care and experience community.

Instructor: Sway
Entrance Fee: $25

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Coventry Creations
Astro Magic Forecast for April 25, 2022 – May 1, 2022

The final week of April begins with the Moon moving through emotionally sensitive Pisces.

On Monday, you may have trouble controlling your emotional responses to the people around you with the Moon conjoined Mars. Try to be proactive rather than reactive. The energy shifts dramatically on Tuesday as the Moon forms a lovely sextile to Uranus. You will be bored with your daily activities and crave a little excitement in your life. You can easily resolve this by shaking things up and doing something you normally wouldn’t do.

During the middle of the week, Mercury sextiles lucky Jupiter. Mercury-Jupiter is an incredible combination for business and commerce. If you need to finalize a deal or sign documents, today would be the best day to do it. Also, Venus conjoins Neptune, and love is in the air. Wednesday and Thursday are perfect evenings for a date night.

Finally, besides the solar eclipse that occurs in Taurus, Venus conjoins Jupiter in Pisces. You should be in a positive frame of mind, and you will find that relationship matters flow smoothly. Venus Jupiter is great for attracting money and is considered a lucky combination. However, if you go shopping or decide to splurge, try not to get too crazy, because Venus-Jupiter can be excessive.

Recommended: Jupiter (Astro Magic), Prosperity (Blessed Herbal), Road Opener (Motor City Hoodoo)

Here’s what you missed on CoventryCreations.com this week…

Living the Dream Spell – April 2022 Witches Union Spell Card

Dust off those dreams, take a good look at them and decide if they are worthy of a little magic to make them alive and well in your life. If not, rewrite them to fit in with your new vision of your future because it’s time to live the dream you want for yourself.

Solar Eclipse & New Moon in Taurus on April 30, 2022

This is not the time for manifesting with magic. This energy is wild and hard to manage. With Taurus, the ruler of money, resources, possessions, physical pleasures, sensuality use this time to pamper yourself.

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Llewellyn’s Spell A Day
May Day

MAY 01, 2022 BY STEPHANIE ROSE BIRD

May Day is a highly significant day on many pagan paths, including Hoodoo. One of Hoodoo’s original informants reported on a washing ritual that has come to be known as Edward Marshall’s May Day Wash. His rite was designed for the Mississippi River, but a river (or other natural body of water) near you will do, if you have strong intentions.

In Hoodoo, it is believed that running water, as in a river, can cleanse, protect, and banish ill health and the problems that cause them. Wear all white for sacred intent. Head to a nearby river (or other natural body of water) with your towel. Submerge your body and visualize your troubles floating like your clothing. Chant:

On this auspicious day of May,
Let the healing powers of water
shield, cleanse, and protect me,
Shield, cleanse, and protect me,
Shield, cleanse, and protect me.
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A Solar Eclipse Meditation
APRIL 30, 2022 BY JAMES KAMBOS

Today we have a new moon and a solar eclipse occurring. Many occultists believe, however, that the day of a solar eclipse isn’t a good day to work magic. When the earth is in the “shadow” of an eclipse, magic could go awry. But this is an excellent day to meditate about new directions or projects you wish to take on.

You’ll need one orange candle and the Hermit card from a Tarot deck. The candle will represent the sun, while the lantern or torch that the Hermit is carrying will represent the wisdom you’re seeking. Place the candle on your altar, but don’t light it yet. In front of it lay the Hermit card faceup. Gaze at the card and ask for its help in guiding you along the correct path to achieve your goal. Then safely light the candle. Visualize the sun shining after the eclipse, lighting your way. Meditate on the Hermit guiding you. When done, safely snuff out the candle. Return the card to its deck. Record any thoughts in a journal.
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Raise the Roof
APRIL 29, 2022 BY MELISSA TIPTON

In honor of International Dance Day, this spell utilizes the energy of movement. This can be as simple, yet powerful, as clapping your hands, or more complex movements of your choice.

Begin by casting a magic circle to contain your ritual space, then imagine an energetic umbrella or jellyfish shape hovering above you, collecting energy as it rises from the earth. As you focus on your magical intention, begin to move your body, perhaps stomping your feet, clapping your hands, swaying your hips, or any movement that feels natural and accessible.

Imagine these movements drawing up earth energy as your body funnels it up and into the umbrella. Continue until the umbrella feels ready to pop with fullness, and loudly exclaim your intention as you visualize and sense the energy bursting free, coursing through the universe to carry out your magical aim.
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A Flowering Garden
APRIL 28, 2022 BY ELIZABETH BARRETTE

Today is Floralia, the Roman festival in honor of Flora, the goddess of flowers and other growing things. Druidic lore has Blodeuwedd, whose name means “flower face.” Think of how some flowers such as pansies have a “face” on their petals.

Spend the day worshipping your garden. If you have used an off-season cover crop, you can till it under for green manure. Otherwise, dead leaves or cut grass can be worked into the soil to add more organic matter. Composted animal manure also works, though it goes a bit farther from Druidic tradition. Turn over the top layer of soil onto the unbroken surface beside it, work in the organic matter underneath, then put the clean soil back on top. As you work, say:

Garden Goddess, Flower Face,
Lay your blessing on this place:
Everywhere the ground gives room,
Let the earth now burst in bloom.

Plant hardy spring flowers, such as pansies, primroses, or pinks. They will grow well with fresh food underneath and a blessing to bolster them.
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Bless Your Babes
APRIL 27, 2022 BY DALLAS JENNIFER COBB

Whether you have children, an imal companions, plants, or creative babies (like books, paintings, or music that you’re working on and growing), today is a great day to bless your babes.

Sit quietly. Draw the image of each of your “babes” to you. Bless them one at a time, giving each your full attention. Picture them in your mind’s eye. Inhale deeply, then exhale and surround them with white light. Incant:

Mother Earth, keep my babes safe.

Inhale deeply, then exhale and surround them with blue light. Say:

Goddess, let my babes be peaceful.

Inhale deeply, then exhale and surround them with pink light. Say:

Divine One, may my babes be happy.

Inhale deeply, then exhale and surround them with red light. Say:

Goddess, let my babes feel loved.

Inhale deeply, then exhale and surround them with green light. Say:

May my babes be healthy.

Inhale deeply, then exhale again, envisioning your babes in a blessed state: safe, peaceful, happy, loved, and healthy. Say:

Divine Mother, bless my babes.
For this I am thankful.
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Seed and Garden Blessing
APRIL 26, 2022 BY SUSAN PESZNECKER

Springtime heralds the arrival of gardening in most locations, and carrying out a seed and garden blessing will start the season off right.

You’ll need some packets of seeds, a trowel or small shovel, some organic fertilizer, and a cup of water.

Carry the items to your garden location. Hold the seeds skyward and say:

I honor these seeds, each carrying
the essence of new life and the gifts
of food, warmth, and shelter. May
I learn the lessons of these seeds
and respect their perseverance.

With the trowel, dig a small hole in the garden soil, saying:

I honor the Earth, from whom
the great mystery of life springs.

Pour the fertilizer and water into the hole, saying:

May these gifts of food and water
be repaid in favored bounty. May
the fruits of my labor show love
and respect for this process.

Cover the hole. Place the seed packets on your altar until planting time.
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To Life!
APRIL 25, 2022 BY BARBARA ARDINGER

In Fiddler on the Roof, Tevye sings, “L’chaim!” which means, “To life!” The circumstances of his life aren’t good—he’s a Jew living in anti-Semitic Russia around the turn of the last century—but he manages to find little things to celebrate. Let us emulate Tevye. What little things in your life can you celebrate?

Alone or with your coven or circle, set up an altar filled with growing plants and symbols of happiness, such as musical instruments, a glass of milk, favorite jewelry, or emails from friends. Add whatever brings more life into your life.

Surround your “lifey” things with a whole rainbow of birthday candles. As you light each candle, tell yourself and your friends what’s good in your life. What kind of life does this April bring? Ask your friends to speak about their lives. Sit together with your altar and think about renewed and ever-renewing life until the candles burn down safely. Then you and your friends can get up and dance.

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A May Eve Incantation
BY TIMOTHY RODERICK

Red Candle with Flowers
What You’ll Need:
A flower (such as a rose) with many petals that you can strip from the plant and strew about, or a variety of fresh greenery
A 5-6 inch red taper candle
Another fresh flower, intact

Traditionally, witches recite various chants on Beltane Eve. At midnight, mark out a nine-foot diameter circle on the floor using flower petals or greenery. Light a red candle. Hold the candle in your right hand and hold a flower, a well-budded branch of greenery, or other fresh plant in the left hand. Hold both candle and vegetation to the sky. Stand in the east of your circle of flowers and begin walking clockwise. Then recite the following chant three times. Make sure, likewise, that you circumambulate the perimeter of the flower-circle three times while chanting.

O, do not tell the priest of our arts
For they would call it a sin,
But we will be in the wood all night,
A-conjuring summer in!
And we bring good news by word of mouth,
For women, cattle and corn,
For the sun is rising up from the south,
With oak, ash, and thorn.

Excerpted from Wicca: A Year and a Day by Timothy Roderick.

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Your Comfort Zone

Create a soft place to land in your home a refuge from the stress of the day.

Our day-to-day demands can quickly take their toll on our well-being if we are not vigilant about caring for ourselves as best we can. One way we can ensure that we have an opportunity to relax and recuperate each day is to create a soft place to land when we arrive home. This landing pad, whether it is an entire room or merely a small corner of a larger area, can provide us with a safe and comforting refuge in which we can decompress and recover from the day’s stresses. There, we are enveloped in feelings of security that transcend other issues that may be unfolding in our homes. Our landing pads also act as way stations that enable us to shift our attention away from our outer-world concerns and back to our inner-world needs.

To create a soft place to land in your home, begin by scouting potential locations. Or perhaps your entire home is your landing pad in which case you may only need to declutter. Your habits can often provide you with insight into the perfect spot, as there may be an area of your home you gravitate to naturally when you are in need of comfort. Any space in which you find it easy to let go of stress and anxiety can become your landing pad. A basement or attic, spare room, or unused storage area, furnished with items that soothe you, can give you the privacy you need to unwind. If you appreciate the elements, you may find that spending time in a section of your garden or outdoor patio helps you release the day’s tensions. Preparing these spaces can be as easy as replacing clutter with a small selection of beautiful objects that put you in a relaxed frame of mind. Remember to consider noise and activity levels while choosing the site of your landing pad. If you know that ordinary human commotion will distract you from your purpose, look for a secluded spot.

The soft place to land that you create should inspire within you the mantra, “I can breathe here. I can relax here. I know I am safe here.” When you return to your home after braving worldly rigors, you will feel a subtle yet tranquil shift occur inside of you as you settle in to this most personal of retreats and feel centered once again.

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A 21st Century Wheel of the Year: Regeneration at Beltane
by Dana, The Druids Garden

A druid walks upon a landscape, barren, cold, with trees cut and plants uprooted. Tears in her eyes, she surveys the damage that others have caused: the homes of so many animals disrupted after logging, the wild ramps and ginseng roots damaged, and the remains of the logged trees laying like skeletons on the earth. But she is called to this place, to work with it, to embrace it, to help aid in the healing work that nature is already so good at doing. Rather than look away, the druid embraces this damaged land and begins, slowly, the work of regeneration.

Five years later, the druid walks again upon this same landscape at Beltane. The sacred grove she established is blooming with hawthorns, ashes, and maples surrounding small stones she set to hold the space. Wild ramps are abundant on the forest floor, and black and blue cohosh poke up from the soil, leaves starting to unfurl. The young trees planted are growing tall. Turkey tail mushrooms cover the old stumps, producing amazing medicine as the fallen trees return to soil. Forest hugelkultur mounds of raspberries and currants surround the edges of the space. In a few short years, with a lot of hard work, the druid has worked with nature to speed up nature’s own healing processes–while this space would have healed without her, her intervention allowed healing to happen much faster. And through this work, she has gained a much deeper connection with nature and her spirits. As the druid worked with nature to regenerate this landscape, old wounds of her own were healed and soothed.

This opening story offers one viewpoint on the work of regeneration–the theme for Beltane in my 21st Century Wheel of the Year. Regeneration, in its most basic definition, is restoring something to wholeness, bringing something back into health and abundance, and restoring something back to its original functioning. Regeneration is a particularly important concept for those of us practicing nature spirituality to embrace today, where so much of human activity on the earth is harming and destroying the biosphere.

This post is part of my 21st Century Wheel of the Year series where I’m offering insights into new themes to consider for a traditional neopagan wheel of the year. I have found that as we move deeper into the age of the Anthropocene, the traditional wheel of the year no longer fits, and thus, I’ve been creating a new wheel of the year with themes more appropriate to help us navigate, respond, and do good in this difficult age. Previous posts in this series have included: Receptivity at the Fall Equinox; Release at Samhain; Restoration at the Winter Solstice, Reskilling at Imbolc, and Resilience at the Spring Equinox. Today, we continue the wheel with Regeneration at Beltane!

The Work of Regeneration: Why take up this work?

Regeneration is an extremely powerful concept that allows us to accomplish a number of good things. These include:

To work as a force of good upon the land around us. So many of the narratives we have about humanity’s role on this planet are all of the bad things we are doing. And it’s true, that humans are engaged in a lot of nature-destroying activities. However, this is not the only narrative we can have–regeneration helps us reframe our work, ourselves, and our work in the world. It allows us to help balance our actions and begin to do good on behalf of the living earth by participating directly in healing work.

To be in service to the living earth and give back. While I’ve argued that there are lots of different kinds of offerings we can make to show the earth our respect and reverence, being in service through direct regeneration of the living earth is probably the very best offering we can make. It shows nature you are serious about building a relationship and allows you to give back in the most meaningful way possible.

To deepen your connection to the living earth. One of the questions I think a lot of us ask is–how can we deepen our relationship with nature? This is an incredible way. When you involve yourself in nature’s healing, you get to learn a great deal about how nature works–watching the yearly progress of trees growing tall, watching the birds and bees returning, being able to see how nature’s magic happens. Not to mention, it helps solidify your own role in being a human being as part of the earth, not separate from her.

To heal yourself through nature’s healing. Because we are not separate from nature, as we heal nature, that healing also is reflected in ourselves. I can’t tell you how much this matters in such a difficult age!

To create a different vision of the future. Part of the reason this particularly Wheel of the Year series exists is to acknowledge that we are living in very difficult times–times when it seems everything around us consumes destroys life and produces a terrifying vision of the future. One of the direct ways I counter feeling despair and hopelessness at the challenges in this present age is through the work of regeneration. Ultimately, our actions help shape the future. By actively healing the earth, we are working on creating a different future for all life. And that’s a very, very good thing.

The Work of Regeneration: What can I do?
There is no right or wrong way to practice regeneration on the landscape, and each of us can practice it differently depending on where we are, what ecosystem we live in, if we have access to land (our own, others’, public lands), if there are community groups already doing this work, and so much more. So here, I’ll offer some common ways you can practice regeneration:

  1. Find a community organization that is doing regenerative work on the landscape and volunteer. These groups may include community organizations tied to local public parks, those who are doing tree planting or native habitat restoration, or those working in other conservation areas. This is a particularly good option for those who are just starting out.
  2. Get some training in permaculture design as a first step. Permaculture design focuses on using an active regenerative approach to working directly with the land, working with nature and her healing processes, and cultivating deep interaction with the living earth. One of the things that permaculture designers like to say is that we are designing for the next 1000 years! I have found that my training in Permaculture design and permaculture teaching gave me the skillset to actively regenerate my ecosystem and made me feel confident that I was working to create healing. There are now free and online options (although if you can swing it, an in-person PDC is the best). If you want to learn online, I highly recommend the courses of Heather Jo Flores.
  3. Convert your lawn into a garden, meadow, or food forest. The lawn is one of the most ecological damaged spaces we have, and they are so common that we think they are “natural”. But lawns are maintained by fossil fuels, they have very little life or space for life, and their maintenance requires consumption. By converting even a small piece of an existing lawn into something else (a garden, a rain garden, a native flower meadow, a food forest) you are welcoming life back into the space.
  4. Work to heal spaces nobody cares about. There are lots of abandoned spaces, spaces that could use some love and care. The abandoned lot next to the railroad tracks, the back yard of the abandoned house in your neighborhood, the boney dump site (this is my favorite one to visit), you name it. You can do a lot with seed scattering, planting trees, removing invasives, and so on.
  5. Develop new pockets of life in urban environments. Urban environments are no less in need of healing than other places. Creating pockets of life and healing, whether those are community gardens, food forests, and so on can be a wonderful way to bring in the work of regeneration.

This is a very small list, but hopefully, it will get you excited to start. I also have a longer post that talks through some more specific details if you are going to do regenerative work on the land in a larger way. Finally, for some examples, please see my ongoing work on regenerating our Druid’s Garden homestead here, here, and here; an example of a lawn conversion at Nature’s Harvest Organic Farm, and an urban garden here.

The Work of Regeneration: Inner Aspects and Rituals
A final aspect of the theme of regeneration is considering this in our own lives and through our own spiritual practices. What does it mean to regenerate ourselves through healing, ritual, meditation, spirit journeying, or more? Remember that we cannot be a force of good and of healing if we, ourselves, are not healed. Thus, this final section will consider how we might enact the power of regeneration in our lives through spiritual practices.

  1. Visiting healed, whole places on the landscape and doing “forest bathing” or other rituals. One of my favorite things to do is to visit a forest, take a blanket and my earthing moccasins, frolick, and then take a forest nap. Anytime you are going into nature to heal, make sure to express your gratitude and give back.
  2. Working with sacred plants. Certain plants are particularly useful to help us heal, adapt, and grow–these are called adaptogens, and they often work on our adrenal systems, helping support and renew us. There are plants that are in this category in every ecosystem. In my ecosystem, I turn to plants that I can grow like Stinging Nettle, Milky Oats, Holy Basil, and Schisandra. These plants, when consumed regularly (and grown and consumed ritually), help us more effectively adapt to stress, recover, and heal. You can work with these plants on the inner or outer planes. Consider not only sacred harvesting and medicine making with these plants but working with them on the level of spirit through doing flower essences or spirit journeys with the plants, where their deep teachings can help you heal.
  3. Engage in rituals meant to heal and restore you. Crafting personal rituals of any kind can help you heal. A regenerative ritual timed for Beltane, just as the spring is returning to the land, is a wonderful time to bring the deep energy of regeneration into your life. For me, this upcoming week, I will be exploring a new forest with a friend, taking time to breathe deeply and be in nature, and looking for new life in the landscape.

I hope this post has given you some ideas about how to frame Beltane not just in terms of fertility but in terms of regeneration! I would love to hear your thoughts about this framing and how you might celebrate Betlane this year!

PS: The new website is finally up and running and I’ll be blogging regularly again! Thanks to all of you for your patience while we migrated the site to its own new domain. While I’m sad to leave the druidgarden.wordpress.com (cause I was located there for 12 years), the new site has a lot of great capability and I’ll be able to do much more with it. I’m excited for the new look and energy of the site. I’m still updating my older posts (and will continue that work for a few more weeks). Thanks to AloeRoot web services for their help with the migration!

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The Death and Rebirth of Self

Sometimes a part of us must die, before another part can come to life.

Sometimes a part of us must die before another part can come to life. Even though this is a natural and necessary part of our growth, it is often painful or, if we don’t realize what’s happening, confusing and disorienting. In fact, confusion and disorientation are often the messengers that tell us a shift is taking place within us. These shifts happen throughout the lives of all humans, as we move from infancy to childhood to adolescence and beyond. With each transition from one phase to another, we find ourselves saying goodbye to an old friend, the identity that we formed in order to move through that particular time.

Sometimes we form these identities in relationships or jobs, and when we shift those areas of our life become unsettled. Usually, if we take the time to look into the changing surface of things, we will find that a shift is taking place within us. For example, we may go through one whole chapter of our lives creating a protective shell around ourselves because we need it in order to heal from some early trauma. One day, though, we may find ourselves feeling confined and restless, wanting to move outside the shelter we needed for so long; the new part of ourselves cannot be born within the confines of the shell our old self needed to survive.

We may feel a strange mixture of exhilaration and sadness as we say goodbye to a part of ourselves that is dying and make way for a whole new identity to emerge in its place. We may find inspiration in working with the image of an animal who molts or sheds in order to make way for new skin, fur, or feathers to emerge. For example, keeping a duck feather, or some other symbol of transformation, can remind us that death and rebirth are simply nature’s way of evolving. We can surrender to this process, letting go of our past self with great love and gratitude, and welcoming the new with an open mind and heart, ready for our next phase of life.

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Heartwings Love Notes 1032 Time to be a Friend

Heartwings says, “Friends are precious parts of our hearts.”

I was on the telephone with my youngest daughter when she mentioned how much she missed someone dear to her who had passed on. “She had time to be a friend,” she said with a sigh. I commiserated and we went on to talk of other things. Later I began to think about her words. Friends have always been important to me, and in my long life I have been fortunate to have had a great many.

There is a saying to the effect that people come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. In my years on this earth, I have had friends who fall into each of these categories. Treasured friends are those in the lifetime category, however, I still cherish the ones who come for a reason or a season for their presence in my life, and I often wonder about them and think of our time together with pleasure.

Taking the time to be a friend is a deliberate act, and it requires attention and thought. Making sure to communicate with a dear one who may have had problems or needs is important. In many ways it is gratifying because most of us like to be helpful. For most of us it is more gratifying to give than to receive. Keeping in touch just for the joy of it requires more effort. We do not always seek out joy for its own sake, nor choose it over what we believe it’s important to be doing.
Our minds may be filled up with tasks or needs; they might even be busy with fears, apprehensions, or concerns. Much of our surface mind chatter is about things we cannot control yet wish we could. Regrets are another useless item we can do without. Teachers of meditation call that part of the mind the “Monkey mind,” which seems accurate if you have seen how monkeys leap about and chatter.

Meditating is a way of learning to control the chatter that fills the mind when we are not employing it for a purpose. It helps us to become more aware of how the mind is operating, and as we become more observant of our mental chatter, we can also learn to ignore it. We can learn to redirect thoughts to, for instance, remembering those dear to us either in prayer, or simply with pleasure, generating a reminder to keep in touch one way or another.

I have a calendar of the birthdays of friends and relatives that I keep where I can see it easily. One of my New Year’s tasks is to transfer these to the new calendar. At the beginning of each month, I send e cards or actual ones to those friends. Often Stephen and I will call on the day itself and sing Happy Birthday as well. My friends are special to me, and I do enjoy taking the time to be a friend.

May you enjoy and appreciate your friendships whether long or short.

Blessings and best regards, Tasha Halpert

PS Do you have a tale to tell or thoughts to share on this or any subject? I do enjoy hearing from you, old or new friends all. Also, I do have a nice new chapbook of poetry and would be happy to share it with you. Let me know if you do and I will send details, thanks!

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Family Planning

Take time to plan, as a family unit, the qualities you want to embody and put out into the world.

Family planning generally encompasses questions about when to have our children and how to be financially prepared for the future, but it can also include questions that are more creative and visionary for your family. For example, you might consider and plan on what qualities you would most like to emphasize and develop, and which experiences you would like to place the most value on, within your family unit. One of evolution’s greatest gifts is the gift of experience, which teaches us what worked in our own families of origin and what did not. This information will be exceedingly valuable in envisioning our own family’s ethos.

Perhaps you feel that the world needs more people who are practiced and capable in the art of generosity. With this in mind, you might develop a family tradition of setting one day aside each month to give to the people around you. This could be as simple as making extra portions of a delicious soup, or many loaves of bread, and bringing them to friends and neighbors. Most children love the act of giving, and allowing them to be the ones to present the food will make them very happy. It will also give them positive memories and set a lifelong pattern of generosity. On a larger scale, you may decide that travel and education are your family priorities, and design your lifestyle to suit that philosophy by traveling extensively or living abroad. On the other hand, you may decide that putting down solid roots and building community means the most to you and your children, choosing to spend most of your energy and resources in one chosen spot.

The act of determining what you value most and how you will pass that on to your children is both empowering and creative. As your family grows and your children have ideas of their own, you can incorporate them into the process. In this way, you fulfill the additional purpose of teaching your children how to envision and create their own reality. Most of all, they will learn that life is rich with potential and that expressing their deepest values empowers them to create a life that will be of benefit to the whole world.

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The Victorian Book of the Dead
The Spiritual Telegraph

by Chris Woodward

For “Morse Code Day.”

In the early days, the dead were enthusiastic early adopters of those new-fangled technologies, the telephone and the telegraph. I’ve written of a shape-shifting boggart who called at the Cape Town telephone office to speak with a switchboard operator, of the dead Mr. Miller, who had an assistant ring up a friend who had just attended his funeral, and the Rev. Dr. Richard R. Schleusner and his Temple/Church of Modern Spiritualism, where, rather than communicate through old-fashioned rappings, the spirits spoke via wireless.

Today I’ve borrowed the title of the Spiritualist newspaper, The Spiritual Telegraph (1852-1860) to dash off a few stories of spirit communication via the telegraphic instrument. The first story is found in The Headless Horror: Strange and Ghostly Ohio Tales.

A WEIRD EXPERIENCE
A TELEGRAPHER’S REMARKABLE MESSAGE FROM A SPOOK
DOTS AND DASHES OVER AN INSTRUMENT WITH
NEITHER WIRES NOR BATTERY
A STORY TOLD BY A MAN WHOSE VERACITY IS VOUCHED FOR
A FRIGHTENED OPERATOR

One of the wildest, weirdest stories of the supernatural that has ever come under the experience of mortal man is told by R.H. Field, the Big Four telegraph operator at South Side station.

Mr. Field is a very intelligent and conscientious man, and he relates his fearful experience with a candor and earnestness that almost make one believe it in spite of its extreme improbability.

“I have been a telegraph operator for twenty-two years. I have told my story to at least a hundred people, and I have never met one yet who would believe that it was an actual fact. I know that it will be a severe test on your credulity, but my experience is Gospel truth. I want you to understand that I have never, and do not now, believe in the supernatural. I have never attended a spiritualistic séance in my life, and am rather inclined to accept the philosophy of Colonel Ingersoll.”

Mr. Field was quite reluctant about telling his story for publication, but finally consented to do so. He is an entertaining talker, and related the great event of his life with an ease that showed that he had told it before. “It was several years ago,” he began, “when I was much younger than I am now. I was assigned to night duty at a little station called Evansburg, in Pennsylvania, on the New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio railroad. I hadn’t been around the world very much, but flattered myself that I had a good deal of mechanical genius. The office was in charge of an old fogy sort of a fellow named Jones. The telegraph instrument got out of adjustment, and I knew something about repairing it. Jones suggested that I take to my home an old-fashioned relay box and fix it up.

“Glad of the opportunity to show what I could do I carried the box to my boarding house one morning and put it on a shelf in an old cupboard and went to bed intending to fix it after my sleep was over. I had been in bed but a few minutes and had not got to sleep when, to my surprise and astonishment, the armature, or what is otherwise known as the lever, on the instrument began ticking. I was perfectly amazed and thought there must be some mistake. To satisfy myself that I had not been carried away by my imagination, for the ticking was faint and subdued, I got out of bed and with fear and trembling opened the cupboard door. I took the instrument in my hand and it continued to work. I put it on the table, but the sound it made was unintelligible. I turned the spring so that there would be less resistance, and then, in as clear and perfect Morse as I ever heard, the invisible person, spirit or whatever it was wrote:

“‘Do you get me?’”

I was so overcome that I involuntarily answered, ‘Yes,’ without putting it on the instrument. The unknown heard me, for again, in the beautiful writing, it continued.

“‘Thank God, at last! My name is Charles Blake. I am an old timer. My parents, who reside in Mount Pleasant, Ia., have lost me. They don’t know what my fate has been. I want you to write to my father, Homer Blake, at Mount Pleasant, Ia., and inform him that I died at Shreveport, Tex., of yellow fever, on’–. I have forgotten the date, but it was several years prior to the date of this communication. I was frightened to death. My hair stood on end. My boarding house was two miles from the telegraph station, and there was no battery nearer than the station, and there was no telegraph wire of any kind in that vicinity. I was a little dubious about the communication, from the other world or somewhere, I will not undertake to say. Before venturing to write to Homer Blake as directed I picked up a Western Union tariff book which I had in my room to see if there was such a town as Mount Pleasant, Ia. I found that there was such a place, a fact that I did not know before, and that it was located on the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy railroad.

“To satisfy myself and not be taken in, I wrote a letter to the postmaster at Mount Pleasant and asked him if he knew of anyone in that vicinity named Homer Blake and to give me what information he could without telling him what I wanted it for. A few days later I received a reply, and I have his letter somewhere among my effects, in which he said that Homer Blake had lived in Mount Pleasant some years before, but that he had moved away, to what place he did not know. Blake, he informed me, had two sons, one of whom, Charles, was supposed to be dead, and the other was a grain merchant in the far west.”

“Did you not pursue your investigations further?”

“No, I did not. The truth is I was scared to death. I worked that wire for eighteen months. Every time I took off the relay it made the same peculiar noise and worked in a sputtering sort of a way, and to show that there must have been some hidden or occult force it crossed the other wires. Every once in a while I used to ask Jones if he heard the noise, and he laughed at me. He never believed my story, although the reply from the postmaster at Mount Pleasant somewhat staggered him. I was actually so afraid to take the relay off that my hair used to stand on end, and I never had any further communication with the hidden force that called itself Charles Blake. I shall never forget that experience as long as I live. People look so incredulous and are so apt to believe me a crank when I tell it that I never relate it any more unless I am asked to do so.”

Mr. Field lives with his wife at South Side. He is well known in this city and has the reputation of being a truthful and sensible man. There is no doubt in the world that he sincerely thinks that he was talked to on that old instrument without wire or battery, and he declares most solemnly that it could not have been a matter of fancy.

This article first appeared in the Cincinnati [OH] Enquirer, 31 July 1892: p. 17. This version appeared in the Plain Dealer [Cleveland, OH] 8 September 1892: p. 6

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Coach Gilberto Chapter 9
by Stephen Halpert

Several weeks had passed since the painting of the Parker estate had crashed to the floor of Gilberto’s office. Most of the Houndstooth chatter was now about the joining of Houndstooth boys and Tweed Hall girls and how Houndstooth might change.
Ramon came into Gilberto’s office. He smiled and then sighed. I need to talk about something.” He looked directly at Gilberto. “Maybe it’s my imagination, but Joey hasn’t been his usual enthusiastic self at practice. His mind seems to be elsewhere.”
“Happens,” Gilberto said. “Could be spring fever.” He passed Ramon a colorful bowl of chips. “Have some.”
Ramon took a handful. “Not spring fever, that’s easy. On the field he’s often lost in thought. I even called his name yesterday, and he didn’t hear me.”
“Sensitive boy,” Gilberto said. He knew how Joey’s crush had affected him. But that was short lived when Rosemary announced she was moving on to Serge Academy, where she’d be the track and swim coach.
Ramon shook his head. “He doesn’t seem to have it for soccer. He’s going through the motions, with his mind elsewhere.”
Gilberto nodded and sighed. “I’ll look into it,” he said. “How’s everything else going?” The conversation turned to other subjects and they finished the afternoon at the corner pub.
When Gilberto got home, he got them each a beer and sat on the couch with Maria. “Ramon told me Joey seems less enthusiastic about soccer this year,” he looked over at her and noticed she was smiling back at him.
“He’s been talking with me.” She nodded and Gilberto sensed she was well aware of whatever was up with Joey.
“I love how he thinks,” she smiled. “I hope with a fine mind like that he goes to law school.”
“You think?” Gilberto wondered at the change of subject. Then there was a clatter in the hall and Mona barged in.
“Daddy, can I have the roller skates I saw on line?”
“Isn’t Boris enough. Now you want roller skates.” He shook his head.
Oh daddy, if I get roller skates then me and Boris can have such fun.”
Warning shots across Gilberto’s bow: He saw Mona streaking across traffic. “No. That’s dangerous,” fear etched his words.
Mona shrugged. “That’s what you said the last time.”
“Last time?” He looked confused.
“Last time when you told her, ‘No’,” Maria said. “I heard you. You were very emphatic.”
He huffed. “And I suppose it’s all right with you for her to go roller skating?”
Maria smiled, “I loved it when I was a kid, yes.” She looked wistful as if remembering. I loved the excitement of going down the street really fast. Didn’t you roller-skate?”
He shook his head. “My father insisted I’d get hit by a car.”
Mona grinned. “Now Daddy, you can get roller skates and skate with me and Boris. Can we Mom.?”
Maria smiled. “It’s not up to me. It’s completely up to your father.”
Mona scowled at her mother. “Why?” she asked flatly.
“Because your father’s in charge of things like roller skates and pet ponies.”
Mona giggled. “Daddy, I won’t ask for roller skates any more if you get me a pet pony.”
Gilberto sighed and smiled at his daughter. “When you think about it, you know you wouldn’t want to keep a pony in your room, I assure you! They smell. Plus, hay and dirt all over your pretty rug, not to mention cleaning up the poo.”
Mona shook her head and rolled her eyes. “Oh Daddy, you know how to take away all the fun.”
“Your father is realistic,” Maria said,
Boris came in and woofed, letting her know to come back to her room and watch Animal Planet with him, so she left.
“Our daughter! Maria said. “I love the you in her. It is so touching to see.”
She sighed and sat back, taking his hand in hers. Then she said, “Joey’s been talking with me. Right now, he’s feeling very confused about LBGTQ issues.”
He raised his eyebrows. “Ramon said he’s not paying attention at practice.” She nodded. “Not much into his school work either. I know he’ll find himself. Right now, I don’t think we should interfere with his search for his identity.”
Gilberto raised his eyebrows. “What do you mean?”
“Some of his preferences may seem strange to you, to us. But they belong to him; they’re his, and as parents we must show him respect and give him space to grow and to find himself.”
Gilberto looked at her. “So, what are you getting at?”
“I don’t want us to interfere as he discovers his sexual identity. Kids today are different, Gilberto. It isn’t cut and dried, gay or straight anymore. It’s much more sensitive with so many byroads into identity.”
He shrugged. “So, I say nothing? Even if he starts wearing a dress?”
“Let him,” Maria said. “I don’t think it will come to that, but who knows where he’s going before he truly knows who he really is.” She paused and sighed. “Right now, he’s being bombarded by all sorts of feelings and desires, some of which I think well might make him feel terribly guilty.”
“Maria I won’t say anything. I hear you. And I know right now there really isn’t anything we can do.”
Maria said. “I’m grateful he trusts me enough to share his feelings with me. But I haven’t said much back to him as yet. It didn’t seem like the right time.”
He frowned and nodded. “You’re his mother.”
Maria took a breath, “And don’t be upset if he goes out for drama club instead of Fall soccer. I think their schedules conflict.”
Gilberto sighed. So far, his time at Houndstooth was turning into one frustrating disappointment after another. He wondered if God had something up his sleeve or was this Houndstooth business just one big snafu. “I guess,” he felt sadness welling up inside him. He was watching his dreams crumble, and there was nothing he could do. He sighed.
Maria smiled at him. “We need to get away together, even just for a few nights.”
He looked at her and his eyes brightened. ” A five-star hotel with a world class dining room!”
“You got it,” she said. “But let’s make it at least a week or even a little longer, somewhere we both can get pampered.”
To be continued.

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Kitty Kat’s Korner
=^..^=

6 Ways to Let Your Cat Enjoy Nature from Indoors
By Angie Bailey

No matter the season, the goings on of the great outdoors are a feast for feline senses. Even kitties who primarily live indoors find plenty to see, smell and experience if we give them inviting opportunities. Here are six suggestions — read on, humans!

Open windows (with screens)
In any climate, it’s possible to open a window at some point during the year and allow fresh air to breeze through the screen. Kitties are major fans of open windows, as they provide endless stimulation from the world outside their food dish, catnip toys and litter box. Did you know that cats have 200 million scent receptors in their nasal cavity? Not only can they smell the barbecue currently happening next door but can also sense if that freeloading raccoon’s been midnight snacking out of your garbage can — again.

Build a catio
Why not build your cat an entire catio so he can lounge within the safety of a contained patio area attached to your home? There are a variety of catio planning ideas online, or search for smaller, mobile models. Your fabulous feline could pretend the catio is his own private lanai and he’s on vacation 24/7. He’d want you to bring him treats and toys like a personal attendant at a fancy resort. Wait, how is that different than their thoughts without a catio?

Add tall climbing structures and scratching posts
Outdoors, cats love to climb trees and sharpen their fierce claws on the bark. To give kitty a similar indoor experience, provide tall cat towers, shelves and scratching posts, and let ‘em go to town! Many kitties especially love the model that shows up in some houses around the holidays. We humans refer to it as a “Christmas tree.”

Grow cat grass
Most cats are naturally attracted to the taste of fresh grass, and you can offer them an indoor planter of the yummy stuff. Look for a variety of cat grass kits in your local pet stores or online shops. Those smarty cats instinctively know that cat grass will make them throw up hairballs or help move their digestion along like a laxative. They also instinctively know to direct their hacked-up hairballs into your shoe, onto your new rug or all over your laptop’s keyboard.

Take a stroll
Bring the indoors outdoors and give kitty the best of both worlds! If your cat’s adventurous, perhaps he’d enjoy a stroll around the neighborhood in the comfort and safety of a screened pet stroller. He’d relax, enjoy the view, sniff the air and allow the neighbors to admire him. Plus, nothing says “this human is my servant” like an enclosed, rolling cat chariot.

Add an indoor perch
A cat could catch up on his favorite Cat TV shows whether a window is open or closed. Place a perch or cat tower next to a window with a clear view of action-packed trees or feeders, and kitty suddenly has a front row seat to Say Yes to the Nest, Real Mousewives and Gossip Squirrel. And no commercials!

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Georgia Nicols’ Weekly Horoscope:
Sunday, May 01, 2022

All Signs
This week powerful planets are linked with each other. (Jupiter with Pluto, Mars with Uranus and then, the Sun with Uranus and Mars.) The upshot of this explosive energy will trigger an exciting, liberating effect on everyone. It’s as if we can take flight and push our limits to achieve great heights and accomplishments. (I’m going to get dressed.) It’s true that success is about hard work, but there is a lot to be said for timing. This week, it’s time to go for baroque! Whether you’re involved with creative or practical work, you will see that vision and execution will blend harmoniously. Don’t sit this one out. Figure out what you want and make it happen. If not now – when? You will never again be as young as you are today!

Aries (March 21-April 19)
Something exciting that is going on behind the scenes will have bold and thrilling ramifications for you. Although it might resonate with you in a personal, even spiritual way, there’s a strong likelihood that the ultimate benefit for you will be financial or some kind of sudden practical benefit. The upshot of all this energy is that your confidence will increase this week! This is because you believe in yourself and your future possibilities. You are always capable and ready to begin something new. But now you will have the kind of confidence that is produced by a recognition of the way things work. Hmmm.

Taurus (April 20-May 20)
Naturally, this is a powerful time for you because the Sun is in your sign until Friday May 20, and this happens only once a year. (Happy birthday!) This is one reason you have a surge of popularity this week. Friends and members of groups will reach out to you because you seem to be in the right place, at the right time, saying the right thing to the right person. (Is it really that simple?) Whatever the case, you will be an influencer this week. You will have a sudden and unexpected opportunity to initiate something and kick things into action! Others will support you – you can count on this. However, please know that if what you do benefits society; i.e. beyond yourself, then what you achieve could be remarkable!

Gemini (May 21-June 20)
You will be able to achieve a gargantuan amount this week simply because you are motivated and your ambition is aroused. Quite possibly, something sudden and unexpected will kick you into action. When this happens, as the famous quote goes, “the moment one commits oneself, then Providence moves too, and all sorts of things occur to help one that would never have otherwise have occurred.” Trust me. Not only will you initiate something to make things happen, but the world will support you right now because lucky Jupiter is at the top of your chart – a blessing that happens only once every 12 years. In other words, you’re ready and in position!

Cancer (June 21-July 22)
This is a popular time for you! It’s also an exciting time because so many things are happening that are giving you a chance to expand your world either through travel or learning new things. The result is an experience that is uplifting, even mind blowing. This week, once again, expect a sudden opportunity to travel or learn something new that expands your world. You see now that this is more long-lasting, perhaps a newfound knowledge that is religious, philosophical or even political. Whatever it is – it will change your way of looking at life. You feel worldly, optimistic and confident because you’re pleased at how well your life is working out.

Leo (July 23-Aug. 22)
You look grand to everyone because the Sun is at the top of your chart casting you in a flattering spotlight. (This happens for four weeks every year.) The miraculous benefit of this flattering light is people (especially bosses and VIPs) will admire you even if you don’t do anything special! (Go figure.) Meanwhile, this week, you will benefit from the wealth and resources of others. You might inherit. Someone might do you a great favour. You might get richer indirectly through your partner. Whatever happens will benefit you. Some, at a subtle level will experience a spiritual or religious regeneration. (Yes, this sounds heady but it’s true.) Some aspects of this great boon might occur suddenly due to some kind of provocation. Get ready!

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22)
This is a most curious week for you because in one way, you might be provoked by a partner or close friend. Whatever happens will be sudden and unexpected. Nevertheless, the way that you will receive a magnification of good fortune will be related to your closest relationships. (How curious.) This means partnerships and close friendships will become an edifying experience for you. You will feel you are a better person for knowing this individual or having them in your life. As a byproduct of this influence, you might suddenly travel or have a chance to explore opportunities in higher education, medicine, the law, publishing and the media. So many exciting possibilities!

Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22)
This is a wonderful week for you because you have a chance to improve your health in a major way. Quite literally, you might be rejuvenated or replenished in some way almost by magic. This same magical influence will also allow you to improve your job. Suddenly, certain aspects of your job that you didn’t like might be stripped away and now, you’re laughing and happy with the result. For some, this might be a chance to get a completely different job – something better! Naturally, this will spur you to action. It might even bring you a benefit through a partner or a third party. You might get a bigger budget or better equipment or help from another source. It’s all good!

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21)
You will luck out from some magical happenings this week. Some will feel blessed through their children or the birth of a child. Others will feel life is joyful because romance is thrilling! Many of you will feel regenerated through something related to sports, while others will make creative changes and feel that their involvement in the arts, the entertainment world or the hospitality industry will give them greater freedom and more confidence. These things will happen spontaneously; however, if you can channel this energy to benefit others as well as yourself, then everyone will benefit even more so, especially you! An exciting change with a partner or close friend will elevate your world.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 21)
Expect wonderful benefits this week to your health, your job and most definitely, to your home and family. Something related to your personal life and probably related to where you live or your dealings with a family member will be extraordinary. Whatever happens will make you feel fortunate about where you live or who you live with. You will feel the benefit of this connection, and if you can boost this good fortune to benefit others as well, your benefit will be greater. For some, it might mean the sale of property and a sudden influx of wealth. Whatever happens will be exciting and will increase your confidence and reinforce that you were right to “dream big.”

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 19)
This is a lovely, playful, fun-loving time! Look for ways to express your creativity. Enjoy the company of children who will no doubt enjoy your company this week because you radiate magnificent optimism. People will want to be in your presence just to be encouraged about life. Expect to come to some kind of higher truth as well as an appreciation of how you can streamline your daily world and live easier and better! (Who knew?) It will please you to make where you live look and feel more attractive. Get up each day to welcome good things and be ready for sudden and unexpected changes to take place – because they will. Fear not, you will go with the flow.

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 18)
Even though your strong focus now is on home, family and your private life, this week unexpected changes will create some added thrills. You might suddenly earn more money or find a better paying job. You might buy something for yourself that makes you feel rich. At a deeper level, you might revise your attitude about what you need in terms of money, wealth and belongings. This more enlightened view will actually make things easier for yourself. You see that we are wooed to succumb to impulses that make us acquire more than we need, the result of which we are prisoners of our wealth.

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20)
This is the perfect time to make marvellous, creative changes in your life, and especially in your daily world and your environment. You will find it surprisingly easy to reform, improve or remove old things around you. Make this effort now because things will shift and fall in place and the result will be something better! Guaranteed. Believe in your ability to do this because fiery Mars is in your sign giving you the energy, drive and ambition to act; plus lucky Jupiter is in your sign giving you divine protection and good fortune. Meanwhile this week in particular, Pluto’s dance with Jupiter gives you the ability to reshape and improve your world. (Time to buy some fun, summer shoes?)

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Weekly Horoscopes beginning Sunday, 01 May 2022

If you’re born within a cusp period (16 to 26 of any month); you’re advised to read horoscopes of both signs covered by that period. You’re on the border; you may have influences from houses within those signs.

Outlines are longer versions; consist of every possible detail of everyday and are based on three parts of each sign: 1st, 2nd & 3rd Decan; that is, any of three divisions of 10° within a sign of the zodiac. Even if you know or don’t know your Decan; I recommend, please read all three Decan.


Aries
Personal theme: I am!!
Fire & cardinal sign: March 21 — April 19

Your horoscope for this week:

On 15 April, your ruler Mars moved into the most strategic portion of your chart. This shifted the focus to certain matters that, thus far, you’ve managed to avoid. Since then, you’ve dealt with many and learnt far more than you anticipated. While what you’re facing isn’t exciting, the information and insights are important now and could prove crucial when exciting offers arise midmonth.

An acceleration in career related projects will have a big impact on your home life. With less time to give to your family someone will start making complaints. Change is in the air but the situation needs to be considered as a whole before you take up a long-term proposal, if indeed you do. Contentment will come from getting away to quiet places. Spending time in nature and exploring quiet interests that are new to you will feel therapeutic.

Words matter. It would be all too easy for apparently constructive debate to turn into legal battle and so imperative not to speak before you’ve though through consequences. Keep notes and look out for warning signs. Remember, yours is a sign that likes to show independence and courage. As Venus enters Aries on Tuesday, the temptation to display that – through quick summary (sharp words) will surely be very, very great. However, this could compromise a relationship. Keeping someone in the loop is likely imperative. On the very considerable upside however, one of your creative ideas looks set to take off and in a big way. Your entrepreneurial spirit should surface with ease. It’s not hard to imagine you breaking new career ground and established as team leader.


Taurus
Personal theme: I have!!
Earth & fixed sign: April 20 — May 20

Your horoscope for this week:

Certain changes are overdue. The question? How best to tackle them? The events triggered by the Taurus eclipsed New Moon on 30 April, suggest destiny will take a hand. It’s about dealing with what’s going and, equally, what’s next. The challenge? It’s standing back and allowing events to unfold, day by day. Some will be a surprise, others a delight; but, as you’ll discover, all are timely.

A colleague will try to push their ideas onto you but you can see flaws. You wonder how they can expect you to swallow their rubbish especially when other people have already raised objections. You may have had a good relationship with each other so far but there is no way anyone can talk you into agreeing with their unrealistic plans. Don’t take any chances when travelling. Double check timetables when using public transport.

For the last couple of years Uranus has been moving through your sign and your need to do things differently and to be in charge rather than be a follower has increased and increased. Boosted now by the Solar Eclipse in your sign on the last day of April, there is fresh impetus to get your act together and to take on increased responsibility. You probably know that this will bring super hard work for the next couple of weeks at least – but that it will pay off in the long run. Joining up with a neighbour or colleague to space clear is probable too. More important is ensuring that by Friday you’ve taken on the reins of a project and are doing things your way.


Gemini
Personal theme: I think!!
Air sign: May 21 — June 20

Your horoscope for this week:

You’re inquisitive by nature; but at the moment, you’re wrestling with questions that aren’t easy to answer. However, with your ruler Mercury positioned in Gemini and retrograde, or in reverse motion, from Tuesday the 10th, the resulting twists and turns are bound to be informative. The secret, then, is to list those questions now, knowing events are likely to answer them, often in unexpected ways.

Beliefs you grew up with, then discarded as a teenager as being old fashioned or not for you, will come back to your mind. Don’t be reluctant to talk these over with someone who will understand the confusion you are now going through. Something secretive is going on that will cause discord in a close relationship. Sometimes it might feel as if you and your partner or a housemate are speaking a different language. Family relationships especially will need some extra attention.

Be careful with your words. They could come back to haunt you. Fact is that your expertise will be challenged. You could be knocked off your perch by someone younger – but only if you are too careless and don’t tune in to the need to learn new techniques and to do things differently. This should be an exciting time. As Venus crosses the World Axis at the start of the week, there’s high probability of you being asked to join a team for an event that would either be a salvage operation or honour a time lost (a memorial perhaps?). This week might also be an appropriate time to review long-term arrangements and redefine career aims and objectives. Ahead of your birthday, this should be considered a strategic move.


Cancer
Personal theme: I feel!!
Water & cardinal sign: June 21 — July 22

Your horoscope for this week:

While you and everybody else are struggling with the confusion triggered by eclipses, on 30 April and in mid-May, your instincts say to take it slowly. The current disarray will lead to changes, some long overdue, in both life’s practicalities and in close alliances, personal and more worldly. The trick? For now, focus on what you can learn each day. The answers will appear, but gradually.

Emotions are up and down when some situations in your life are unpredictable. You long for security and predictability but you’re finding this difficult to achieve. A release from some heavy responsibilities will come when you are offered a chance to travel. Allow someone you can trust to take over some of your commitments. Developments at home are changing daily. Even if you aren’t there in person, you can count on an older relative to keep you informed of what is going on.

While others shy away from responsibilities but it’s unlikely that you do. Venus’ arrival at the apex of your solar chart (3rd) suggests an ‘up-and-at-’em’ approach and the formation of an alliance that lasts two decades or more. This, likely unique arrangement should bring both parties reward. Yes, you may need to learn more about another language or make friends with initial alien technical equipment (perhaps that’s the alliance). What seems clear is that by the time that the Moon reaches your sign on Thursday, you will embark on an altered career route requiring greater networking and involvement with those who are considered exceptional in their field.


Leo
Personal theme: I will!!
Fire & fixed sign: July 23 — August 22

Your horoscope for this week:

For ages you’ve battled unwelcome changes in elements of your work or lifestyle. However, with the current pair of eclipses, on 30 April and 16 May, triggering shakeups, things can remain the same. Within a short time, you’ll recognise just how worthwhile even sudden changes are. In fact, you’ll soon begin exploring further. Better yet, these will force you to declutter elements of your life.

Keep emotions under control in interviews and business meetings. Financial negotiations will go well providing you don’t allow your thoughts to wander. You don’t want to miss important information that needs to be considered before making big decisions. Keep your focus on the business at hand. It won’t be easy to make an important choice. It can help to view your life in a more objective way by taking yourself away from all that is going on for a short while.

For exactly how long have you known that you need to take your career off in fresh direction? And what’s really been holding you back? Clinging on to old ways of working is not possible. True, you could drag this dilemma out through until the end of 2022. It would appear though those opportunities will present at the start of this week. Seize them: or at least open negotiations. By the time that the Sun aligns with Uranus on Friday, you could have more than one iron in the fire. Yes, property matters might still be involved. Certainly, ownership at some level appears to be; and yes, it’s likely you’ll be working and listening to people who work in areas very different to your own. All this should be exciting.


Virgo
Personal theme: I analyse!!
Earth sign: August 23 — September 22

Your horoscope for this week:

Nobody enjoys discussing ways to improve on existing arrangements or intriguing ideas for the future more than you. However, with so much in transition, turning the resulting ideas into plans is challenging. The secret? Regard both existing arrangements and future plans as more of an experiment than anything lasting. That approach will bring out the bold side of your nature. Your activities will surprise and delight you.

The start of the week is a good time for anything requiring close concentration. You will prefer mental work than anything demanding physical effort. Someone will remind you of something you haven’t yet got around to. Get this over with now while it is on your mind and before you forget about it again. You will want to keep new job developments under your hat as you are determined a rival will not get to hear of these and spoil things for you.

A major aspect between Jupiter (presently passing through your opposite sign) and Pluto, the planet of wealth occurs this week. Obviously, this affects all signs but some more than others. There is every likelihood that someone you’re working with is embarking on a new venture and would benefit from your expertise. This is not the time to be reticent. You arguably should push for recognition. Boosted by the recent solar eclipse, international relations and alliances with those who live and work in areas very different to your own should gather momentum. Though the clouds of the past and responsibilities of clearing things up might still weigh heavily, there should be sufficient signs of new growth to give you the feeling that you are moving in encouraging fresh direction.


Libra
Personal theme: I balance!!
Air & cardinal sign: September 23 — October 22

Your horoscope for this week:

Although the Libra Full Moon was on 16 April, you’re still dealing with unanswered questions and the concerns raised, but not resolved. Living with this is challenging, especially because you thrive on harmony. However, with changes in the world around you triggering uncertainty in the lives of others, even the simplest of arrangements should be regarded as an experiment, more than anything lasting.

A legal or financial dispute is starting to get you down. It has been going on for too long and you’re growing weary with it all. You’re almost tempted to give up on this altogether but it might be worth looking for a way to settle outside official channels. In all important business, keep those who are involved, fully informed of new developments. Fresh air and long walks can help blow away those metal cobwebs.

Don’t be alarmed but anticipate coping with a rollercoaster joint partnership ride. There is much you to think about and upheaval more likely than not. You will be challenged to think differently. Remember, yours is a sign that values partnership. Presently it seems that you need to take charge not just of your own affairs, but those of others. Responsibilities could weigh heavily; and yet: recall that since the global financial crisis and Pluto’s entry into Capricorn, you’ve already dealt with many major issues. You now have experience and as early as this coming Friday could show others that you mean business and will rebuild (if that’s necessary) to move forward.


Scorpio & Ophiuchus
Personal theme: I desire!!
Water & fixed signs: October 23 — November 21

Your horoscope for this week:

You’re in the midst of a period of exciting but unsettling breakthroughs. Knowing that, you’ll regard surprises as a golden opportunity to explore. The current pair of eclipses, on 30 April and, especially, the Scorpio eclipsed Full Moon on 16 May, mark turning points. Tempting as it is to micromanage events, you’re better off avoiding far-reaching decisions until the dust settles, in about three weeks’ time.

If you stay for too long within the same four walls, same office or same environment, you could start feeling claustrophobic. There’s a strong need to get away from what’s familiar and a longing for wide open spaces. A personal matter that has not been resolved will prey on your mind. You aren’t normally a one to brood but you feel torn between two very difficult choices. Other people can manage without you if there are things you need to do on your own.

These are early days, but it’s very likely you’ll have to cope with others announcing altered career direction and plans to start up their own business. Don’t be surprised if they ask you to join their team. You though might wish a more equitable arrangement. Partnership and alliance might suit you better. With Mercury slowly approaching its retrograde station, you might also wish to ask the time to consider options. The process could leave you in fractionally emotional state particularly over Thursday and Friday. Take care that you don’t unintentionally self-sabotage by appearing not be interested: rather make clear that you simply want time to consider a proposal and to share in its development.


Sagittarius
Personal theme: I see!!
Fire sign: November 22 — December 21

Your horoscope for this week:

While you’re by no means a control freak, you’ve struggled to avoid certain changes you regard as unfair, if not seriously restrictive. Ironically, judging by the period between now and the pivotal Sagittarius Full Moon, in mid-June, what you’re currently dreading are breakthroughs, but in disguise. If you can’t say an enthusiastic yes to what’s currently coming your way, just don’t say an uncompromising no.

Even if it means changing your usual routine, you will do this to deal with sudden business or family demands. You will listen to what other people have to say but, in the end, you will make decisions based on how you see the situation. If someone doesn’t like it, this won’t matter to you. You will get on with what you have to do and let people assume what they like. Your choice will be to press ahead with important matters while the going is good. If there is a goal you have in mind, you will stay with it until happy with the results.

Not for the first time your daily routine seems subject to quick change. Following on from Saturday’s Solar Eclipse, as the Moon moves through your opposite sign between Monday and Wednesday, it should be clear that others need you to both alter the pace and strategy. Of course, it may be that this can’t be agreed or implemented full just yet. A trial period might also be suggested. This week seems to be about preparation and coping with unexpected potentially delightful curveballs. The possibility of an Aries entering your life mid-week, – and bringing with them optimism and confidence, should make real and positive difference to your routine.


Capricorn
Personal theme: I use!!
Earth & cardinal sign: December 22 — January 19

Your horoscope for this week:

You’re in no mood to allow events to unfold. What’s more, you’re short of facts. However, your instincts are correct. You’re unlikely to know more until mid-May. Even then, with the foundation on which plans are based shifting, you’re wary of committing. The trick? Do something out of character and plunge in, despite that lack of reliable information. You’ll be amazed how well things work out.

A partner or close friend is moody. This leaves you wondering whether you have done something to upset them. If you can look back on the past few weeks and know you haven’t acted any differently than normal when with them, you will know it isn’t you who is causing the problem. Either encourage them to talk or leave them to deal with an emotional issue on their own. You may need to be particularly caring, considerate and kind to avoid misunderstandings in the home.

Venus reaches the base of your solar chart and crosses the world, Axis. This is just the start of a likely super busy month when you re-establish yourself as a leader and key team player. This should be exciting and yes, promises perhaps unexpected reward. Be prepared to be surprised by Thursday and most likely by the antics of a close friend or colleague who chooses a path you would not have expected. This though could endear them to you. It might also require that over the weekend you discuss ways in which you could better integrate your working lives. Given that Mercury turns retrograde next week, might be as well to plan for a trial period. What seems likely is that by next Friday, you’ll agree that you’ve turned a fresh career page.


Aquarius
Personal theme: I know!!
Air & fixed sign: January 20 — February 18

Your horoscope for this week:

For ages you’ve been seeking ways to alter, if not break away, from certain increasingly restrictive arrangements. Now, suddenly, opportunities are appearing, but you’re unsure they’re wise. The secret? Plunge in, knowing these efforts are an experiment, and not meant to be lasting; and although you’re not feeling that way, be patient. Each day, and each step you take, will clarify what’s next.

Your thoughts will turn to family and domestic concerns. Don’t let others in your household talk you into helping with a project that takes a lot of time, energy and money. You would do best if you pull out of such dealings before things go any further. Two people who are close to you can’t seem to see eye to eye. Happily, it will be easy to encourage others to find a compromise especially if you suggest everyone simply sleeps on the situation.

Venus’ arrival at the word axis, is just the first of two such crossings to take place in May. Venus is the planet of partnerships; and yes certainly, you need to know who you can happily work and play with. It may be necessary to open discussions early this week as to which ventures you will invest time and energy in and with whom. With the sun aligning with one of your ruling planets, your Ennis on Thursday, you could yet take a few people by surprise. What’s so very interesting, is that Aquarius often needs to be a rebel and to have something to fight against before they find direction. It may be that you almost look for a war on Tuesday so that you determine your direction before the end of the week. Career wise, this could be a turning point.


Pisces
Personal theme: I believe!!
Water sign: February 19 — March 20

Your horoscope for this week:

Every once in a while, a combination of the uncertain mood and unsettling events casts a shadow over plan that, only recently, seemed ideal. They were, at the time; but with the current pair of eclipses, on 30 April and 16 May, triggering shakeups, even the simplest of arrangements are likely to change, and change again. The secret? Go with the flow.

News of an insurance pay out; a loan or mortgage application will boost your spirits. The future now holds many positive and promising possibilities. A family heirloom will be passed down and this will inspire you to want to find out more about your ancestors. Recent social developments will lead to a number of changes. As the week ends you will be like a cat on a hot tin roof as you wait to hear the results of an interview, test or audition.

Venus leaves your sign by Tuesday but Mars doesn’t leave until later in the month. In the intervening period, you may find that others want to push you in directions which they believe to be exciting and beneficial. Your resistance would be wholly understandable particularly if that requires moving items around. You may not be quite ready for this. Yet by Thursday it should be obvious that unless you do make some concessions, others will have things all their way. It would be wise not to become overly emotional and instead, perhaps accept advice from those who know you well and who understand have threatened you may feel presently by the changes being thrust on you.

~CelestialPrognostication

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By GrannyMoon Posted in Pagan

GrannyMoons Weekly Feast: 24 Apr 2022

He who avoids complaint invites happiness. ~Abu Bakr

Blessed Be My Little Witch! To those who came before and those who will come after, know that the Goddess is with you always. Thank you all my dear readers…be blessed. ~GrannyMoon

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Dark Moon – Time to Rest
New Moon – Time to Begin New Projects; Birth; Attraction
Waxing Moon – Time to Grow; Increase
Full Moon – Time to be Fulfilled; Abundance
Waning Moon – Time to Banish; Decrease
Last Sliver of Moon – Time to Die; Letting Go
Dark Moon – Time to Rest Again
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Light A Candle Today!
In many different traditions lighting a candle is a sacred action. It expresses more than words can express. It has to do with gratefulness. From time immemorial, people have lit candles in sacred places. You may want to begin or end your day by the sacred ritual of lighting a candle on this gratefulness. Or you may want to light a birthday candle for a friend. One single guideline is all you need: Slow down and do it with full attention.

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Current Moon Phase: WANING MOON

Time: From Full Moon To Dark Moon (approx.14 days)

Goddess Aspect: Crone

Associated Goddesses: Callieach, Banshee, Hecate, Kali, Morrigan

Magickal Attributes: Banishing, Releasing the old, removing unwanted negative energies, wisdom, psychic ability, scrying, reversing circumstances. Workings on this day are for banishing magick, for ridding oneself of addictions, illness, or negativity, and physical and psychic cleansings.

Celtic Tree Calendar Month ~ April 15 To May 12 ~ Willow
Willow is a very magical month, great for drawing down the moon and love spells.

Herb of the Year for 2022: Viola (violet, heartsease) named by the International Herb Association

Flower of the Month for April: Daisy

April is Native Plant Month

April is National Poetry Month

April is National Brunch Month

Goddess Month of Maia runs from 4/18 – 5/15

What’s Happening in April!?!

April 25: National Zucchini Bread Day. (Nice, but in April? Doesn’t this belong in July, when zukes are coming out our ears?)

April 28: Maryland was admitted to the Union on this day in 1788. Its state flower: the black-eyed Susan.

April 29: On this day in 1796, Amelia Simmons’ American Cookery was published. It was the first cookbook by an American author.

April 28–MAY 3: FLORALIA
This holiday celebrates Floralia, the Goddess of Spring Flowers And Vegetation.

April 30: Walpurgisnacht – Norse/Germanic Celebration of Spring

April 30: New Moon and Solar Eclipse

MAY
May 1: BELTANE – Beltane is a Celtic/Gaelic festival which celebrates spring.

May 1: Samain – Southern Hemisphere.

May 1: Virginia Psychic Fair, Falls Church, VA. For info go to https://va-psychic-fair-2022.eventbrite.com

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GrannyMoon’s Face to Face Classes

The Order of the Black Hat – April 30 – 7 PM – 9PM

Face to Face Class: 1 PM – 3 PM ~ WitchCrafting – May 1st
Reiki I and II: 3 PM – 5 PM
Face to Face Class: 1 PM – 3 PM ~ The Herbal Cauldron – May 8
Face to Face Class: Noon – 2:00 PM ~ The Magick of Crystals – May 15
Reiki III and Advanced: 1 PM – 3 PM – May 22
Black Hat – May 28 – 7 PM – 9PM

Join us at https://www.meetup.com/Witchy-Wednesdays/
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High Priestess Training with GrannyMoon
http://GoddessSchool.com

The entire course takes 15 months to complete (four levels). Tuition covers lessons, assignments and instructor feedback. In addition, students may download guided meditation exercises and be eligible for Sabbats, Esbats, and retreats with the Sisterhood. The entire fee for each level is $120 (payment plan available), with sixteen lessons in each level, except the last.

Ceremonial Cords and frame-able Completion Certificates are awarded as members complete each level.
Level I – Initiate of the Sisters of the Burning Branch – White cord
Level II – Adept of the Sisters of the Burning Branch- Red cord
Level III – Priestess of the Sisters of the Burning Branch- Black cord
Level IV – High Priestess of the Sisters of the Burning Branch – Green cord

You Might Also Be Interested In:
http://goddessschool.com/Paganstudies/index.html
http://www.goddessschool.com/courses/natural/naturalwitch.html
http://goddessschool.com/Paganstudies/healingarts.html

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Learn About Herbs with GrannyMoon!

There is so much to learn about herbs! In Herbalism 101, we cover 21 herbs, and you will start your own personal Materia Medica, that we will build throughout the next levels. We will cover the basic aspects of herbs. From culinary to magickal, medicinal to ornamental. As well as the many modalities of herbs!

During this course, in addition to the online lessons and hands-on projects that you do at home, I will be sending you articles, and information, as well as questions about your own personal use and research.

I look forward to walking this green journey with you! I love herbs and I hope that you do too or will learn to!

There are 10 lessons in each level and there is no time limit for completion. You may study at your own pace! There are no texts to purchase.

For more info or to join my class, click here!
http://goddessschool.com/Paganstudies/healingarts.html

The cost for Level 1 is $50.00 or $150.00 for the entire Healing Arts Course (1-3) which includes a free Reiki certification course when all three are ordered at the same time!
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Earth Signs and Omens in Nature Course

Learn to read the mysteries of nature! The course covers signs and omens, communication, seasonal rites, trees and shrubs, flowers, plants and weeds, herbs, plant magick, the Guardians of Nature, and much more.
http://goddessschool.com/courses/earthsigns/index.html

GrannyMoonsMail@yahoo.com

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The Goddess School Grimoire

http://www.lulu.com/shop/sotbb-Goddess-school/the-Goddess-school-grimoire/hardcover/product-762380.html
Hardcover: $39.45
Softback: $26.95
eBook (PDF): $6.25

The Goddess School Grimoire is a collection of recipes, artwork, poetry, prose, prayers, rituals, spells, and practical Goddess wisdom put together by the teachers, students, alumni, and friends of The Sisters of the Burning Branch Goddess School. The sisterhood is dedicated to restoring spiritual balance by returning the Divine Feminine to her rightful place and by assisting women in their personal and spiritual development. Since being founded by Head and High Mother Priestess Grandmother Moon in 2000, The Goddess School (GoddessSchool.com) has grown into a large and beautiful global community of women.

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Join Our Cat Community on Twitter! The Cat Philosophers! Must Love Cats!
https://twitter.com/i/communities/1508878853783048194

Three Rules

  1. Be kind and respectful.
  2. Keep Tweets on topic.
  3. Explore and share.

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Sea Magic: Part 2 April 30, 2022 2pm to 4pm

Location: Sticks and Stones

Are you fascinated by the ocean?
Do you feel drawn to the sea?

Join me in a two-hour course that explores your individual connection to her! After connecting to the sea through Ocean breathes and a short guided meditation, collaborate and learn alongside others as we create our own Ninefold Sea Blessing and enchant our own sea charms.

Materials provided:
interactive notebook, sea water, beach sand, all items needed to create your own enchanted charm bag.

Please bring:
an open heart, open mind, and willingness to share and collaborate.

Instructor: Ember Moon
Cost: $30

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Coventry Creations
Astro Magic Forecast for April 25, 2022 – May 1, 2022

The final week of April begins with the Moon moving through emotionally sensitive Pisces.

On Monday, you may have trouble controlling your emotional responses to the people around you with the Moon conjoined Mars. Try to be proactive rather than reactive. The energy shifts dramatically on Tuesday as the Moon forms a lovely sextile to Uranus. You will be bored with your daily activities and crave a little excitement in your life. You can easily resolve this by shaking things up and doing something you normally wouldn’t do.

During the middle of the week, Mercury sextiles lucky Jupiter. Mercury-Jupiter is an incredible combination for business and commerce. If you need to finalize a deal or sign documents, today would be the best day to do it. Also, Venus conjoins Neptune, and love is in the air. Wednesday and Thursday are perfect evenings for a date night.

Finally, besides the solar eclipse that occurs in Taurus, Venus conjoins Jupiter in Pisces. You should be in a positive frame of mind, and you will find that relationship matters flow smoothly. Venus Jupiter is great for attracting money and is considered a lucky combination. However, if you go shopping or decide to splurge, try not to get too crazy, because Venus-Jupiter can be excessive.

Recommended: Jupiter (Astro Magic), Prosperity (Blessed Herbal), Road Opener (Motor City Hoodoo)

Here’s what you missed on CoventryCreations.com this week…

Living the Dream Spell – April 2022 Witches Union Spell Card

Dust off those dreams, take a good look at them and decide if they are worthy of a little magic to make them alive and well in your life. If not, rewrite them to fit in with your new vision of your future because it’s time to live the dream you want for yourself.

Solar Eclipse & New Moon in Taurus on April 30, 2022

This is not the time for manifesting with magic. This energy is wild and hard to manage. With Taurus, the ruler of money, resources, possessions, physical pleasures, and sensuality use this time to pamper yourself.

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Llewellyn’s Spell A Day

A Spell for St. Mark’s Eve
APRIL 24, 2022 BY NATALIE ZAMAN

Who shall be your partner in life?
Maybe a husband, maybe a wife?
Tonight is the eve of good St. Mark,
So wait until it’s good and dark.
Then light and burn a candle bright,
And hold a cloth up to the light.
In its threads, thy shall behold
Thy true love’s face in flames foretold.
A warning though that thou must heed:
Bring the cloth not too near the flame,
Lest the thing should catch afire
And burn away love and desire!
Is this legend or is this spell?
Try! It’s the only way to tell.
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Cleansing with Bitter Herbs
APRIL 23, 2022 BY DEBORAH BLAKE

Today is the last day of Passover, an important holiday in the Jewish religion. Passover celebrates the freeing of the Jews from slavery and is observed in a number of different ways. The best known of these is a meal called the Seder, which features many specific foods with symbolic meanings. This includes the eating of bitter herbs, including horseradish, endive, or romaine lettuce.

There are many different kinds of slavery, including addictions, bad relationships, and destructive habits. To symbolize your intention to free yourself from anything that enslaves you, chew on some bitter herbs and say:

I give up the bitter and
embrace the sweet,
Freeing myself from all
forms of enslavement
And allowing my spirit
to expand and grow.

Then follow this up by eating something sweet.
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Earth Day
APRIL 22, 2022 BY STEPHANIE ROSE BIRD

Today is Earth Day, the holiday we have set aside to honor our planet and Gaia, the Greek goddess who embodies abundance, nurturing ability, strength, and even destruction. So that you can always have a personalized Gaia around for your home, hearth, or altar, let’s make a figurine of her.

You will need:

  • 4 cups flour
  • 1 cup iodized salt
  • 1 3/4 cup warm water
  • Optional: acrylic paints, water, and brushes

Thinking of the importance of this day and the goddess Gaia, pour the flour into a bowl, followed by the salt, and mix with a wooden spoon. Add water and blend with the spoon. Turn out on a floured table and knead for fifteen to twenty minutes.

Focus as you form Gaia’s image. Create with intent and love. When your figurine is completely dry, begin using it, or paint it if you wish.
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The Art of Bibliomancy
APRIL 21, 2022 BY LAURA TEMPEST ZAKROFF

It’s National Library Week, the perfect time for a little bibliomancy! Bibliomancy is the art of divining the future or receiving spirit-directed guidance from a book. This method is pretty simple, but it’s surprisingly effective—often serving up just the right information for the moment.

Some folks use a Bible, but I prefer to run my fingers down a bookshelf with my eyes closed and pull at whatever book catches or gives a little vibe. You could also use a favorite book of poems, lore, or other text that means something to you.

From there, I will either let the book fall open, if it’s a hardcover, or fan the pages with my fingers, if it’s a softcover, opening where it stops. Wherever my eyes fall first is the passage to read, but other people like to draw their finger down the page and stop where they feel is right. What you find and read will be a message of inspiration for you.
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Herbal Communion
APRIL 20, 2022 BY ASTREA TAYLOR

All kinds of herbs have their place in witchcraft. Herbs are often used because their spirits are potent and they like to help with magical applications. This spell creates a spiritual connection with an herb. It’s best performed on an empty stomach.

All you need for this spell is an herb. Fresh herbs are better, but dried herbs will do as well. Any herb can be used as long as it’s not poisonous. If you don’t know where to start, try basil, dill, or thyme.

Hold the herb gently in your left palm and say:

Helpful spirit, herbal one,
Share with me your true wisdom.

Start to converse with the herb’s energy. Take a whiff of it, and connect with the aromatics. Take a bite and revel in the taste.

How does the herb make you feel? What messages does the herb’s spirit have for you? Explore these questions in your Book of Shadows, and use the answers in your magic.
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Magickal Prayer Stones
APRIL 19, 2022 BY RAVEN DIGITALIS

Let’s get down to earth. As the Wheel of the Year is cycling into a time of manifestation, it’s important to consider what we wish to bring into not only our own lives but also the lives of those around us and those across the globe.

Take some time to gather some small stones of any size. Keep these in a box, bag, or tote. When you’ve collected about thirty to fifty stones, take a walk in a quiet area where you can focus on the bountiful earth.

Using your right hand, grab one stone at a time and make a wish. Grasp a stone and say:

With this stone, I manifest _.

You may fill in the blank with anything from “global sustainability” to “personal balance,” or whatever feels intuitively right. Drop each stone on the ground as you make the wish.

Once finished, kiss the earth and thank the Great Mother for hearing your magick.
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Spirited Communication
APRIL 18, 2022 BY MELISSA TIPTON

On this day in 1857, The Spirits Book by Allan Kardec was published, and today’s working is inspired by the teachings of spiritism. You’ll need something that can serve as a pendulum, which can simply be a length of string with an object tied to one end.

Begin by casting a circle of protection by tracing an energetic circular path with your finger, making three passes around the space. Recite:

This circle protects me from harm on
all levels, allowing in only the energies
most harmonious for this working
and blocking out all other energies.

Enter a light meditative state and ask to communicate with a spirit that comes in perfect love and perfect trust. Holding the pendulum, ask what a “yes” looks like. Allow the pendulum to move as it will, then ask what a “no” looks like. Then ask any questions you have, and close with thanks to the spirit.
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National Haiku Poetry Day
APRIL 17, 2022 BY TESS WHITEHURST

In addition to Easter Sunday, today is National Haiku Poetry Day. Compose a haiku to describe and represent what you will be releasing during the waning moon. As you may know, a haiku is a Japanese form of short poetry composed of three lines only, the first and third lines containing five syllables and the second line containing seven. There are two other traditional elements to include. First, a “cutting word” (kireji) should be placed at the end of the second or third line. Think of this as a question, an exclamation, or another incisive word that breaks up the verse or otherwise asks the reader to pause. Second, a seasonal reference (kigo) is also included in a haiku, so you may also want to include a word or phrase that is evocative of spring. Take your time until your haiku feels just right, then place it on your altar as a reminder of what you are releasing. Leave it there until the dark moon on the 29th.

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Why 18th-Century Scots Performed Mock Human Sacrifices Over Cake
BY SAM O’BRIEN

This May Day, make Beltane bannock, a simple snack with a long history of superstition and divination.

PLACE
Beltane Fire Festival

DESTINATION GUIDE
Edinburgh, Scotland

IT’S SPRINGTIME IN THE SCOTTISH Highlands and a bonfire blazes against the night sky. A group stands before the flames, passing around a hat containing slices of bannock, or griddled oatcake. Each person plucks out a piece until one unfortunate soul unfurls his fist to reveal a charcoal-daubed morsel. Fate has declared him the cailleach Beal-tine, a scapegoat who must be sacrificed. Some of his companions grab him, pulling him toward the fire. For good measure, they might even lay him out and prepare to draw and quarter him. At the last minute, when it appears his sacrifice is imminent, a group of rescuers rush in and save him.

Such was the 18th-century ritual of the burnt Beltane bannock and the cailleach Beal-tine. The mock sacrifice is one of several bygone traditions associated with the ancient Celtic festival of Beltane. Celebrated from the eve of April 30 through May 1, Beltane marks the beginning of summer. When many people picture similar May 1, or “May Day,” festivities, they might imagine dancers around a maypole and flower-clad May Queens. While modern-day Beltane celebrations incorporate some of these elements, early Beltane Eve nights were more intense affairs, filled with sky-licking flames, purification rites, magic, and offerings to powerful beings. The festival came at the precipice to a crucial time: With months of summer hunting and farming ahead, it was essential to supplicate both natural and supernatural forces. Like its winter-welcoming fellow festival, Samhain, Beltane was believed to be a time when the barrier between the mortal and the magical lifted.

Due to the lack of written Celtic records, we have little information about the first Beltane festivals. The earliest recorded mention of Beltane appears in an early medieval Irish glossary, centuries after its theorized origins, and the most substantial documentation of Beltane-related traditions across Scotland, Ireland, and Wales occur from the 1700s through the early 1900s. Even though much of the charcoal-smeared bannock’s significance is a mystery, these records highlight the griddled oatcake’s auspicious importance on the holiday. On the Isle of Mull, 18th-century Scottish writer John Ramsay noted, farmers milked their cows through a hole in their bannocks for good luck on Beltane. Meanwhile, in the Highlands region of Perthshire, Scots baked a scalloped bannock—perhaps to mimic the shape of a sun—and tore off pieces that they’d toss over their shoulders with attendant wishes for crops or livestock health: “Each [is] dedicated to some particular being, the supposed preserver of their flocks and herds, or to some particular animal, the real destroyer of them,” Thomas Pennant wrote in his 1769 book, A Tour of Scotland. “‘This I give to thee, O Fox, spare thou my lambs; this to thee, O Hooded Crow, this to thee, O Eagle!’”

Sarah Barr grew up around Perthshire, where these superstitious Beltane bannock rituals once took place. However, since they largely disappeared from Scotland by the turn of the 20th century, Barr says she “never saw hide nor hair of them.” Still, she was drawn to the traditions surrounding Beltane and today helps organize Edinburgh’s annual Beltane Fire Society festival, a modern celebration that typically involves a dramatic procession and large bonfire atop the city’s Calton Hill. (No one is sacrificed, not even in fake, theatrical fashion.)

Barr, who makes her own bannock with leek-infused butter, notes that bannock-based symbolic sacrifices may have their roots in an earlier, more desperate time, when sick cows or a short drought could signal doom for a community. “I do wonder if traditions like the cailleach Beal-tine have been sort of, not sanitized, but they no longer carry the same fear and weight behind desperately having to make sure your family survives by sacrificing someone in your community. But it still has that vein of ‘Well, now Jimmy, you’re the cailleach Beal-tine, don’t let our crops die.’”

Although archaeological evidence suggests that the Celts did perform human sacrifice, scholars have yet to unearth a body or artifact that confirms with certainty that they performed such a rite on Beltane. However, one archaeologist and Celtic scholar theorized that bannock, Beltane, and human sacrifice may have collided in one famous Iron Age corpse.

In her book, The Life and Death of a Druid Prince, the late archaeologist Anne Ross investigated the Lindow Man, a body miraculously preserved in a peat bog in Cheshire, England. Due to the seemingly methodical execution of his injuries (a massive blow to the head, a broken neck from garroting, and stabbing wounds) as well as his manicured hands and healthy body, many scholars believe the Lindow Man was a man of high status who was sacrificed. Thanks to the ancient body’s incredible, preserved condition, scientists were able to examine the Lindow Man’s stomach contents and determine his last supper: mistletoe pollen and a griddled, unleavened flatbread. Since researchers noted the bread had been charred, Ross speculated that the Lindow Man was an unfortunate burnt bannock recipient who was sacrificed in the name of a good harvest.

The Lindow Man’s body was so well preserved in the peat bog that scientists could confirm his last meal consisted of mistletoe pollen and burnt flatbread.
The Lindow Man’s body was so well preserved in the peat bog that scientists could confirm his last meal consisted of mistletoe pollen and burnt flatbread.

But archaeologist and Celtic scholar Miranda Aldhouse-Green cautions against making too many imaginative leaps when it comes to the Lindow Man, especially the exact rationale for his death. “I think the trouble is that it’s quite tempting with this subject to take the inferences and interpretation too far,” she says. “When you’re dealing with the Iron Age in Europe, you don’t have written records except for the Romans, who were talking about these ‘Other’ people.” One enduring example: In The Gallic Wars, Julius Caesar mentions seeing an alleged human-shaped wooden scaffold that burned human sacrifices trapped inside. (The chilling scene inspired both the classic 1973 horror film The Wicker Man and a hilariously horrible 2006 Nicolas Cage remake.) Aldhouse-Green continues, “We don’t have the voice of the indigenous population of Britain at the time and therefore we don’t have written explanations of what their rituals were about. It’s all secondhand.”

Still, Aldhouse-Green hypothesizes that the Lindow Man may have been sacrificed in dramatic, communal fashion, somewhat similar to the mock rituals of Beltanes centuries later. “It’s a flat landscape so things would’ve been visible for miles,” she says of the peat bog where the Lindow Man was killed. “I’d suspect what you’d have is a procession possibly going on for miles with bells ringing and music playing that would be calling people out of their houses to join the procession. That could’ve taken days. It could’ve covered mile after mile and all the local people would hear this and come out to see what was going on then join in.” Although she’s careful not to state anything with certainty, she speculates that he may have been sacrificed to stave off the advance of Roman soldiers.

With the rise of industrialized agriculture and evolution of science, the terrifying unpredictability of changing seasons is largely a thing of the past—and so too are the superstitious rituals that attended the change of seasons. But the world remains terrifyingly unpredictable: With the dangers of COVID-19, the Beltane Fire Society has cancelled its on-site event this year and instead recorded a pretaped performance now available on YouTube. Still, Barr plans to make bannock and, if it’s not crowded, enjoy a quiet moment on Calton Hill to celebrate Beltane. “I’ll bring some tea, I’ll bring some bannock. And I’ll probably throw some for the crows.”

Beltane Bannock and Caudle
Adapted from the Beltane Fire Society’s recipe

For added symbolic heft and flavor, some Scottish cooks coated their bannocks in caudle, a custard-like batter of eggs, milk, cream, and oats. According to Scottish folklorist F. Marian McNeill, each core caudle ingredient represented a wish for the months ahead: eggs and dairy for plentiful hens and cows, and oats for a bountiful harvest. For added supplication, a libation of the caudle would be poured onto the ground before spreading it over the cake.

Ingredients

For the bannock:
1 cup self-rising flour
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ cup rolled oats
¼ cup oat flour or rolled oats ground finely in food processor
½ to 1 cup buttermilk

For the caudle:
1 cup milk or light cream
1 tablespoon oat flour or rolled oats ground finely
2 eggs
Honey or brown sugar, to taste
Salt, to taste
Grated nutmeg, ground ginger, allspice, or saffron, to taste
A few splashes of brown ale

Instructions

  1. Sift the flour, salt, and baking soda together in a large bowl, then whisk in the rolled oats and oat flour (or ground oats).
  2. Add the buttermilk, gradually incorporating it until the dough is soft. As soon as it’s starting to get a bit sticky, stop adding the buttermilk, even if you haven’t used the whole amount yet.
  3. On a floured surface, turn out the dough and shape into a circle. Gently work it; do not knead it.
  4. Cook the dough in a pan on medium heat until the underside is browned, then flip over and repeat. Set the bannock aside.
  5. Heat the milk or cream with the oat flour (or ground oats) in a nonstick saucepan. Simmer until it begins to thicken.
  6. Beat the eggs, then pour them into the stovetop mixture, adding in the honey and seasonings to taste. Continue simmering, and stirring, for about five minutes.
  7. Remove the caudle from the stovetop. Add a few splashes of ale.
  8. Pour part of the caudle over your bannock. Don’t forget to pour part on the ground outside as an offering.
  9. If you’d like to play a game of mock-sacrifice, slice off a piece of bannock and return it to the pan. Cook until charred. Slice other pieces of the bannock of equal size, then add them all to a hat. Have your friends close their eyes and pick out pieces. When the cailleach Beal-tine pulls the blackened portion, open the oven door and call for your friends to bring the crone to their fiery doom. At the last minute, if you’re feeling generous, spare them. Happy Beltane!

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Heartwings Love Notes 1031 The Gardener’s Foot

Heartwings says, “The garden is every part of life that nourishes us.”

There is a saying I have found to apply not only to gardening but also to life: “The best fertilizer is the gardener’s foot.” The TLC that a gardener gives her or his garden is what makes it thrive. I should know. Gardening is in my blood. I was given my first small plot of land when I was around eight. It was in the shade of a fine big birch tree, so it didn’t get as much sunlight as it might have liked, but I did my best to keep it well-tended.

Each spring my great aunt’s gardener would give me some plants. I remember flash marigolds, and perhaps ageratum and snapdragons. These kept my one perennial company: tall monkshood with interesting purple flowers. It returned faithfully every spring to watch over the annual plants I tended there. Along about August my energy for tending would wane, and the weeds would outpace my TLC, however, I would begin again the following year with enthusiasm.

My whole family grew plants of one kind or another. My practical mother grew vegetables in what was originally called a victory garden. My dad grew roses in two smaller beds as well as gladiolas and other colorful flowering plants in the main garden. These decorated our home in vases all summer long. My grandmother grew lots of flowers and probably vegetables, as did my great aunt.

The metaphor of the gardener’s foot is true in so many ways. What I pay attention to with my mind—my mental foot has a better chance for success than what I ignore or forget. The mental effort put into a project or task is important. When I give extra thought to what needs doing, it can get done more efficiently. It’s the focus on it that keeps it in mind that helps it get it done.

 Another saying goes, “What does not grow begins to rot.” How many projects have failed from lack of attention? Once a fruit or vegetable has ripened, it stops growing and must be consumed or its taste deteriorates. However, I have discovered an exception: overripe fruit can be saved by cooking it up into a sauce. You might be surprised what I’ve made use of with some cooking and a little sugar. Turbinado sugar is a good choice for this.

Though after many years of tending many gardens I no longer have an actual one, I do have metaphorical gardens. When I step mentally into the garden of my mind, I do best when I keep my focus on what needs doing. Writing goals down helps, but the actual time spent thinking about them is the equivalent of fertilizer.

May your efforts and your projects flourish with your attention.

Blessings and best regards, Tasha Halpert Dear friends and readers, please know that my poetry chapbook, Poems and Prayers, is available for $10 Ppd. mailed to me at my address: 1 Hollywood Drive, North Grafton, MA 01536. A gentle book, it is dedicated to my late son and is said by readers to be a comforting book. If you have any comments or questions on my writing, please email me at tashahal@aol.com. My website is www.heartwingsandfriends.com

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Finding Nature in Your Neighborhood

Nature is all around us and there is a plethora in every neighborhood, one only needs to become still and watch.

Because both cities and tightly packed suburbs offer wildlife bountiful nooks and crannies in which to hide, it can be difficult to spot the animals that live in our midst. Many thrive among paved streets, sidewalks, buildings, parking lots, and high-rises. There are animals in abundance burrowing in the soil of center medians and tiny backyard gardens, making nests in the trees that line broad and busy avenues, and buzzing round the flowers that beautify our parks. To find these creatures, we only need to stop, look, and listen. Nature’s drama is continually playing out on the window ledges where weary birds stop to roost, in the shadowy places where cautious nocturnal mammals wait for night’s mantel to fall, and the fountains where playful waterfowl splash and frolic. In observing the animals that share our habitat, we become a part of their beautiful, complex, and exciting world.

Season by season, cities offer diverse ecosystems for you to explore. If your search for urban and suburban wildlife is challenging, try to look at your community with an animal’s eyes. Where there are shrubs and flowers, insects such as butterflies, ladybugs, beetles, and spiders can usually be found. The insects, in turn, attract the birds who feast upon them. Even the smallest green spaces are hosts to squirrels, rabbits, chipmunks, and moles. Decorative awnings offer falcons a place to raise their young. At night, a different community of animals wakens to the world. Raccoons, skunks, and possums emerge to examine our human leftovers for edibles. Even pets feel the call of the wild–it’s not uncommon for well-fed cats in colorful collars to stalk the streets in search of prey. Signs of habitation, like nests or hives, and audible evidence, like chirps, will help you find them.

Recognizing that you share your city with a wide range of animals can make you feel like a part of the grand circle of life and help you appreciate the importance of a healthy urban environment. You can admire the hardiness and adaptability of the urban animal while developing a sense of stewardship that inspires you to become their champion. The shrill calls of birds, the hum of bees, and the sweet squeaks of city-dwelling mammals can be a symphony that help you develop a deeper connection with the nature world.

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Pendulum Magic
BY RICHARD WEBSTER
Dowsing

A pendulum is a small weight attached to a length of chain or thread. When someone holds it by the thread and asks a question, the weight moves and provides the answer. It is an amazing tool that can be used for many different purposes.

Just recently, a friend of mine decided to buy a car. He looked through the advertisements in the daily paper and asked his pendulum about the cars that sounded interesting. The pendulum gave a positive response to six cars, and eventually told him which car he should buy. He looked at all six, and finally bought the car that the pendulum had indicated.

Some friends went to Paris on a business trip. After finishing their business, they had one free day before coming home. They used a pendulum to determine which sights they should see.

People who were house-sitting next door to us lost their pet rabbit. After frantically searching the immediate neighborhood, they used a pendulum to locate the exact spot where he was.

These examples show the versatility and possibilities of this simple tool. Despite its ease and usefulness, I have met many people who learned how to use it and then discarded it as it was “too simple.” At least one of my students would disagree. She owes her life to the humble pendulum. She is allergic to MSG (monosodium glutamate) that is sometimes used as a flavor enhancer. She has had several hospital stays as a result of inadvertently consuming it. Consequently, whenever she eats away from home she uses a pendulum to determine if there is any MSG in the meal. I doubt that she’d consider the pendulum “too simple” to bother with.

Of course, even though a pendulum is simple to use, it takes practice to become good at it. You can buy pendulums at any new age store, but any weight suspended on cord or chain will act as an impromptu pendulum. Choose something that weighs at least three ounces and attach it to four to six inches of cord. I have a huge collection of pendulums, because my family invariably buys me a small object attached to a chain or cord for birthday and Christmas presents.

Hold the cord between the thumb and first finger of your right hand, if you are right-handed. (Use your left, if you are left-handed.) Rest your elbow on a table and allow the pendulum to swing freely an inch or so above the surface of the table. Stop the movement of the weight with your free hand. Then ask the pendulum to move in a direction that means “yes.” The pendulum may start moving immediately, or it might take a while to indicate a positive response. Once it starts, it will either move from side to side, backwards and forwards, or rotate in a clockwise or anti-clockwise direction.

Once the pendulum has indicated “yes,”stop it again, and then ask it to indicate “no.”Follow this by asking for “I don’t know” and “I don’t want to answer” responses.

Now you can ask the pendulum questions that can be answered with these four movements. Start by asking the pendulum questions that you already know the answers to. You might ask it if you are male. You will get a “yes” answer if you are, and a “no” response if you are not. Ask if you live at your current address. It should reply positively.

After checking your pendulum in this way, you can proceed to ask questions that you do not know the answers to. Start by asking questions that you can check later on. The correct answers that your pendulum provides will give you confidence as you continue to experiment.

There is no limit to the types of questions you can ask once you become proficient with the pendulum. However, remember that it is possible to mentally influence and override the movements of the pendulum. Suppose, for instance, someone in your family is pregnant and you want to know the sex of the unborn baby. The pendulum will give you the correct answer if you honestly do not care what the sex will be. However, if you are hoping it will be a girl, for instance, the pendulum will confirm this, even if it is not correct. Your desire will have influenced the movements of the pendulum. Consequently, if you have an emotional involvement in the answer, you will find it better to have someone who has no interest in the outcome to ask the pendulum for you.

The pendulum should never be used flippantly. Not long ago, a teenager told me how she and her friends used a pendulum in an attempt to learn embarrassing information about fellow classmates. Pendulums do not like being used in this way and sometimes react by refusing to move at all. Not surprisingly, the answers these students received were confusing and conflicting. The sad thing is that these young people failed to learn how useful and practical a pendulum can be when it is used properly.

The pendulum can literally work miracles. Once you become proficient with it, you will wonder how you ever managed without it. While writing this, my wife suggested that we go to the movies tonight. She handed me the entertainment section of the newspaper, and my pendulum. She knows that the pendulum will choose a movie that we’ll both enjoy. That’s yet another benefit of the humble pendulum.

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Letting Go Of The Little Stuff

When we stop worrying about unimportant matters, we can devote so much more of ourselves to what is truly important.

We experience numerous disappointments each and every day. Our expectations go unmet, our plans are blocked by circumstance, our wishes go unfulfilled, and we discover that our lives are subject to a myriad of forces beyond our conscious control. In some cases, our response is powerful because we must invest ourselves and our resources to overcome genuine hardship. In others, our reactions are far more passionate than our circumstances likely warrant. The tension that permeates our bodies and minds when we are late for an event, interrupted at work, or sitting in traffic is not inappropriate, but it can interfere with our well-being in profound ways. When we stop worrying about relatively unimportant matters, we can be at peace and devote so much more of ourselves to what is truly important.

The small frustrations and irritations wield such power over us because they rob us of the illusion of control. But every problem is a potential teacher–a confusing situation is an opportunity to practice mindfulness, and difficult people provide us with opportunities to display compassion. There is a natural human tendency to invest copious amounts of emotional energy in minor dilemmas and frustrations in order to avoid confronting those more complex issues that are largely outside the realm of our control. The intensity of our response provides us with a temporary sense of personal power that helps us cope with challenges that might otherwise overwhelm us. But it is only when we let the little stuff go that we discover that the big stuff is not really so devastating after all.

In the stress of a singularly tense incident, differentiating between an inconsequential annoyance and a legitimate challenge can seem a monumental task. Ask yourself whether the emotions you are feeling will be as vivid in a year, a day, or even an hour. As focused as you are on this moment in time, your reward for letting go of your emotional investment may be the very happiness and harmony of being whose loss you are lamenting. Needless aggravation is seldom worth the cost it exacts. You cannot distance yourself from life’s inconsistencies, irritations, and upheavals, but you can relinquish your desire for perfect order and gain peace of mind in the process.

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Pushing Away Emotions

Choosing not to experience pain, anger, or other intense feelings could cause those feelings to become buried deep into your physical body.

Throughout our lives, we may experience emotions that disturb or distress us. Often, our first reaction is to push our feelings away. We may say, “I don’t want to think about that right now, I’ll think about it later” and we bury our emotions, deny the validity of our feelings, or distract ourselves with other concerns. But the diverse emotions you experience are neither good nor bad — they are simply a part of being human. Choosing not to experience pain, anger, or other intense feelings could cause those feelings to become buried deep into your physical body. There, they may linger unresolved and unable to emerge, even as they affect the way you experience the world. Allowing yourself to experience all of your emotions rather than push the more painful ones away can help you come to terms with your feelings so you can experience them and then move on.

It is possible to bring forth the old feelings you have pushed aside and experience them in a safe and enriching way. It may sound silly to set aside time to feel your old wounds that you haven’t dealt with, but this can be a very beneficial healing experience. Find a safe place and pick a time when you can be alone. Make sure that you feel secure and comfortable in your surroundings. Bring to mind the circumstances that originally triggered the emotions you’ve been pushing away. You may need to revisit these circumstances by reading relevant entries in your journal or using visualization to relive your past. Once you have triggered your long-denied emotions, let yourself feel your feelings, and try not to judge your reactions. Cry or sound your emotions if you need to, and don’t block the flow of your feelings. Allow any thoughts that are connected to your emotions to surface. As you release the feelings you have pushed inside of you, you will find yourself healing from the experience associated with these emotions.

When you deal with your feelings directly, they can move through you rather than staying stopped up in your body as emotional blocks that can sometimes turn into disease. Acknowledging your emotions, instead of pushing them away, allows you to stay emotionally healthy and in touch with your feelings.

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Ghost Hunting Theories
If You Like This Abandoned Site, You Might Like These Horror Movies

An abandoned site is an ideal movie location. But, what if certain abandoned sites make you want more? Here’s some great movie options depending on the type of abandoned site that catches your eye –

I’m going to share photos of abandoned sites. Whichever ones give you the biggest creeps, I list 5 movies you might want to see that have the mood of this location….

I will give the ones I most recommend an asterisk *

*”The Funhouse”
Teens at a carnvial decide to hide in the funhouse and party after the places closes for the night.
“Carnival of Souls”
After a young woman’s car accident, her life feels slightly off.
“Dark Ride”
Friends decide to stop at a local amusement park not knowing women had been murdered there.
“Amusement”
Women are stalked by someone from their childhood who wants them dead.
“Hell Fest”
A masked man at a carnival has people thinking he’s just one of the workers, but he’s really a killer out to slaughter as many people as possible.

*”Phantasm”
An orphaned boy follows his older brother to a mausoleum where something sinister is happening.
*”Cemetery Man”
A lonely cemetery caretaker runs into zombie issues.
*”Salem’s Lot”
Mysterious new owners of the mansion on the hill spark curiosity from the town, as what comes with them appears to be evil.
“Mausoleum”
A teen who lost her mom finds out she’s possessed by a demon that likes her lineage.
“Mortuary”
A girl searching for answers to her father’s dead ends up at the mortuary where she finds something dangerous.

*”Poltergeist”
A suburban family finds their property is atop a Native cemetery that was not moved. Their young daughter is pulled to the other side and they must try to retrieve her.
*”Sleepy Hollow”
In the 1700s, an investigator is sent to a quiet Dutch town in New York where he finds they are tormented by a killer who is a Hessian soldier ghost.
*”The Blair Witch Project”
While some college kids set out to make a documentary of a witch legend in Maryland, they get lost in the woods and find themselves succumbing to something evil.
“The Evil Dead”
Five friends go to a cabin in the woods where they are taken over by flesh-possessing demons.
“The Birch”
A bullied boy summons up an ancient being in the woods.

*”Creep”
A woman is trapped in the subway and the labyrinth of tunnels, chased by a tormenter.
*”Catacombs”
A woman goes to a party in the Paris Catacombs and gets lost while being chased by something unknown.
“Urban Explorers: Into the Darkness”
A documentary about those who explore abandoned sites.
“As Above So Below”
Explorers in the catacombs below Paris uncover a dark secret.
“Raw Meat” (aka “Death Line”)
A government official gets lost in the London Tunnels while he’s looking for missing people.

“The Woman in Black”
A lawyer goes to a village to work and finds out there is a vengeful ghost terrorizing the locals.
*”The Legend of Hell House”
A team assembles to enter a haunted house, observe the phenomena and then set up a machine to negate it.
*”The Changeling”
A grieving widower moves into an historic home to find that he’s not alone.
*”The Haunting”
A researcher puts together a team to stay in a haunted mansion and prove ghosts exist.
*”The Awakening”
A woman who debunks hauntings is called to a boys school where she finds it hard to prove it isn’t haunted.

*”Dark Night of the Scarecrow”
A town is cursed by a witch put to rest after helping them produce great crops. The witch’s spirit is released to take over a scarecrow and get back at the descendents of the town.
“Messengers 2”
A farmer plants a scarecrow with some unusual qualities, but his good luck won’t last for long.
“Husk”
A group is stranded in an old farmhouse near a cornfield, only to find it is the center for some kind of supernatural ritual.
“The Scarecrow”
Just before the Salem witch trials, a woman empowers a scarecrow with magic to seek revenge.
Jeepers Creepers 2
A busload of teens breaks down in the cornfields where the creeper monster disguises himself as a scarecrow.

*”Trick R Treat”
Anthology movie with stories that takes place on Halloween night.
*”Halloween”
Babysitters are tormented on Halloween night by an insane killer.
*”Hocus Pocus”
Three witch sisters were imprisoned by magic long ago and now escape on Halloween night to torment the town.
“Night of the Demons”
When teens spend the night and party in an abandoned mortuary, a demon gets released.
“The Nightmare Before Christmas”
When the king of Halloweentown discovers Christmas, he tries to bring it back to his village.

“Pirates of the Caribbean”
A derelict pirate tries to outsmart the locals and the ghost ship inhabitants to find the fortune.
*”Ghost Ship”
A salvage team boards an abandoned ship to find they must fight the ghostly inhabitants.
*”The Fog”
A seaside town is attacked by a strange fog that brings in the spirits of those wronged by the town’s forefathers. *”Creature From the Black Lagoon”
A team sets out down the Amazon River to a dark lagoon where they search for a fossil only to find the creature is not extinct.
“The Triangle”
A group of friends have trouble with their yacht and board an abandoned ship in the Bermuda Triangle only to find out they are in more danger there.

*”The Car”
A western town is tormented by a driveless car hell bent on killing them.
*”Jeepers Creepers”
A monster in a creepy old truck puts fear into people on the road and then decides what part of that person’s body it wants to assimilate.
“The Hearse”
A woman inherits a family member’s home and finds out strange supernatural things are happening and may be related to how the townsfolk felt about her deceased relative.
“Christine”
When a nerd buys an old car, it seems to be possessing him.
“Cujo”
A woman and her sick child are stuck in their broken down car, being tormented by a rabid saint bernard.

*”The Hills Have Eyes”
A vacationing family’s car pulling their camping trailer breaks down in the desert. They are then tormented by a feral desert family of crazies.
*”The Hitcher”
When a young man decides to make money driving a car from one state to another for a car dealer, he picks up a hitchhiker to keep him company on the trek through the desert, only to find he’s a killer.
*”Tremors”
In a remote desert town, the locals find themselves fighting off giant worm-like monsters underground that can detect any movement.
*”Them!”
A great 1950s Scifi flick about gigantic ants invading a desert area and the military is called in to help.
“Duel”
A harried businessman is tormented by a trucker on the desert highway.

*”Hell Night”
College kids getting hazed have to spend the night in a creepy mansion that was once inhabited by a crazy family.
“Rose Red”
A group of people who have psychic powers spend the night in a haunted house.
*”The House on Haunted Hill”
A millionaire invites strangers to stay a whole night in a haunted building and promises to reward them with big cash, only they get locked in and someone is a killer.
“The Others”
A woman living alone in a country estate with her two photosensitive children, thinks her home might be haunted.
*”The Boy”
An American is hired to babysit a British couple’s child. When she arrives, she discovers the child is a doll filling in for the child they lost, and it is showing signs of haunting.

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Cayenne Pepper Health Benefits
by Dr. Weil

Hot and spicy, cayenne pepper (Capsicum annuum) is a member of the Capsicum family of vegetables, commonly known as chili peppers. The name “cayenne” comes from the town where these peppers originated, in French Guiana off the northeast coast of South America.

Chili peppers, including cayenne, originated thousands of years ago in Central and South America – not surprising considering those regions are known for their spicy flavors. First used as decoration, their usefulness expanded into medicinal and culinary areas. Christopher Columbus became familiar with chili peppers when he explored the Caribbean Islands and brought them back to Europe as a substitute for the cost-prohibitive black pepper. Today, cayenne and other chili peppers are grown on all continents.

Cayenne peppers have a high concentration of capsaicin – the substance that causes their fiery hot sensation. Capsaicin also inhibits substance P, a neuropeptide associated with inflammatory pain processes. Capsaicin has been studied intensively for a variety of health benefits. The health benefits of cayenne include using it as a topical analgesic – several clinical studies show that capsaicin cream can temporarily relieve chronic pain due to rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, psoriasis, shingles and diabetic neuropathy.

Further study is needed to confirm results that indicate topical cayenne can be used for back pain and cluster headaches. Orally, cayenne pepper can promote cardiovascular health, suppress appetite and increase the burning of body fat (a process called thermogenesis). It has also been shown to help prevent ulcers and drain congested nasal passages.

Modern herbalists recommend cayenne to stimulate the circulatory system, and as a treatment for upper respiratory infections. One common preparation uses cayenne with lemon juice and honey as a syrup for sore throats.

Cayenne pepper is also known for its immune boosting potential: besides the anti-inflammatory effects of capsaicin, cayenne is also an excellent source of carotenoids, including beta carotene – a powerful antioxidant that can help prevent free radical damage. Its high levels of vitamin A (two teaspoons of cayenne pepper provide 47 percent of the daily value for vitamin A) support immune function as well.

In addition to being an excellent source of vitamin A, cayenne pepper is a good source of vitamin E, vitamin C, B6, vitamin K, manganese and dietary fiber.

Cayenne pepper can be used fresh or dried. Fresh green or red cayenne peppers can be used in a fashion similar to fresh jalapeños: as a garnish or chopped up and added to dips, sauces, soups and main courses. You can lower the spiciness level by removing the seeds. Do this while wearing gloves and avoiding contact with the eyes and face to minimize transferring the painful irritants to sensitive areas. You can also dry fresh, ripe red cayenne peppers. Simply wash and place on a wire rack until dry and brittle, which takes about three weeks. These whole, dried peppers can be stored in a sealed container away from light for up to a year.

Dried cayenne pepper is more versatile and works as well as fresh in most dishes. For true cayenne lovers, the challenge is not finding foods that the dried pepper enhances; rather, it’s finding any that it cannot improve. It can be added to cocoa for a bit of spice, and when paired with lemon juice works with virtually all vegetables. Dried cayenne should be kept in a tightly sealed glass jar, away from direct sunlight. It will last for up to three years.

Dr. Weil’s take:
Cayenne pepper is rated at 30,000-50,000 Scoville heat units (a measurement scale which rates the “hotness” of a spice or sauce derived from a chili pepper). That compares with the milder jalapeño’s 2,500-5,000 units. A little goes a long way!

Here in the American Southwest, chili peppers and cayenne are staples. At True Food Kitchen we incorporate chili pepper into both savory and sweet dishes. It’s a delicious addition to hot chocolate.

Finally, there are a few unusual applications: if you tend to get cold feet in the winter, a small amount of cayenne powder sprinkled into your socks may help (just make sure there are no open cuts or blisters on your feet). If you are prone to ulcers, you can try red pepper tea: steep one-quarter teaspoon of cayenne pepper in a cup of hot water.

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Kitty Kat’s Korner
=^..^=
Why Do Cats Blink Slowly?

By Susan Logan McCracken

A few years ago, a trend led people to test the theory that you could know if a smile was real or fake by examining the eyes. Squinty, wrinkly eyes meant the smile was genuine, while eyes that lacked wrinkling indicated the smile was insincere. The Duchenne smile became defined as a smile that involved the muscles surrounding the eyes as well as the upturning of the lips, according to the American Psychological Association. “Duchenne smiles are believed to be authentic smiles, as opposed to posed, voluntary non-Duchenne smiles that lack the orbicularis oculi component.”

But before judging a non-Duchenne smile as insincere, a 2021 study by Carnegie Mellon University tested the theory and concluded that eye wrinkling may have more to do with the intensity of the feelings behind the smile, not necessarily the sincerity of the smile.

The Duchenne smile is a popular study of human psychology, but it turns out that cats also have their ways of smiling, and it involves expressing and reading emotions through the eyes.

A Kitty Smile
Cats are prolific communicators and have many modes of communication. They communicate with their voices, mostly to their humans. They communicate with their ears and tails and by rubbing their pheromones onto things. They communicate with their eyes with each other and with people.

Among cats, closing their eyes in the presence of other cats is a sign of trust and that they can be trusted. They are communicating their trust in the other individual and that they themselves are no threat.

When your cat closes his eyes slowly at you, he is demonstrating contentment, security and a relaxed state. It is the closest thing to a kitty Duchenne smile. And when you return a slow blink to your cat, you’re smiling back.

Positive Vibes
A groundbreaking study published in the Oct. 5, 2020, issue of Scientific Reports, suggested that slow blinking is a form of positive communication between cats and humans.

The researchers conducted two experiments involving 21 cats and their caretakers from 14 households in the first and 24 different cats from eight households and total strangers in the second. The people who participated in the second experiment had no prior contact with the cats, and when they slow blinked at the cats, they also extended a hand to them.

The researchers noted that the cats delivered more slow blinks to their caretakers if their caretakers were slow blinking at them but not if their caretakers were simply in the room and not slow blinking. Even when the total strangers slow blinked at the cats, the cats reciprocated with eye narrowing movements. And when the strangers extended their hand, the cats were more likely to approach the strangers following slow blinking interactions than if the strangers had kept a neutral face and made no eye contact.

The study results confirmed that cats’ slow blinks appear to express positive emotions, but further research is needed to draw solid conclusions. Possibly the first study of its kind to investigate the role of the slow blink in feline-human communication, the results do appear promising that the behavior indicates positive feelings.

“Such findings could potentially be used to assess the welfare of cats in a variety of settings, including veterinary practices and shelter environments as well as enhancing cat-human communication in the human home,” the researchers wrote, adding that this is still an under-studied field of research.

Those of us who have lived with cats for a long time know the look when our cats slowly close their eyes and offer us an expression of utter contentment. It’s a look that invokes in us feelings of happiness and reminders that we all need to relax and smile more.

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Coach Gilberto – Chapter 8
by Stephen Halpert

Harriet Conners rushed into Gilberto’s office breathless and flushed. His occasional secretary peered around nervously. “I heard a terrible crash. I hope no one was hurt.” Then she spotted the oil painting tangled in the shattered wooden frame.
Gilberto shrugged, took a breath and spread his hands. “Strangely, it jumped off the wall. I know that doesn’t make much sense but that’s what happened.”
“Yes, I’m sure,” Harriet said. Her frown lines deepened and she clasped her hands. “This wouldn’t be the first time it jumped off the wall. It seems to have quite a mind of its own.”
Rain smiled sympathetically and went over and studied the broken frame. In a quietly neutral voice she said, “Did you know Cyrus Willobee?’
Harriet blushed and looked down, toying with a small pearl ring on the third finger of her left hand. She took a breath. “What so few people around here don’t understand, is that Cyrus was a self-effacing, dignified gentleman. His devil may care act was just that, an act. His eye for the ladies was a part of that act too. Believe me, he really was quite shy and withdrawn.” She took another breath and went on. “Cyrus was terribly confusing to get to know. He’d agree with you right into the next town and then a day or two later, profess something entirely different.”
She paused, nodded and pulled slightly at her small pearl necklace with nervous fingers. “What you must understand is that Cyrus had a way about himself that could be terribly confusing.”
Rain nodded, then prompted her to speak more. “You knew him well then?” she said.
Harriet sighed. “I tried to. When Wilbur divorced me and took our son Davie with him to California, I was so devastated. Cyrus was kind and he’d always listen to my venting and then smile and invite me out to supper.” She shook her head and sighed again. “After a while I had my own expectations and hoped for something closer, but he was always the perfect gentleman and there was not even a friendly good night kiss. That kind of behavior can really make a woman wonder.”
Rain smiled and leaned forward. “A good friend to you,” she said lightly.
“Oh yes.” Harriet’s cheeks reddened. “I would have been willing for more from him, but,” she opened her palms. “And now that I’d be so appreciative of his advice, he’s gone.” She looked down at her hands.
“And why’s that?” Rain asked.
“I know he’d have been a help when Davie moves back next week. His father gave up, threw up his hands, had a fit over his involvement with LGBTQ. He insisted he come back and live with me.” She shook her head. “I don’t know what to expect. Davie’s so changeable.”
“And his father?” Rain said.
“Oh, he’s one of those big-time west coast sports promoters.”
“So, Cyrus was a good friend?” Rain said, trying to edge Harriet back to discussing Cyrus.
Harried nodded her head. “Personally, I’ve always suspected he had some sort of secret lover, someone far removed from Houndstooth. It could be that wild one from the Parker family.” Her face tightened and she looked almost angry. “Too many millions she has, if you ask me,” she said. “Always rushing off to Paris and living that Left Bank Bohemian life. She’d charm Cyrus, sharing her tales with him.”
Gilberto’s eyebrows rose. “But I thought you said that Cyrus was the quiet, timid sort.”
Harriet wrinkled her nose and nodded. “Yes usually, here at Houndstooth. But once I saw the two of them driving off in her Jaguar, laughing.”
“Interesting,” Rain said. She looked over at Gilberto.
Harriet went on, a rather grim smile on her lips. “But I know sparks will fly at the next Board meeting,” she said. “Lara Parker seems to want some of the land here donated for a hospital for the elderly. Headmaster wants every last scrap of land for Houndstooth’s eventual development. The two seem to be headed for loggerheads.”
Gilberto picked up the canvas and carefully separated it from the pieces of broken frame. Though he didn’t know a great deal about art, he could see that this gloomy portrait of the old Parker estate was well executed.
Rain looked at it more closely. “Harriet what year did Parker build this house?”
Harriet frowned. “Hard to say. Parker family goes back even before the Revolution–old Yankee Mayflower stock. Jedediah Parker fought in the Revolution, and afterwards he was awarded this acreage by the Commonwealth.
Rain took out her phone and began to use her camera to take close ups of the oil painting.
She turned to Harriet. “I guess the elder Parker commissioned it. Portraying one’s home was popular during the 18th and 19th century.” She grinned.” I’d laugh if it were a Remington Peel. He used color that way.”
Harriet’s eyes widened. “Then if that’s the case wouldn’t it be worth a fortune?”
“Could be,” Rain said.
“So why a shabby frame like that?” Gilberto asked.
Rain smiled. “Sometimes sheep’s clothing makes for a better hiding place. Actually, Harriet who owns this painting? Houndstooth?”
Harriet shook her head no. “We all remember the day when Lara Parker drove up in that fancy white Jaguar of hers and presented it to Cyrus for his birthday.”
“Then they were close?” Rain said.
Harriet shrugged “Who knows. I’ve never been able to understand the fancies of the rich and famous. But I can tell you this: when two people feel something for one another the birds are chirping it in the trees.”
Rain’s voice took on a subtle note. “So do you suppose someone did him in?”
Harried squinched up her face. “I’ve been thinking about that. Personally, I believe he up and got swept away by one of those daydreams of his.”
Gilberto leaned forward and clasped his hands. “Daydreams?” he said.
She lowered her eyes, nodded. “Once he told me that he really believed he could daydream himself back in time.”
Really,” Rain said. “I wonder how he’d pull off something like that?”
Harriet frowned. “I wouldn’t know except to say Cyrus could speak ancient Greek.” She laughed nervously and stood up. “I’d best get back to my office. I really just wanted to be sure nothing awful happened.”
Moments after she left, Gilberto saw a shadowy form against the wall where the picture had been. He and Rain shivered at the same time.
“Did you feel that?” Gilberto said.
Rain nodded. “Our Mr. Willobee?” she said.
Gilberto winced. “Maybe, I guess.” He sighed. “I have to say I prefer real people to ghosts.”

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Georgia Nicols’ Weekly Horoscope: Sunday, April 24, 2022

All Signs
This week is filled with positive energy and upbeat, productive vibes. For different reasons, many of us have felt stagnated. However, as we approach the Solar Eclipse on Saturday, there will be a sense of freedom and fresh exploration. In different ways and for different reasons, each of us will start to feel our energy flowing again. “I’m pumped!” This is something that has been long overdue. Mercury symbolizes our communications as well as our daily activities; and this week, it dances with lucky Jupiter as well as energetic Pluto. Things will be positive, productive and richer! (I know they say money isn’t the key to happiness but I figure with enough money, you can have a key made.)

Aries (March 21-April 19)
This is a wonderful week! Do get out of bed. For starters, in a vague, general way, you will have a warm feeling in your tummy because you’re happy to be in your own skin. This is because lovely Venus and lucky Jupiter are lined up in a hidden part of your chart, which sort of gives you a feeling that “everything’s alright.” Of course, we know there are terrible things happening somewhere in the world. But in your world, you’re on it. Life is good. Not only that, you have some serious productive, moneymaking ideas this week! You will either see new ways of earning money or new uses for something that you already own. Everyone’s impressed with your resourcefulness!

Taurus (April 20-May 20)
This week will be a powerful time for you because the Solar Eclipse on Saturday the 30th is taking place in your sign. Furthermore, the Sun is in your sign along with Mercury and Uranus; and Mercury will be energized by Pluto. (Too much techno talk?) The upshot of this is you will be empowered in terms of your own personal energy, and you will also have X-ray vision! You will easily see what goes on beneath the surface of events and everything around you. You can practically read people’s minds! Incidentally, this is why you will enjoy watching mysteries or reading whodunits. Note: Guard against being obsessed with things this week. Lighten up.

Gemini (May 21-June 20)
Two contradictory factors are at play for you this week. (How appropriate! One for each of the twins.) On one hand, you will prefer to be low-key, quiet, and keep a low profile, because you value your privacy, and you want to avoid the hustle and bustle of your daily world. (“Enuff awreddy.”) However, on the other hand (you have different fingers), you’ll make a stellar impression on others! You look successful, charming and attractive to everyone. In fact, bosses, parents, teachers and the police are impressed with you because your success is obvious to everyone. Hmmm, for some, this attractive quality will trigger a romance with a boss.

Cancer (June 21-July 22)
You’re popular this week! You will especially enjoy the company of younger people. One of the reasons they will be impressed with you is that you “get them”. You will have the ability to see who they are and understand what they want and need; and because of this, you can relate to them in a genuine way. You might help someone modify their future goals? Or the reverse might happen. Someone might help you modify your future goals? Meanwhile, travel for pleasure will delight. If possible, hop a jet or mortgage your house and take a road trip so you can watch those telephone poles going by. Romance with someone “different” might blossom.

Leo (July 23-Aug. 22)
This week you will make people sit up and listen. There are two reasons: one is that the Sun at the top of your chart is casting you in a flattering spotlight so people actually admire you. Secondly, Mercury at the top of your chart is getting zapped by big daddy Pluto, which makes your speech convincing and forceful! Furthermore, it gives you the ability to see hidden influences and make strategic deductions. You might meet someone who is very powerful. Nevertheless, to put it mildly, your communications with others will be serious and profound. People will take notes. (Is Pittman shorthand but a dim memory now in history?) Meanwhile, gifts and goodies will come your way! Ka-ching!

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22)
This is a fortunate week for you because you want to travel! You want do different things and learn exciting information. You will entertain lofty ideas and have profound discussions. And — you are lucky because while the Sun gives you this desire and urge to do these things, Mercury (assisted by the energy of Pluto) will help you to dig beneath the surface and understand what makes things tick. Your mind will be attracted to the mystery of how everything works. You will even want a deeper understanding of what is going on inside of you! Meanwhile, relations with partners and close friends will be warm and loving. You have much to look forward to!

Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22)
If you want to discover more about the of wealth your partner or learn more about someone’s assets – this is the week to ferret out this information. (Don’t leave home without your deerstalker.) The Sun and Mercury are in one of your Money Houses (specifically, the wealth of other people), and Pluto will give Mercury the powers of X-ray vision. In discussions about how to share an inheritance or divide property, you will be effective, possibly ruthless. Meanwhile, you have fabulous chances to improve your job or get a better job. You might also make your work station look more attractive. (These details are important to Libra. Who wants to work in a coal mine?)

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21)
This week is about pleasure, socializing with others, enjoying playful activities with children, appreciating the arts, exploring the entertainment world and participating or watching sports. Grab every chance to get out and enjoy yourself! Likewise, grab every chance to express your talents and creative energy. Meanwhile, respect your need for sleep. You need more sleep right now. Many of you will have compelling, powerful discussions with partners and close friends. You might even attract someone to you who is super powerful. (“Hi Darth.”) Strive to find a balance between important negotiations with partners and close friends and enjoying the good things in life.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 21)
You are high energy this week, and you’ll use this energy to work hard and get better organized. You’re keen to accomplish certain goals. In fact, you might surprise others by rolling up your sleeves and digging in hands-on! Meanwhile, certain issues about home and family need your attention. Caution because Mars can stir up trouble. You’re full of redecorating ideas and renovations, and shopping for your home. Does someone else want some input? You also want to entertain. It’s fortunate that since you have strong desires about what you want to do where you live – at the same time, you have the energy to put your plans in motion. Remember to work in cooperation with others.

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 19)
This is a playful, fun-loving time for you because the Sun is in your 5th House of amusements and recreation. Hey, you want to get out and have a good time! Relationships will be more lighthearted and fun-loving; and Mercury in this same place will make you prankish and playful! You want to use your mind for amusing past times, reading, writing and playing games that require mental agility. Sports and fun activities with kids will appeal. This is an excellent time for writers and artists because you will enjoy tapping into your creative talents. It’s also a blessed time for your sign because it’s easy for you to appreciate your surroundings and what you have in life, which makes everything so precious.

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 18)
Family matters and issues at home are where it’s at this week. Discussions will be serious, possibly because family secrets are revealed. Perhaps you realize the subtext of a situation that has been going on for a while? (You will no longer be fooled.) Home repairs might be at the top of the list for many. All of these things will trigger discussions about how to get things done. Fortunately, your finances look solid! Some have found a better paying job or how to make more money in another way. Because you’re feeling flush, many are buying beautiful things for yourself and your loved ones. It’s handy to have a bit of cash when you want to make some changes at home. Count your blessings.

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20)
This will be a fast-paced week full of fascinating diversions. Your mind will be interested in everything! You want to learn new things and mentally explore new turf because you practically have X-ray vision when it comes to seeing the motivations of others, and what goes on all around you. (It will be amusing as well as intriguing.) You will have many discussions with different people about a wide variety of subjects. You will also be convincing! Fortunately, with fair Venus and lucky Jupiter in your sign, you will be charming and appealing to everyone. This is an excellent week to buy wardrobe goodies for yourself. Get some physical exercise to blow off pent-up steam building within you because Mars is in your sign. Go, go, go!

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Weekly Horoscopes Beginning Sunday, 24 April 2022
~CelestialPrognostication


If you’re born within a cusp period (16 to 26 of any month); you’re advised to read horoscopes of both signs covered by that period. You’re on the border; you may have influences from houses within those signs.

Outlines are longer versions; consist of every possible detail of everyday and are based on three parts of each sign: 1st, 2nd & 3rd Decan; that is, any of three divisions of 10° within a sign of the zodiac. Even if you know or don’t know your Decan; I recommend, please read all three Decan.


Aries
Personal theme: I am!!

Fire & cardinal sign: March 21 — April 19

Your horoscope for this week:

You hate being bored. However, April’s fast-paced events were so demanding that even you’ve been overwhelmed. Now, finally, things slow enough you can review what you committed to in haste. Use this quiet period to consider what you still want to explore or, if possible, pursue. Better yet, you’ve time to rethink what you’ve done or committed to, seek expert advice or make any necessary changes.

A trying and troublesome situation will actually serve a useful purpose in that it brings a number of petty annoyances to a head. People will be looking to you to make the most important decisions because they know you will take action on what you decide on. What they won’t see is your uncertainty. Take a deep breath and trust that you will make the right moves and choices. Responsibilities you take on now will put you in touch with your leadership qualities.


Taurus
Personal theme: I have!!

Earth & fixed sign: April 20 — May 20

Your horoscope for this week:

The powerful Taurus eclipsed New Moon isn’t until Saturday, 30 April, but you may already be experiencing the breakthroughs – some welcome, others unsettling – that it’s triggering. For now, wait, watch and do nothing. If things seem urgent, remember, it may not be until the second of this pair of eclipses, on 16 May, that you’ll fully understand what’s going and what’s next.

With you feeling a little low at the start of the week you will also be annoyed with yourself for having made some firm plans. The last thing you want to do is disappoint anyone or leave them feeling as if you’ve let them down. Forcing yourself to continue with arrangements already made will be hard work but you will cope. Later, someone who holds a special corner of your heart will be determined to make a loving dream of yours come true.


Gemini
Personal theme: I think!!

Air sign: May 21 — June 20

Your horoscope for this week:

Usually, you’re the first to spot issues that need attention and, equally, worrying errors; but between the unsettling planetary setup now and as you move into the month of May, even the simplest of arrangements should be regarded as an experiment rather than anything lasting. You’ll soon forget troublesome issues and be delighted by unexpected discoveries. Long term plans? Ideally, they’ll wait until late May.

Keep a watchful eye on what is going on around you. You could learn something interesting by watching the comings and goings of your neighbours and friends. Sometimes you have to be perceptive before you can plan what your next moves might be. A willingness to share equally is the best way to gain the most from your relationships now. Try to show extra understanding of your partner’s feelings. Anything you are worried about can be shared with someone you can trust.


Cancer
Personal theme: I feel!!

Water & cardinal sign: June 21 — July 22

Your horoscope for this week:

Once you understand that even unsettling events are breakthroughs, although in an unexpected form, you’ll do only what’s necessary, but no more. Instead, you’ll consider changes that, in the past, you’ve avoided and, as important, you’ll explore the fascinating but unexpected ideas or offers coming your way. Once you stop worrying about making swift decisions or long-range plans, you’ll actually enjoy every twist and turn.

A friend of your partner’s or someone a housemate brings home one evening may start asking you some strange and weird questions. Don’t let your suspicion show but there is something secretive in the air. You suspect someone has been making arrangements without telling you anything about them. By the end of the week the truth will come out. Your judgement will be faultless when it comes to group and social concerns.


Leo
Personal theme: I will!!

Fire & fixed sign: July 23 — August 22

Your horoscope for this week:

Talk of life-changing plans is nothing new. Disappointingly few have actually become reality. Now, suddenly, the pace speeds up. It’s a relief, but you’re anxious about details. Talk things over with others and, equally, begin exploring on your own. You’ll not only learn a lot, certain of your own questions will finally be answered. That, alone, will boost your enthusiasm about this exciting yet unsettling cycle.

This isn’t the time for rushing into anything. In fact, this is more a time to rein in your energy. There’s a lot of enthusiasm in the air but you need to get together with others to discuss how to approach long-term plans of a joint nature. Don’t be hesitant about expressing your true feelings. Ask plenty questions so you can be sure you understand other people’s views. When you discover many actually share your vision, this will make the future all the more delightful.


Virgo
Personal theme: I analyse!!

Earth sign: August 23 — September 22

Your horoscope for this week:

Although you’ve been talking about certain intriguing ideas for weeks, you still have questions about pivotal facts. While, finally, some are answered, you soon realise the foundation on which plans are based is shifting. This knowledge gets you going, and you’re soon gathering information on your own. This is as interesting as it is informative, enough that suddenly you’ll take the lead in making things happen.

Messages received or given to the wrong person could contain information that will be useful for you to know. Even so, you need to be discreet and to keep some things to yourself. Forewarned is forearmed. Unexpected job news will give you something new to anticipate. Financially, there’s a good chance you will gain from the good fortune of others. It might be worth setting up a new savings or pension plan. A financial advisor’s recommendations are worth considering.


Libra
Personal theme: I balance!!

Air & cardinal sign: September 23 — October 22

Your horoscope for this week:

Between pressing practical matters and overdue discussions, especially regarding obligations to others, you’re overwhelmed. The secret? Pause. Take a day off. As a result, your priorities will be clearer. Better yet, you’ll realise certain once-worrying matters aren’t your problem. This, in turn, frees you to spend time with those you care about most. It also reminds you to reassess what, and who, you’ve been putting first.

A project you are working on with others will have been largely your idea. Now the pressure is on to make this successful. It might be a rush against time but keep focused on your goal. Don’t lose faith in your convictions. A new friendship, work relationship or romance will bring a little sunshine into your life. Are you single? The love bug could bite in which case no immunisation will protect you from the dizzying consequences.


Scorpio & Ophiuchus
Personal theme: I desire!!

Water & fixed signs: October 23 — November 21

Your horoscope for this week:

You understand what’s behind others’ sensitivity about certain matters. Still, whatever you say, they’re not ready to let go. Except now, sudden changes in your life are forcing them to rethink things, if not move on. Or so you hope. The trick? Simply proceed with your plans, quietly expecting them to join in, and without raising difficult questions. To your relief, it’s likely to work perfectly.

Patience is a virtue and a lot of patience will be needed as you wait to hear information regarding the future of a personal aim. If you pester those in the know for hints on the possible outcome, you could push them in the wrong direction. Steer clear of problems that are not of your making and of matters that should not involve you. It may be a challenge to solve other people’s dilemmas but it will also be taking you away from where you are meant to be.


Sagittarius
Personal theme: I see!!

Fire sign: November 22 — December 21

Your horoscope for this week:

Usually, you’ll eagerly venture out, exploring places, ideas and getting to know people. Yet, bizarrely, you’ve avoided certain situations, and often are unsure why. Now a combination of events and frank discussions reveals the source of your reluctance to take things further. This, in turn, puts you on a path of discovery as exciting as it is unexpected. Forget about planning. Take each day as it comes.

Tension in the domestic circle will make you wonder whether some plans will go ahead as previously agreed. With a little effort you should be able to stop certain family members from falling out completely. This may mean putting the needs of others before your own and although this sounds unfair, the situation will only be temporary. The future will bring you your just rewards. In all areas do your best to keep the atmosphere light.


Capricorn
Personal theme: I use!!

Earth & cardinal sign: December 22 — January 19

Your horoscope for this week:

Initially, certain issues seemed tricky, but nothing more. Now, suddenly, others are hotly arguing about what’s next. Tempting as it is to encourage reasonable discussion, for the moment, do the minimum. With eclipses on the 30th and in mid-May triggering yet more shakeups, focus on short term solutions. Others may be eager to explore options but caution is wise. The less you say, the better.

You can’t escape from a sense of responsibility to an older or younger relative. There are others, too, who should be helping but they aren’t. Eventually someone will admit to having not been as dutiful as they should have been towards the family. If there is any lingering resentment on your part you will be hiding it well. Someone will fail to get back to you with an answer to an important question. When they are ready, they will be in touch but not beforehand.


Aquarius
Personal theme: I know!!

Air & fixed sign: January 20 — February 18

Your horoscope for this week:

Although you’ve managed to prevent others getting too excited about changes that would alter your way of living or working, the circumstances seem overwhelming; and with eclipses, on 30 April and in mid-May, triggering shakeups, wait until then. Bizarrely, once you get involved, you’ll realise these changes aren’t just wise, they’re overdue. That will transform your thinking about these matters and, as a result, your future.

You need more freedom now to pursue your own aims. A close relationship is taking up far too much of your time. If someone you recently met is more needy than you expected them to be, you have a lot of thinking to do. It might be necessary for you to avoid a friend when their presence seems to be clouding your judgement. Don’t be so hard on yourself. If you aren’t happy there is no reason why you shouldn’t consider making changes in your life to improve your situation.


Pisces
Personal theme: I believe!!

Water sign: February 19 — March 20

Your horoscope for this week:

It took a lot of juggling, but you managed to avoid unsettling and, for some, upsetting changes. However, judging by the coming weeks’ planetary activity, certain long overdue shakeups aren’t just unavoidable, they’ll be hugely beneficial. However, this means reversing your attitude and, where possible, welcoming the unexpected. Get involved, slowly if you must. Within a short time, you’ll exchange those doubts for big time enthusiasm.

A job will flow smoothly until one small mistake knocks everything for six. It will feel as if it is all falling apart but stay calm, take a deep breath and you will find a way to get back on track. Tricky tasks can be handled best early on in the week when your mind is less cluttered with emotional issues. Later a family argument will make it difficult for you to think properly. Your mood will be changeable when one moment you will be keen on social plans and the next you will prefer to stay at home.

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Every Day is Earth Day! Love Your Mother!

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Goddess Blessings!
Live Well – Laugh Often – Love Much
High Priestess Training

http://GoddessSchool.com

Healing Arts and Pagan Studies
http://Goddessschool.com/Paganstudies/index.html
http://Goddessschool.com/Paganstudies/healingarts.html

The GoddessSchool ~ http://GoddessSchool.com

High Priestess Certification and Ancient Mystery Teachings
Herbalism 101
Herbalism 202
Herbalism 303

Earth Signs and Omens
Natural Witchcraft
Practical Magick: Spell Casting for Every Day Use
The Magic of Crystals
Introduction to Energy Healing
Introduction to Paganism
Introduction to Meditation
Introduction to The Goddess Tradition and The Feminine Divine
Kuan Yins Gentle Embrace Reiki Certification
A Year and a Day of Contemplation with Kuan Yin
Tarot, Numerology, Natal Charts and Dream Readings
Reiki Training and Certification

Herbs!!! Herbs!!! Herbs!!!
Interested in herbs and healing? Learn with GrannyMoon!
The Healing Arts Certificate Program Four great courses! Buy three get one free!
http://Goddessschool.com/Paganstudies/healingarts.html

WordPress: http://about.me/granny.moon
https://grannymoon.wordpress.com/about/

Follow Me On Facebook!
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Try it you will like it! Twitter @GrannyMooninVA

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GrannyMoon’s Weekly Feast
https://grannymoon.wordpress.com/

Teach a witch a spell and she can do that spell. Teach a witch the craft and she can do magick!

GrannyMoon, Teaching the Craft for over 20 years!

“We all come from the Goddess
And to Her we shall return
Like a drop of rain, going to the ocean”
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“May the circle be open, but unbroken,
May the love of the Goddess be ever in your heart.

Merry Meet and Merry Part
And Merry Meet Again

Never forget…you are magick!

Goddess Bless!
GrannyMoon

http://GoddessSchool.com
https://twitter.com/GrannyMooninVA
https://grannymoon.wordpress.com/

By GrannyMoon Posted in Pagan

GrannyMoons Weekly Feast: 17 Apr 2022

Keep close to Nature’s heart…
and break clear away, once in a while,
and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods.
Wash your spirit clean. ~John Muir

Blessed Be My Little Witch. To those who came before and those who will come after, know that the Goddess is with you always. Thank you all my dear readers…be blessed. ~GrannyMoon

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Dark Moon – Time to Rest
New Moon – Time to Begin New Projects; Birth; Attraction
Waxing Moon – Time to Grow; Increase
Full Moon – Time to be Fulfilled; Abundance
Waning Moon – Time to Banish; Decrease
Last Sliver of Moon – Time to Die; Letting Go
Dark Moon – Time to Rest Again
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Light A Candle Today!
In many different traditions lighting a candle is a sacred action. It expresses more than words can express. It has to do with gratefulness. From time immemorial, people have lit candles in sacred places. You may want to begin or end your day by the sacred ritual of lighting a candle on this gratefulness. Or you may want to light a birthday candle for a friend. One single guideline is all you need: Slow down and do it with full attention.

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Moon Phases
Full Moon April 16
Last Quarter April 23
New Moon April 30

Current Moon Phase: FULL MOON

Time: Approx. 14 days after New Moon (energy lasts from three days before to three days after actual full moon)

Goddess Aspect: Mother

Associated Goddesses: Danu, Cerridwen, Gaia, Aphrodite, Isis

Magickal Attributes: Manifesting goals, nurturing, passion, healing, strength, power. Workings on this day are for protection, divination.”extra power”, job hunting, healing serious conditions Also, love, knowledge, legal undertakings, money and dreams.

Celtic Tree Calendar Month ~ April 15 To May 12 ~ Willow
Willow is a very magical month, great for drawing down the moon and love spells.

Herb of the Year for 2022: Viola (violet, heartsease) named by the International Herb Association

Flower of the Month for April: Daisy

April is Native Plant Month

April is National Poetry Month

April is National Brunch Month

Goddess Month of Maia runs from 4/18 – 5/15

What’s Happening in April!?!

APR. 15-17: Feast of the Seas – Honoring God-Goddess as Olokun-Yemaya (Yoruba/Santeria) and Okeanos-Tethys (Old Greek).

APR. 22: Earth Day – Day to honor the Earth and to meditate on Deity manifesting as Mother Earth
APR. 22: Festival of Ishtar (Babylonian)
APR. 22: Feast of the Divine Couple (Japanese)
APR. 22: Feast of Elaphebolia (Greek)
APR. 22: Odin’s Day – Norse festival.
APR. 23: Festival of the Greenman—honoring the God of the Forest and vegetation.

MAY
May 1: BELTANE – Beltane is a Celtic/Gaelic festival that celebrates spring.

May 1: Samain – Southern Hemisphere.

May 1: Virginia Psychic Fair, Falls Church, VA. For info go to https://va-psychic-fair-2022.eventbrite.com

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Face to Face with GrannyMoon
Face to Face Class: Noon – 2:00 PM ~ The Magick of Crystals – April 24
Black Hat – April 30 – 7 PM – 9PM

Face to Face Class: 1 PM – 3 PM ~ WitchCrafting – May 1st
Reiki I and II: 3 PM – 5 PM
Face to Face Class: 1 PM – 3 PM ~ The Herbal Cauldron – May 8
Face to Face Class: Noon – 2:00 PM ~ The Magick of Crystals – May 15
Reiki III and Advanced: 1 PM – 3 PM – May 22
Black Hat – May 28 – 7 PM – 9PM

Join us at https://www.meetup.com/Witchy-Wednesdays/
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High Priestess Training with GrannyMoon
http://GoddessSchool.com

The entire course takes 15 months to complete (four levels). Tuition covers lessons, assignments, and instructor feedback. In addition, students may download guided meditation exercises and be eligible for Sabbats, Esbats, and retreats with the Sisterhood. The entire fee for each level is $120 (payment plan available), with sixteen lessons in each level, except the last.

Ceremonial Cords and frame-able Completion Certificates are awarded as members complete each level.
Level I – Initiate of the Sisters of the Burning Branch – White cord
Level II – Adept of the Sisters of the Burning Branch- Red cord
Level III – Priestess of the Sisters of the Burning Branch- Black cord
Level IV – High Priestess of the Sisters of the Burning Branch – Green cord

You Might Also Be Interested In:
http://goddessschool.com/Paganstudies/index.html
http://www.goddessschool.com/courses/natural/naturalwitch.html
http://goddessschool.com/Paganstudies/healingarts.html

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Learn About Herbs with GrannyMoon!

There is so much to learn about herbs! In Herbalism 101, we cover 21 herbs, and you will start your own personal Materia Medica, that we will build throughout the next levels. We will cover the basic aspects of herbs. From culinary to magickal, medicinal to ornamental. As well as the many modalities of herbs!

During this course, in addition to the on-line lessons and hands-on projects that you do at home, I will be sending you articles, and information, as well as questions about your own personal use and research.

I look forward to walking this green journey with you! I love herbs and I hope that you do too or will learn to!

There are 10 lessons in each level and there is no time limit for completion. You may study at your own pace! There are no texts to purchase.

For more info or to join my class, click here!
http://goddessschool.com/Paganstudies/healingarts.html

The cost for Level 1 is $50.00 or $150.00 for the entire Healing Arts Course (1-3) which includes a free Reiki certification course when all three are ordered at the same time!
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Earth Signs and Omens in Nature Course

Learn to read the mysteries of nature! The course covers signs and omens, communication, seasonal rites, trees and shrubs, flowers, plants and weeds, herbs, plant magick, the Guardians of Nature and much more.
http://goddessschool.com/courses/earthsigns/index.html

GrannyMoonsMail@yahoo.com

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The Goddess School Grimoire

http://www.lulu.com/shop/sotbb-Goddess-school/the-Goddess-school-grimoire/hardcover/product-762380.html
Hardcover: $39.45
Softback: $26.95
eBook (PDF): $6.25

The Goddess School Grimoire is a collection of recipes, artwork, poetry, prose, prayers, rituals, spells, and practical Goddess wisdom put together by the teachers, students, alumni, and friends of The Sisters of the Burning Branch Goddess School. The sisterhood is dedicated to restoring spiritual balance by returning the Divine Feminine to her rightful place and by assisting women in their personal and spiritual development. Since being founded by Head and High Mother Priestess Grandmother Moon in 2000, The Goddess School (GoddessSchool.com) has grown into a large and beautiful global community of women.

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Join Our Cat Community on Twitter! The Cat Philosophers! Must Love Cats!
https://twitter.com/i/communities/1508878853783048194

Three Rules

  1. Be kind and respectful.
  2. Keep Tweets on topic.
  3. Explore and share.

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Sea Magic: Part 1 April 23, 2022 2pm to 4pm
Sea Magic: Part 2 April 30, 2022 2pm to 4pm

Location: Sticks and Stones

Are you fascinated by the ocean?
Do you feel drawn to the sea?

Join me in a two-hour course that explores your individual connection to her! After connecting to the sea through Ocean breathes and a short guided meditation, collaborate and learn alongside others as we create our own Ninefold Sea Blessing and enchant our own sea charms.

Materials provided:
interactive notebook, sea water, beach sand, all items needed to create your own enchanted charm bag.

Please bring:
an open heart, open mind, and willingness to share and collaborate.

Instructor: Ember Moon
Cost: $30

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Coventry Creations
Astro Magic Forecast for April 18, 2022 – April 24, 2022

This week is bookended by groups of astrological aspects, but not a lot happens midweek.

We begin the week with two troublesome aspects, as Mercury conjoins Uranus and the Sun squares Pluto. Mercury conjoining Uranus speeds up thinking dramatically. Ideas flow rapidly and they are difficult to control. It’s very easy to jump to conclusions, and it may be fueled by Sun square Pluto’s obsessive tendencies. You may feel that outside influences are trying to pressure and control you, and it’s easy to see how this combination can get out of control. Working with these two energies is tough, but you need to control your impulse to act and try to let things settle before making decisions. Ultimately, you may choose to purge some things from your life but do so at a more fortuitous time. Just remember, blowing your life up is a color that never looked good on anyone.

Since the Sun and Mercury move relatively quickly, the storm clouds should clear midweek as the Moon moves through fiery Sagittarius. You may see your big picture objectives more clearly, and this could help immensely. Try to take some time to do something enjoyable and stress-free.

Finally, this weekend, Mercury squares Saturn and sextiles Neptune. Although you may want to escape the troubles of the real world, the real world will not let you out of its grasp. You may feel that people do not understand you, and it may be difficult to express yourself to others at this time. Approach things as practical as possible, and try to manage your thought processes the best you can. This weekend will definitely be a mental battlefield, and you need to prepare accordingly.

Recommended: Sun (Astro Magic), Guardian Protector (Affirmations), Spiritual Cleansing (Blessed Herbal)

Here’s what you missed on CoventryCreations.com this week…

What is Candle Magic?
Magic101

Ironically, this is a difficult question for me to answer as candle magic is part of my DNA. It is like asking me what air is. I immediately jump into the science and history of magic with big explanations when, really, we can start with the obvious of answers.

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Llewellyn’s Spell A Day
National Haiku Poetry Day

APRIL 17, 2022 BY TESS WHITEHURST

In addition to Easter Sunday, today is National Haiku Poetry Day. Compose a haiku to describe and represent what you will be releasing during the waning moon. As you may know, a haiku is a Japanese form of short poetry composed of three lines only, the first and third lines containing five syllables and the second line containing seven. There are two other traditional elements to include. First, a “cutting word” (kireji) should be placed at the end of the second or third line. Think of this as a question, an exclamation, or another incisive word that breaks up the verse or otherwise asks the reader to pause. Second, a seasonal reference (kigo) is also included in a haiku, so you may also want to include a word or phrase that is evocative of spring. Take your time until your haiku feels just right, then place it on your altar as a reminder of what you are releasing. Leave it there until the dark moon on the 29th.
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Scrying with the Moon
APRIL 16, 2022 BY ARI MANKEY

On the night of the full moon, fill a dark-colored bowl with fresh water and place in a spot where it will reflect the light of the moon. This can be outdoors or near a window. Once you see the image of the moon in your water, take the index finger of your dominant hand (or a wand or athame) and gently stir the water in a clockwise direction. As you stir the water, relax your visual focus and say:

Power of the moon, shining bright,
Let me see the future tonight.
In these waters grant me second sight,
Visions powered by the moon’s light!

Let your mind wander as your unfocused eyes look upon the swirling water. The power of the moon should charge your water and help you peek into the future. After any vision received, stir the water once again to reset your scrying.
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Growing into Spring
APRIL 15, 2022 BY ELIZABETH BARRETTE

Today is Good Friday (Christian), and Passover begins at sundown ( Jewish). Good Friday recommends virtues such as silence or selflessness, while Passover favors faith and hope. Also, spring is a good time for any magical work that relates to growth.

Look up a list of virtues. Which ones appeal to you and which don’t? Which are things you already practice, and which are ones you would like to acquire?

Mark the virtues you would like to acquire. Look up each one and explore what it would mean to embody that virtue. Whittle down your list until you have one virtue that you most want to learn.

Meditate on your new virtue. Think about ways to express it in your life. What, if anything, will you need to add? What, if anything, will you need to give up?

Take a walk in the greening spring. Draw its energy into yourself. Seek opportunities to try out your new virtue for the rest of the day.
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Take It Back Spell
APRIL 14, 2022 BY JAMES KAMBOS

Have you ever wished you could take back a spell and make it powerless? This ritual will help you do that. You’ll need two candles, one red and one black. Place the candles on your altar. The red candle should be on the left and the black candle on the right. Safely light each candle, and sit before them. Ground and center. Think of your spell and why you think it went wrong. Then look at the candles and say:

Spirits red, spirits black,
Somehow I went off track.
Spirits red, spirits black,
I cancel the spell and take it back!

Now safely snuff out the red candle. Let the black candle continue to burn. In your mind, see the flame of the black candle absorbing the original spell’s power until it’s gone. Then snuff out the black candle safely. When both candles are cool, throw them away.
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Written on the Door
APRIL 13, 2022 BY NATALIE ZAMAN

In the Middle Ages it was not uncommon to write spells of protection around a door jamb— the portal through which the occupants of a house (or barn) came and went. For extra protection to guard against illness as the weather changes and allergy season approaches, write this spell in chalk around the inside of your front door:

To all who come and go from here,
Health and wellbeing shall adhere!
Bring nothing back that carries ill,
So mote it be, this is my will!

Renew the words as needed as the year progresses.
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Dreams to Reality
APRIL 12, 2022 BY DALLAS JENNIFER COBB

Summer seems so far off, but it really is just a tick in time away. Gather your calendar and a pen and do a manifesting spell. Cast a circle for protection. Call in the directions:

East, bring the winds of inspiration.
South, fan the fire of dreams.
West, fill me with watery creation.
North, make real what I need.

On your calendar, mark out times to take vacations: a half day spirited away from work, a weekend escape, or a weeklong absence from your work, home, town, and chores. Say this out loud:

My calendar is marked, and
I have planted the seeds.
I consciously tend this garden of dreams.
Growing joy, freedom, and relaxation,
Manifest my desired summer vacations.
Time in nature, with family and friends,
This is what my calendar portends.
So mote it be.
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A Prosperity Spell Jar
APRIL 11, 2022 BY SUSAN PESZNECKER

In the US, it’s tax season, and many of us are thinking a lot about money and prosperity. Create a prosperity jar to ease your mind and see to your future prosperity.

You’ll need a lidded pint-size jar, an LED tealight candle, a small piece of paper, a green ink pen, and some or all of the following items: a green gem, stone, or crystal (citrine, malachite, jade, moss agate, or fluorite); a number of coins; a four-leaf clover (make one with green paper if you can’t find a real one); a bay leaf; some rosemary; a small gold item; and a one-dollar bill, rolled and tied with a gold or green cord.

Place everything but the tealight in the jar. On the paper, write:

PROSPERITY LUCK MONEY
GOOD FORTUNE

Roll this into a scroll, add to the jar, and screw on the lid.

To use, turn on the LED candle and place it on or behind the jar, illuminating its contents. Repeat:

Providential energies; may luck
and prosperity come to me.

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Heartwings Love Notes 1030 Easter Thoughts

Heartwings says, “Rebirth, renewal, and refresh are all appropriate Easter words.”

The original collector and editor of the Grimm fairy tales was a folklorist. He said that the eggs associated with the celebration of Easter were used as an offering to the Anglo Saxon/Germanic Goddess of Spring, Eostre. She gave her name to Easter as well. As it is celebrated at the first full moon after the Equinox, the onset of spring, that does seem fitting.
Jacob and his brother Wilhelm Grimm, though today known mainly for the series of fairy and folk tales they collected, were well known in the 19th century for their research and scholarly publications. Their collected tales–some of which have become very famous, have delighted children and adults for many, many years; their scholarly reputation is less well known.
Easter is part of a celebration of spring that has a long history reaching way back before the present Christian era. I even read somewhere that dyed eggs like the ones we associate with the holiday were found in Germany dating back to the bronze age. Other sources trace colored eggs to Mesopotamia and Persia. Eggs as a fertility symbol are surely an appropriate one for the new and renewed life of spring.
Easter is for some people a religious holiday and for others an opportunity to gather and to treat the young ones to fun candy and colored eggs. Plenty of Easter candy items appear in the stores beginning after Valentine’s Day and continuing until after the holiday. Marshmallow chicks and bunnies have been around for more years than I can remember. I searched but could not locate the year they were invented.
There are some fun customs clustered around Easter. One is to have new clothes to wear that day. The Easter parade is another tradition. The most famous one is on Fifth Avenue in New York City. Families gather dressed in their best and stroll along streets where sidewalks are lined with spectators. Fashionable hats and clothing are important factors in the traditional stroll.
New clothes are an important part of Easter. Superstition says that one to three new items are to be worn on that day. It has also been said it is bad luck not to wear something new. What I remember from my childhood, is wearing a wonderful wide-brimmed straw hat with a blue grosgrain ribbon that went around the crown and hung down the back. My dress probably had a sash, and perhaps some kind of fancy stitching that was popular at the time.
When they were small, two years running I made my young daughters matching corduroy coats, and we went to my dad’s church for the service. Perhaps plants were given afterward to the children. I know I made the coats, but I may be remembering the geraniums I was given there when I was young. Memories blend with the years. What is important is not exactly what happened, but the gathering of the family and the celebration of the day. Precious memories of that joy remain long after the details fade with time.

May your Easter memories bring you joy always.
Blessings and best regards, Tasha Halpert

PS Do you have any Easter memories to share with me? I’d love to hear any you might be willing to tell me. It’s always a treat to hear from readers, and though I do try to respond in a timely manner, sometimes life gets in the way, lol. My email is tashahal@aol.com and website is http://www.heartwingsandfriends.com.

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Creating What We Don’t Want

When our thoughts become consumed with worry, we become a beacon of worry to the world.

If prayer is an intention that we announce to the universe in order to create a desired outcome, then our every thought is a prayer. This includes thoughts of worry as well as of hope. All thoughts are subtle creative energy. Some thoughts are more focused or repeated more often, gathering strength. Some are written down or spoken, giving them even greater power. Every thought we have is part of a process whereby we co-create our experience and our reality with the universe. When we use our creative energy unconsciously, we create what is commonly known as self-fulfilling prophecy. In essence, when we worry, we are repeatedly praying and lending our energy to the creation of something we don’t want.

The good news is that we can re-train our minds and thoughts to focus our energy on what we do desire to bring into our lives. Since most worry is repetitive, it will take more than one positive thought to counteract the energy we’ve created. The simplest antidote to worry is affirmations. When we hold these positive thoughts, repeat them often, speak them and write them and refer to them throughout our day, we are using focused energy to create positive results.

We can start right away, together: I am a creative being, using my energy to cocreate a wonderful world. I know that I create my experience of life from within, and as I do so, I also create ripples of energy around me that echo into the world. My positive thoughts gather together with the thoughts and prayers of others, and together we create enough positive energy to heal not only our own lives but the world we share. I am grateful for the ability to cocreate good in my life and in the world.

A lot of times we have concerned loved ones that worry about us. When this happens they are also sending out a worry prayer to the world. A loving conversation letting them know what is happening is the easiest solution. Also, ask them to send you positive affirmations rather than worry about you. After all, worry doesn’t do them any good either. Explain to them that worry can actually be energetically harmful to you and that wishing good things for you is much more beneficial and much more fun too.

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Stones for Beltane
~Author Unknown to Me

Physical protection is a basic necessity, as there really are all sorts of things out there that are ‘out to get us’. This ranges from other people to animals, to the elements, to big business, to anything else that can ruin the delicate balance of our equilibrium. Sometimes, we must be protected from ourselves.

But there are magickal ways that we can bolster our personal protections as well.
For example, when I know I’m going to be around people who drain my energy, I’ve created a small bag with tourmaline, tourmalinated quartz, and hematite. All of these things deal with negativity, and they help me to feel grounded. I added in a little rosemary and some rosemary oil to further that protective energy. I also like to place a piece of hematite in each window and over each door, because it absorbs negativity.
Here are some common stones and herbs used in protection magick. I’ve only included the most readily available and most protective, as there are tons of stones and herbs with protective properties. As with any other ritual use, the intention you put into the item is the most important thing.

Amber: Brings stability and transmutes negative energy into positive energy.
Amethyst: High spiritual vibration guards against psychic attack, transmuting the energy into spiritual and love energy. Also blocks negative environmental energies. Protects against drunkenness.
Black tourmaline (and tourmalinated quartz): Protective during rituals. Points out the cause of negativity or trouble. Disperses negativity, and also protects against electromagnetism, radiation, psychic attack, spells, ill-wishing, and defends against disease. Also bolsters the immune system.
Bloodstone: Banishes evil and negative energy. Also strengthens personal defenses.
Fire Agate: Grounding energy promotes safety and security, builds a protective shield around the body. Returns harmful energy back to the sender with a clear message where the harm is being returned from.
Hematite: Absorbs negativity by absorbing it from the aura and the environment. Must be cleansed often, or it will then become ‘full’, and begin to radiate the same negativity out. Also, strengthening and confidence-building.
Jet: Protects against violence and illness, also protects during spiritual journeying from ‘entities of darkness’, also stabilizes finances and protects businesses.
Labradorite: Deflects unwanted energies from the aura and prevents energy leakage. Creates a barrier to negativity.
Malachite: Absorbs negativity and pollution, including radioactive and electromagnetic pollution.
Obsidian: Forms a shield against negativity and blocks psychic attack, also helps with grounding.
Pyrite: Excellent energy shield, also blocks pollutants and disease. Protects subtle and physical bodies. Blocks energy leaks.
Smoky Quartz: Neutralizes negative energy, replacing it with positive energy.
Sardonyx (and black onyx): Can be gridded around home or placed at points of entry (windows and doors) to protect against crime.
Tiger’s eye: Traditionally carried as a talisman against curses.

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Working with Deity, Choosing Gods and Goddesses

Just like we use the energies of herbs and crystals, the elements, elementals, and familiars to help us in our spellwork we also call the energies of chosen Deities. Once we have decided our intent, we chose the moon phase, days and planets, herbs, oils, crystals, and elements to help us in this intent. We may also call a God and or Goddess. You do not have to use the same God or Goddess each time. So for a spell needing courage and fortitude you may call Athena or for a spell for fertility, you may call Persephone.

As well as choosing Deity for spellwork we also choose Gods and Goddesses for ritual and celebration. Some Wiccans use the generic Lord and Lady of the triple goddess in one of her aspects, others are drawn to a few particular gods and goddesses.

Choosing your Personal God & Goddess can be difficult to grasp for anyone who is new to their path, and has little to no concept, of who or what the Gods & Goddesses are and what they mean to them. In this situation, the first thing to do is hit the books or the internet and do some reading, use the information to familiarize yourself with a selection of Gods & Goddesses and the different Pantheons. It will then be easier to select a Pantheon that appeals to you and from there you can focus on individual Gods & Goddesses within that Pantheon and see which ones ‘speak’ to you. It may be that Isis and Cernunnos appeal to you, both are from different Pantheons but that doesn’t matter, your guiding Deities don’t have to be from the same Pantheon. Nor do they have to be the only ones you work with in the future.

There’s a lot of confusion caused by the sheer number of Deities to choose from, but don’t get to bogged down with the choice. If you think that working through all the different Pantheons to find ‘the one’ is too difficult to start, then just think of the God & Goddess as single entities, you may decide this works for you and continue this way on your Path for good. Many people do, there is a belief amongst some Pagans that all Gods are one God, and all Goddesses are one Goddess, meaning that it doesn’t matter which Deity you work with as they’re all really the same ones. Whatever anybody tells you, there is absolutely nothing wrong with worshipping one God and Goddess. When I first started on my Path I was very unsure, in ritual, and when seeking guidance I simply referred to them as the Lord & Lady.

In time, my God & Goddess made themselves known to me. Today I work with a variety of Gods & Goddesses depending on what spell or ritual I’m doing. If you feel that you want to work with more than one God & Goddess, and feel that they are all individual and not just one and that you would prefer to work with one specific God or Goddess or a set of Gods & Goddesses then you can, but how do you choose?

One way to find your personal deities is to meditate and ask that your God & Goddess make themselves known to you. Then watch your life carefully for any signs of the God and Goddess trying to get your attention. Don’t forget that the Path you’ve chosen is unique and personal to you and experiences are different from one person to the next. So if there doesn’t seem to be any signs or you can’t master the art of meditation, then it’s up to you to take the matters into your own hands and find your God & Goddess yourself. Look again at the various Pantheons and get a feel for them. Choose a God or Goddess that you feel would suit you, for example, if you have an affinity with cats and Egypt, Bast would be an ideal candidate to research for your Goddess.

I often find that people are drawn to their God and Goddess through many different reasons. Some think that because it wasn’t given to you whilst meditating or in ritual that somehow it means less. I don’t agree. I think just like you are drawn to Wicca you are also drawn to your gods and goddesses. You may even have been fascinated by them from childhood and they may have been in your daydreams where you made stories about them.

by Kernow Wytch

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Essential Oils: Frankincense (Boswellia)
~ Andrew Weil, M.D.

Frankincense (Boswellia) is a resin obtained from the Boswellia, a large branching tree native to India, the Middle East and North Africa. It has been used as incense in religious and cultural ceremonies since antiquity. Clinical trials have shown that boswellic acid, the principal active component, has anti-inflammatory action comparable to that of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS). Frankincense has been used to treat osteoarthritis, ulcerative colitis and bronchial asthma as well as colic and intestinal gas. It has also been studied for possible anti-cancer effects.

Frankincense Uses:
Arthritis: Applying frankincense essential oil topically may reduce the inflammation, pain and stiffness of rheumatoid arthritis. One randomized controlled trial found that Boswellia extract provided better pain control than a placebo for osteoarthritis, and other research showed that it might decrease joint pain by 32 to 65 percent.
Asthma: Frankincense essential oil is widely promoted for treatment of asthma. Results of a double blind, placebo-controlled study from Germany, published in 1998, showed that 70 percent of the patients treated with 300 mg of boswellia gum resin three times a day for six weeks showed improvement, compared to only 27 percent of patients in A control group.
Cancer: Laboratory studies have shown that frankincense has potential anticancer activity, including slowing the replication of cancer cells and killing some of them. However, to date no research has shown that it is useful in treating cancer in humans.
Menstrual cramps: No scientific research supports the use of frankincense for this purpose.
Ulcerative colitis: A preparation from Boswellia serrata gum resin led to remission of ulcerative colitis in 82 percent of treated patients in an Indian study published in 1997.

Cautions:
While considered safe for adults, some evidence indicates that using frankincense essential oil on the skin can cause contact dermatitis. We don’t know enough about the safety of using frankincense during pregnancy and breast-feeding, so it is best to avoid it at these times. Do not put frankincense essential oil directly on your skin. Dilute it with a carrier oil first. Ingesting boswellia extract may increase the risk of bleeding if you take blood-thinning medication.

Dr. Weil’s View On Frankincense
Natural anti-inflammatory herbs including boswellia may work as well as aspirin and ibuprofen for treating osteoarthritis. Follow package directions and give it at least two months before deciding if it is working for you.

Sources:
Gupta , V. Gupta , A. Parihar A, et al. “Effects of Boswellia serrata gum resin in patients with bronchial asthma: results of a double-blind, placebo-controlled, 6-week clinical study.” European Journal of Medical Research, November 17, 1998.

Gupta, A. Parihar, P. Malhotra et al, ”Effects of Boswellia serratagum resin in patients with ulcerative colitis.”European Journal of Medical Research, January 1997.

J.E. Chrubasik, B.D. Roufogalis, S. Chrubasik, “Evidence of effectiveness of herbal anti-inflammatory drugs in the treatment of painful osteoarthritis and chronic low back pain.” Phytotherapy Research, July 2007.

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Recognizing Your Value

Change your thinking to knowing that your life matters, and that you are important.

It can be easy sometimes to buy into the illusion of our own insignificance. We may see large corporations or institutions, celebrities or successful people in our community, and compare ourselves to them, thinking that their fame or material power affirm how little our own lives amount to. But nothing could be further from the truth. Every single one of us matters — tremendously. Our very existence affects countless people in countless ways. And because we are each essentially a microcosm of the larger universe, our internal experiences affect the whole of life more than we could ever imagine. The world simply could not exist as it does now if you, or any one of us, were not in it.

Perhaps you are aware that on some level you believe your life does not matter. If this thought resonates within you, maybe it is time to explore why you feel this way. You may have formed self-rejecting or belittling beliefs as a child to keep yourself safe or to help you make sense of confusing situations. You may have felt unseen or unheard and decided that there was something wrong with you, rather than with the attention span of the people around you. Spend some time looking into where these feelings of insignificance first took root, and see what changes you might be able to make in your life and in your heart.

This one belief in your own unimportance could be limiting you and impacting your life in enormous ways. When you shift your perceptions around your own ability to affect your life and impact the world, you may discover wonderful parts of yourself that you had long ago forgotten. There may even be exciting new parts that you never even knew existed. When you gain awareness of how much your life really does matter, new sources of energy can emerge and your sense of connection with the world is renewed.

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Stone Soup

Imagine a world in which we all shared our gifts and bounty with each other, rather than focusing on self-preservation.

There are many variations on the story of stone soup, but they all involve a traveler coming into a town beset by famine. The inhabitants try to discourage the traveler from staying, fearing he wants them to give him food. They tell him in no uncertain terms that there’s no food anywhere to be found. The traveler explains that he doesn’t need any food and that, in fact, he was planning to make a soup to share with all of them. The villagers watch suspiciously as he builds a fire and fills a cauldron with water. With great ceremony, he pulls a stone from a bag, dropping the stone into the pot of water. He sniffs the brew extravagantly and exclaims how delicious stone soup is. As the villagers begin to show interest, he mentions how good the soup would be with just a little cabbage in it. A villager brings out a cabbage to share. This episode repeats itself until the soup has cabbage, carrots, onions, and beets — indeed, a substantial soup that feeds everyone in the village.

This story addresses the human tendency to hoard in times of deprivation. When resources are scarce, we pull back and put all of our energy into self-preservation. We isolate ourselves and shut out others. As the story of stone soup reveals, in doing so, we often deprive ourselves and everyone else of a feast. This metaphor plays out beyond the realm of food. We hoard ideas, love, and energy, thinking we will be richer if we keep them to ourselves, when in truth we make the world, and ourselves, poorer whenever we greedily stockpile our reserves. The traveler was able to see that the villagers were holding back, and he had the genius to draw them out and inspire them to give, thus creating a spread that none of them could have created alone.

Are you like one of the villagers, holding back? If you come forward and share your gifts, you will inspire others to do the same. The reward is a banquet that can nourish many.

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The Sun Is Always Shining

If darkness has fallen, know that the Sun is shining at this very moment, somewhere not too far away.

There are times when gloom or darkness causes us to momentarily lose sight of the light. Although it is at these times when the thought of the sun can help us. Its warm, glowing rays brighten even our thoughts, and it’s good to remember that despite appearances the sun is shining right now. We may not be able to see it at this very moment, but if clouds block our view, they are only filtering the sun’s light temporarily. If darkness has fallen, we know that the sun is still shining at this very moment somewhere not too far away, and it’s only a matter of time before it will shine on us again.

When we remember that the sun is still shining, we know that things are still in motion in the universe. Even if life feels like it is at a standstill, sometimes all we need to do is have faith and wait for the time when everything is in its perfect place. Or we can we can choose to follow the cues of the sun and continue doing our work and shining our light, even when we can’t yet see results. In doing so we exercise our patience, making sure we are prepared when opportunity knocks and all other elements are in their right and perfect places.

The sun also reminds us that our own shining truth is never extinguished. Our light shines within us at all times, no matter what else occurs around us. Though the sun gives us daily proof of its existence, sometimes our belief in our own light requires more time. If we think back, however, we can find moments when it showed itself and trust that we will see it again. Like the sun, our light is the energy that connects us to the movements of the universe and the cycles of life and is present at all times, whether we feel its glow or not.

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Yogurt-Lime Drink | Recipes | Dr. Weil’s Healthy Kitchen

Serves 6:
Per serving:
Calories 132.4
Fat 2.6 g
Saturated Fat 2.4 g (6% of calories from fat)
Protein 2.1 g
Carbohydrate 21.2 g
Cholesterol 2 mg
Fiber 0.1 g

This recipe is from The Healthy Kitchen – Recipes for a Better Body, Life, and Spirit (Hardcover) by Andrew Weil, M.D. and Rosie Daley (Knopf)

This versatile beverage may be made with just yogurt, or you may blend in various fruits. The coconut milk, cinnamon, and cloves provide a mellow flavor.

This is a versatile beverage because you have the choice of making it with just yogurt; adding fruit and blending it just enough to transform the drink into a whipped, frothy, chunky fruit beverage; or adding frozen fruit to create a dessert drink.

Food as Medicine
Coconuts and coconut oil are high in lauric acid and contains trace amounts of caprylic acid, both of which appear to have antiviral and antifungal properties, and support immune function. According to the USDA, one lime contains 1.9 grams of fiber and 19.5 milligrams of vitamin C, as well as small amounts of iron, potassium, zinc, and calcium.

Ingredients
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1 cup plain yogurt
1/3 cup honey
2 cups purified water
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
14 ounces canned light coconut milk
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Instructions
Mix the ingredients together in a bowl. Chill for 2 hours. Pour into 8-ounce glasses, sprinkle cinnamon on top, and serve.

** In light of recent research, Dr. Weil no longer recommends reduced-fat dairy products unless you happen to prefer the taste.

Tips from Rosie’s Kitchen:
To create a Tropical Shake: Add 2 cups frozen fruit, or 1 cup fresh fruit and 1 cup ice. I recommend papaya or peeled and sliced peaches (about 1/2 papaya or 3 peaches). Use a blender to blend everything together. Garnish with a sprinkling of cinnamon and a straw.

Peach-Yogurt Lime Drink: For a different kind of fruit taste and some festivity, add 1 pitted peach, sliced in half, to the yogurt-lime drink and pulse it in the blender just enough to blend the fruit but maintain some chunks. Pour 1/2 cup into each of 6 cups and serve. The delicate chunks of peach will color the frothy coconut milk with hues of red, pink, and yellow.

Andy Suggests:
I would also substitute cashew milk for the coconut milk.

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Ghost Hunting Theories
Lake Vacations With a Spooky Vibe

Ah, a vacation at the lake. It sounds like the perfect retreat. But, if you like a bit of romantic atmosphere, spooky lingering fog, stomping monsters in the woods, strange lights, a lake vacation can be so much more than a paddle boat and some Smores.
If you’re looking for UFOs, pick a lake away from big city lights.
If you’re looking to have a Bigfoot encounter, pick a higher elevation wooded area lake.
If you’re looking for a cursed lake, do a google search for a prospective lake and the word “haunted.”

How about a haunted or cursed lake?
Lake Ronkonkoma in New York
Hold onto your blanket and pull your feet up off the floor and be safe. Here’s a legend of a lake haunted by a beautiful Indian Princess who likes to claim men at the lake to join her in the deep recesses for eternity.

The legend says this princess fell in love with a white settler who claimed a homestead near the lake. Her father forbade her marrying the man. They would repeatedly send each other love messages. The princess would paddle halfway out on the lake and push a message toward his shore. After years of this lovesick connection, the princess lost her mind. She supposedly sent her lover one last note of farewell and the note and her boat washed up on his shore. She had killed herself on the lake. The legend also says that over the past 200 years, one man has died on the lake each year.

Stow Lake in California
The legend has lasted for 100 years that a woman was strolling her baby near the lake in Golden Gate Park and she stopped to sit down, talked to another lady, and her stroller rolled downhill into the lake, drowning the baby. It is said that after searching for her baby all day, during the night she checked the lake, entering it and never coming back. Her supposed spirit has taken on a “white lady” theme.

Source: It is rumored that if someone goes to Stow Lake at night, weird occurrences take place. Stories have been told that the lady comes up from the lake, or the statue in her honor comes to life, or she will come up to you and ask, “Have you seen my baby?” Other reports say if you drive there with your friends in a group of cars, all the cars will stall at the same time. Another rumor is said that, if someone says “White lady, white lady, I have your baby” three times, the lady will appear. She’ll ask you, “Have you seen my baby?” If you say yes, she’ll haunt you, and if you say no, she’ll kill you.

Drew University Lake in New Jersey
In the woods close to the arboretum at Drew University is a lake. It is reportedly haunted by a lady in blue. The spirit apparently likes to trip people and her apparition has been seen. People also report things such as feeling uneasy, as if they are being watched, and even cold spots.

How about a lake that has Bigfoot sightings?
Lake James, North Carolina
Avacado Lake, California
Salt Fork State Park lakes, Ohio
Pat Mayse Lake, Texas
Crater Lake, Oregon

Want a UFO sighting?
Crater Lake, Oregon
This deepest lake in Oregon has had many missing planes, helicopters, people, Bigfoot, and UFO sightings.

Eagle Lake, Allagash, Maine
In the mid-1970s, two brothers and their two friends went camping at a lake in Maine and had missing time. Later on, after hypnosis, they were able to recall abduction by aliens.

Lake Superior
Lake Michigan
Falcon Lake, Manitoba
Lake Elsinore, California

If you don’t plan to go away this summer, at least make some smores and hunker down for some good horror movies that take place at lakes (*my favorites) –

*The People Across the Lake (free on YouTube)
*Friday the 13th (series)
Mermaid: Lake of the Dead
*Cabin by the Lake
*In Dreams
*Lake Placid
House by the Lake
Eden Lake
Lake Mungo

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GRAVESTONE CLEANING TIPS FROM BILLIONGRAVES
by Cathy Wallace

Gravestone cleaning can turn back the wheels of time to make your ancestor’s final resting place nearly as beautiful as the day their family members gathered there to wish them farewell.

Time has been hard on gravestones that were originally considered nearly permanent. Weathering, erosion, neglect, and vandalism have all taken their toll.

While some of this damage cannot be reversed, in other cases, preservation and prevention can make all the difference. And as more people become interested in genealogical research, there is a greater desire to preserve what is left of our ancestor’s legacies in stone.

By cleaning and caring for historic resting places you can provide an opportunity for future generations to glimpse the past. Then burial grounds will become treasures of information that would otherwise have been forgotten or lost.

BillionGraves and Save Your Stones
BillionGraves has partnered with the gravestone preservation company Save Your Stones to provide you with the best guidelines and tools for cleaning your family headstones.

The owner of Save Your Stones, Jarrod Roll, is a professional museum curator in Sparta, Wisconsin. Roll was trained during graduate school to clean stone, so it was a natural step for him to begin a gravestone preservation business.

Save Your Stones now brings its 13 years of gravestone cleaning expertise to BillionGraves. You will benefit by being able to not only clean your ancestor’s headstones with a BillionGraves Gravestone Cleaning Kit but also take photos with the free BillionGraves app. The gravestones will not only shine again, but they will have a GPS-linked image posted on BillionGraves.com for your family members to enjoy for generations to come.

Why Should You Clean a Gravestone?
There are two main reasons to clean a gravestone. First, it may need to be cleaned to preserve its structural integrity. For example, plant roots can creep into the stone and cause cracking that may split the stone. Lichen can eat away at the surface causing it to crumble.

And second, plant growth or darkening can obscure names, dates, and other data. Correct and careful cleaning procedures, as used by professional conservationists, can keep the stone readable and prevent future deterioration.

When Should You NOT Clean a Gravestone?
Before you get started, it is important to decide if a headstone really needs to be cleaned.

Sometimes cleaning is done needlessly. For instance, it can be easy to mistake the natural patina of aging for dirt. Marble headstones will not look as white as the day they were set because the nature of marble is to change color as it is exposed to the elements. It may be best to leave those stones alone.

Next, consider the effect that cleaning solutions and methods will have on the stone. Then weigh the benefits against the potential risk of possibly damaging the surface. Cleaning may only make damage worse if the gravestone is already flaking or peeling.

Finally, assess the stability of the monument. Sometimes after careful consideration, it may be best to decide to leave the gravestone in its current state.

Avoid cleaning the headstone just to honor the memory of your loved one. Only clean it if it is really needed. Bless your heart for wanting to do it, but let’s find other ways to keep their memory alive!

Sources of Gravestone Damage
There are several reasons you will want to consider gravestone cleaning. Cleaning can be so important to prevent decay to the stone. Damage is caused to gravestones by . . .

Biological growth
Soiling
Staining

Understand Laws and Regulations
BillionGraves subscriber, Doug McCallum, the son of a cemetery commissioner, said, “It is critical to know the local ordinances. In some places, cleaning any stone – no matter how safe the product – would be considered vandalism and may make you subject to large fines. It is 100% important to ask permission before doing any modification to a stone.”

McCallum’s father noted that some Revolutionary War monuments in the northeastern United States were being damaged by well-intentioned people.

So please, use common sense in considering the condition of a gravestone. Be careful, seek permission, and check online for any pertinent cemetery, city, county, state, or federal ordinances pertaining to the area where you wish to clean a gravestone.

Source of Gravestone Damage #1: Biological Growth
Biological growth in the cemetery is just what it sounds like – living things growing on the gravestones such as moss, lichen, algae, fungi, mold, and other plant life. And while a headstone covered with ivy or fringed with moss and lichen may give a sense of antiquity and nostalgia to the cemetery, it is also extremely damaging. If left untreated, biological growth can cause headstones to crack, crumble, and split over time.

Algae, fungi, and lichen
Algae, fungi, and lichen may be green, gray, black, red, orange, yellow, blue, or brown. These organisms can damage headstones by trapping moisture on the stone and beneath the surface of the stone. Then as temperatures change, the moisture freezes and thaws. Consequently, thermal expansion and contraction cause cracking and flaking.

The trapped moisture also continues to foster the growth of additional algae, fungi, and lichen, which extend into the pores of the stone. Then as the moisture levels fluctuate, the “roots” or hyphae of these living organisms swell and shrink causing cracking, peeling, and flaking to occur.

Plants
Plants – such as grass, ivy, moss, and ferns – that grow on or under gravestones can be damaging because their roots penetrate the stone and cause splitting. And like algae, fungi, and lichen, they also trap moisture.

If you’ve ever seen a dandelion or a blade of grass poking up through a cement driveway or causing a sidewalk to heave, you understand the power of tiny plant roots!

Acids
Plants, lichen, moss, algae and other natural growths can contain acid. Acidic substances can be damaging to some types of stone and it can become more severe over time.

For example, marble is composed primarily of calcium carbonate. Lichen secretes an acid that can dissolve the calcite. This can cause a loss of carving details, erosion to the surface, and even damage the structural integrity of the headstone.

Source of Gravestone Damage #2: Soiling
Flat grave markers are particularly susceptible to damage from dirt, soil, and mud. Dirt that penetrates into the pores of the stone can cause a dingy appearance. It can also lead to staining. For example, minerals in the soil, such as iron, can leach into the headstone and cause rust-colored stains.

If a headstone sinks into the ground over time and is later raised and reset, an obvious line of soiling can be visible. Soil can also retain moisture after snow and rainfall, leading to the growth of mildew and mold.

Even upright headstones can be damaged and eroded by airborne dirt in windstorms. This is a particular concern in deserts where cemetery ground is frequently left bare.

For cemeteries located near factories or in large cities with lots of traffic, air pollution can be a problem. Pollutants can interact with the stone, changing the appearance and etching the surface.

The National Center for Preservation Training and Technology (NCPTT) states that “sulfur dioxide produced through manufacturing processes and vehicle exhaust can interact with marble surfaces to cause gypsum crusts. These crusts can capture soil and pollution particles to create rough, gray surfaces.”

Source of Gravestone Damage #3: Staining
Gravestones near trees or bushes are at risk for staining from two sources: sap and animals.

Overhanging tree branches and plants may drip sap onto gravestones. Sap contains resins that can be difficult to remove. Sugar in the sap can attract insects, which may lay eggs or burrow into the stone. The sap sugars also provide a source of food for mildew and mold. Bushes and shrubs sometimes have falling berries that can stain headstone surfaces.

Animal urine, feces, and bird droppings can leave gravestones with brown, yellow or white stains that become set into the pores of the stone. These stains may be difficult to remove, depending on the animal’s diet.

Headstone Cleaning Tips
Here are some dos and don’ts for gravestone cleaning.

DON’T
Don’t do anything that will damage the surface of the headstone
Don’t use common household cleaners
Don’t use strong bases or acids
Don’t use power tools, such as sanders or drills with wire brushes
Don’t sandblast
Don’t use power washers or pressure over 300 psi
Don’t use bleach
Don’t use cleaners with salt in them
Don’t rub the gravestone surface with hard-bristled brushes
Don’t scrape the gravestone surface with anything harder than the stone

DO
Do no harm!
Choose the gentlest cleaning method possible
Do read and follow product manufacturer’s guidelines
Do use good safety practices
Do test small areas before cleaning the entire headstone
Do keep the stone wet as you work
Do obtain the approval of other family members before cleaning
Gravestone Cleaning Supplies
BillionGraves, headstone, gravestone, cemetery, genealogy, family history, BillionGraves, ancestors, gravestone cleaning kit
Water
Water mister, spray bottle, bucket, or hose
Soft plastic scraper
Soft bristle brushes
Wooden pick
D/2 Biological Solution
Safety glasses (optional)
Gloves (optional)
Water

First and most important is water. Water will not damage the stone and should be used first to gently wash away dirt, soil, and dried grass clippings. Before you use chemical cleaners, wet the surface of the stone. Then as you are working, continually keep rewetting the stone to avoid letting the cleaner dry on the surface.

Water will keep the gravestone from getting damaged as you clean, so it is essential to either locate a source of water at the cemetery or bring water with you. If the cemetery has a water source you can use, bring a bucket or jug to transport it.

If you have traveled from out of town to clean your ancestor’s gravestone, you could purchase a gallon of distilled water to take with you to the cemetery.

Plastic scraper
Use a soft plastic scraper to gently remove biological overgrowth, such as moss or lichen. Scrapers should be softer than the stone itself and may be made of pliable plastic or silicone.

Brushes
When it comes to using brushes for gravestone cleaning, think of the surface as being like the enamel on your teeth. The bristles need to be soft enough to do no damage but firm enough to get the job done.

The brush may be made of natural fibers or soft nylon. With any brush you use, run your fingers over the bristles, checking for gentle pliability. If there are any metal or rough edges, they should be covered with duct tape to avoid accidentally scratching the stone.

Wooden Pick
A wooden pick can be useful to remove lichen or algae, especially if it is growing in indentations or etched lettering.

D/2 Biological Solution
Cleaners used on gravestones should be the gentlest possible choice to get the job done. D/2 is a gentle biocide and very effective for headstones covered in biological growth – lichen, moss, fungi, algae, and plants.

D/2 Biological Solution was designed by conservators for conservators. It was successfully tested in a 6-year study. Finally, it was recognized as the official cleaner of the Department of Veteran Affairs National Cemetery Administration and specified to be used on U.S. military gravestones.

Historic Monuments Cleaned with D/2
Conservationists have used D/2 to clean millions of historic buildings and monuments as well as for gravestone cleaning. Here are some of the historic places that have been cleaned and restored using a D/2 biocide:

Gravestones at Arlington Cemetery
The White House
The New York City Public Library
The Washington Monument
The state of Washington capitol
The Biltmore Estate (the largest private home in America)
Burial Hill (one of the oldest cemeteries in America)
Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin estate
Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry
The Alamo
There are many more but that is enough to give you the idea . . . this is a respected, well-researched product that has been used on some of the finest buildings and monuments in the world.

Using D/2
If there is landscaping near the gravestone you plan to clean, spray them with water before starting. Wetting flowers, grass, and foliage first will help protect them from overspray.

Safety
D/2 is non-toxic but may irritate eyes and skin. Safety glasses and gloves are an optional precaution. Masks may be worn if there is a danger of overspray on windy days. Always read the label on the cleaning product you are using and follow the manufacturer’s guidelines.

This video demonstrates a gravestone being cleaned. Click on the arrow to start the video.
Methods for Gravestone Cleaning
Using the proper cleaning methods will protect the stone and protect you.

Gravestone Test Spot
Before spraying the entire stone with a chemical cleaner, it is a good idea to do a small test spot in an inconspicuous area to ensure you won’t be damaging the stone. If you wish, use painter’s tape to mark off a small square near the base or back of the gravestone. Spray the area inside the taped off section with water and then follow with D/2. Gently brush the sprayed square with a soft brush to test the results.

Soak with Water
When you are ready to clean the headstone, wet the entire surface with water. If you don’t have an easy source of water at the cemetery, purchase gallons of distilled water or fill water jugs at home to bring with you.

Large spray misters are helpful for large monuments and small hand spray bottles of water are fine for small stones.

Stone is very porous and absorbent. Spraying with water liberally will keep the cleaner on the surface and out of the pores.

Cleaning the Gravestone
Start cleaning from the bottom of the stone and work your way up. This will minimize the effects of streaking if the cleaner runs down the surface.

Scrape off any large clumps of biological growth with a plastic or wood scraper. Rinse.

Spray the cleaner generously over the surface of the stone in an area that can be easily worked before it dries out. Then allow the biocide to sit on the stone for about 10-15 minutes. Next, gently scour the stone in small circular motions with a soft brush. Work the cleaner into the crevices and lettering.

It is better to scrub gently several times over the same area than to try to scrub too hard on the first attempt. Watch carefully for any damage to the stone your pressure may cause and if you see flaking, stop and reassess your methods.

Work in Sections
Spray D/2 Biological Solution generously on the gravestone. Allow to sit for about 5 minutes. Remember, if you are cleaning a large monument work in sections. Keep the gravestone wet as you work by continually spraying it with D/2.

It is helpful to use varying brush sizes for different areas of the tombstone. Use a wooden pick to remove debris and growth from etched lettering and detailed carvings.

Repeat these steps as needed to remove persistent stains and growth.

Finally, rinse the stone when you are done cleaning, striving to leave no visible cleaner on the surface.

You may be pleasantly surprised to learn that even after you have cleaned a gravestone with D/2 Biological Cleaner it will continue to clean the headstone on its own for the next few weeks to months -without you having to anything else.

As the cleaner seeps into the pores of the stone it will kill more biological growth. And you will be able to see a noticeable lightening of the stone during this time.

Finally, take a photo of your newly cleaned gravestone using the BillionGraves app on your smartphone. To get the app, go to the App Store on an iPhone or the Google Play Store on an Android phone. Using the app is quick and easy.

In fact, it’s so easy that you can take about 250 photos per hour as a beginner. That means you could photograph ALL the gravestones in your ancestor’s cemetery!

GPS coordinates will automatically be linked to the images as you take the photos. GPS markers are then posted on satellite maps, so others can also find their ancestor’s gravestones by entering a name on their BillionGraves app.

When you upload your photos you will be given the option to transcribe the data yourself or have another volunteer transcribe it.

The information will then be available online for families around the world for generations to come!

*Gravestone Cleaning Kits are not recommended for fragile headstones.

As long as we remember, their memories never die!
If you would like to take photos of your ancestor’s cemetery, click HERE to get started. You are welcome to take gravestone photos at your own convenience, no permission from us is needed. What a nice way to honor the people your ancestors knew and loved!

If you still have questions after you have clicked on the link to get started, or if you would like tips for planning a group project, email us at Volunteer@BillionGraves.com.

Happy Cemetery Hopping!

Cathy Wallace and the BillionGraves Team

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Coach Gilberto Chapter 7
by Stephen Halpert

Diana Rain stepped into Gilberto’s shabby office. Looking around, she raised her eyebrows and snickered. “They must think a lot of you,” she said, opening a folding chair and sitting. “How’s it going Superman?”
Gilberto chuckled. “They’re supposed to give me a real desk in a real office, but it hasn’t happened yet.”
She grinned. “Complete with one of those bars on wheels like you had at Atlas?”
He laughed. “Those were the days. This school lives pretty close to the vest. Money’s hardly ever mentioned.”
She smiled sympathetically. “Old Yankee thrift.” She looked around the room. I see they gave you a wall decoration. What’s that a painting of.” She pointed to a gilt-edged famed oil on the wall near the window.
“That’s a picture of the building before it became the Houndstooth school It was the Parker estate and was left specifically to be used as an educational establishment, with an endowment to go with it.
Diana laughed. “That old table they gave you part of the original building?”
He frowned. “Right now I have to be careful when I sit down at this antique or I’ll bruise my knees.”
She smiled, opened her bag and handed Gilberto her resume. “Thanks for sharing this opportunity with me.”
He sighed and set it on his desk. “Not much pay but lots of fresh air. You were an obvious choice. The school is going coed, so we’ll need a woman athletic coordinator and coach. “
She nodded. “I still remember your old office at Atlas. That magnificent view of Boston Harbor! Those great red leather club chairs comfortable enough for naps.”
He shifted in his creaky wooden desk chair and laughed. “God plays funny tricks on me.”
She smirked. “Yes, on all of us. Speaking of which Sarah Midgley’s in a private sanatorium in Switzerland. Has her blood washed, the whole nine yards. Heard tell her mind is pretty well gone.”
He frowned. “That’s nothing new.” A dark memory of her drifted through him and he shook it away quickly with a jerk of his head.
Diana got up and strode to the window overlooking the new gym and playing fields. She turned and looked at him. “I just can’t picture you here. It’s so not you.”
He shrugged. “Joey will be a senior next year so I can coach his soccer team. We’re keeping our Boston condo. It’s an easy drive down Beacon Street. Plus, Ramon’s here with me.”
She sat down, opened her bag, turned on her tablet and leafed through a bunch of notes. She leaned over his table and grinned. That grin of hers always endeared her to him. “I have to ask you,” she began, “What’s the story with Cyrus Willabee?”
Gilberto’s brows raised. “I see as usual you’ve done your homework.”
She grinned. “Just looking out for quicksand before I step in it. Did you know that the week preceding his death falling from that bridge, he cashed in close to three million in bonds and securities.”
Gilberto sucked in a breath. “Wow!”
“Now get this: he insisted upon, actually demanded cash. That raised a few eyebrows but he got his way. That cash was delivered to him and it disappeared that same week he fell. Our office was asked to investigate”
Gilberto flexed his back. “And speaking of that, how is Smith these days. I hope he’s well. Seriously are you here seeking employment, or are you investigating Willabee’s death and the disappearing millions?”
“Both,” she smiled. “I’ll probably always be on call to the Agency, but in time I hope to retire. Coaching women’s rugby and creating an athletic program for women seems like the type of challenge I’d appreciate.”
Gilberto smiled and shook his head. “You mean those millions really just disappeared?”
She nodded. “But more mysteriously, bank examiners couldn’t find any commercial paper transactions, bills of sale, stuff like that.”
Gilberto chuckled. “Maybe he saved up to buy something special like Mt Rushmore. But why are you so interested in him?”
She laughed. “You know me, I always try to check out the mysterious ones.”
He nodded. “Same old Rain.”
“By the way that table where your sitting is handmade 18th century Americana; quite special, even if it’s got it in for your poor knees.”
“So, what’s the skinny around here on old Cyrus? What have you heard?”
“I wish I could help you but I don’t know a thing. No one seems to know anything–specifically if he fell or was pushed. Headmaster and trustees are all playing that whole incident like it didn’t happen. Bad publicity for Houndstooth they say, shaking their heads. The entire incident is now ancient history.” He paused and looked thoughtful. “So that could mean that nobody here knew about his money.”
“Except possibly his murderer.” Abruptly, she sat up straight. “What?” Her eyes flashed. “Hey,” she said, “Somebody just kissed my cheek.” She jumped up from her chair and surveyed the room.
Gilberto grinned. “Maybe it was his ghost. No other explanation comes to mind. From what I gather he was a complete original, quite the practical joker and they say he had a way with the ladies.”
Rain sat back down and sniffed. “Maybe he still does,” Then she grinned. “Hi Cyrus, I’m Diana. I’ve always had a way with poltergeists. Let’s go have some lunch.”
Gilberto laughed. “I assume there was some sort of investigation?”
Rain frowned. “Something like that. What could the cops do, question the trees? Those on the bridge were a small group of parents visiting the campus, and they said they saw nothing.”
“Ouch,” Rain said. She raised her eyebrows. “And of course his remains were cremated.” Her eyes swept across the room. She smiled and letting them drift into a different focus she said “If you’re here Cyrus I certainly hope we can get better acquainted.”
Seconds later the framed painting of the Parker estate, now the Houndstooth administration building, crashed to the floor.

To Be Continued

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Kitty Kat’s Korner
=^..^=

9 Surprising Ways Humans Are Like Cats
By Debbie De Louise

You probably know that monkeys and apes are known to be most like people, but did you know that cats also share many similarities with us biologically, physically and psychologically?

Genes
A 2007 genome study found that about 90% of the genes in a cat are similar to human genes. In this study, Initial sequence and comparative analysis of the cat genome (ncbi.nim.nig.gov), the percent of genes represented in a dog were only 81.9 percent and chimpanzee 78.8 percent comparatively (to humans).

Brains
Dr. Nicholas Dodman, professor emeritus, Tufts University, explains that cat brains are composed of gray and white matter. Like humans, they have temporal, occipital, frontal and parietal lobes of their cerebral cortex. Dr. Dodman adds that “Cats seem to think in the same pattern as humans, too, partly owing to the similarity of neurotransmitters … Cats receive input from the basic five senses and process that data just as humans do.”

Memories
Cats also have short- and long-term memories. Dr. Dodman provides an amazing illustration of cat memories from his award-winning book, The Cat Who Cried For Help (Bantam; 1999). The story involves a cat very bonded to his owner who passed away in a bedroom in his house. After the owner died, the cat refused to go into the bedroom for exactly one year. On the anniversary of his owner’s death, the cat entered the room and jumped on the bed.

Once, I nearly shut my cat’s leg in a door I was opening. The next day, he hid from me when I opened that door showing he recalled that unpleasant incident and was afraid it would happen again if he came near that door.

Pam Johnson-Bennett, certified cat behavior consultant and best-selling author, says, “Cats are learning all the time. Every experience teaches them that something is either positive, negative or not relevant. Cat parents are often not even aware of how much they are training or reinforcing their cats’ learning in everyday life … Just as with cats, we tend to repeat behaviors that have a desired consequence and try to avoid experiences that are unpleasant or threatening.”

Samantha Martin, owner and trainer for Amazing Acro-Cats and Rock Cats Rescue, adds that “People, especially young children, learn things by watching adults do things and mimicking them. Cats also mimic what they see other cats do and get rewarded for. Many of my cats have picked up tricks that I have not trained them to do just by watching another cat do it repeatedly.”

Dr. Dodman recalls an incident at a cat show in Texas many years ago where an obstacle course was set up. Cats were led through the circuit by people waving a teaser toy to guide them over the obstacles. This wasn’t so impressive because any cat would follow someone with a cat teaser. But when a cat who had already passed through the course went back a second time and repeated the circuit without any teasers or assistance, it showed how quickly cats can learn and remember.

Connection and Affection
Pam also explains that, although cats are stereotyped as aloof, they are social animals who need the same type of affection and companionship as people. Just like us, they each show affection in different ways.

“There are cats who enjoy close physical contact when it comes to affection. For some cats and people, that includes anything from holding to simply a gentle touch. It may also mean just some degree of physical connection such as sitting close together enough so as to be touching or leaning against each other. There are cats and humans who prefer to show affection in more subtle and easy-to-miss ways,” Pam says. “Not all people enjoy physical contact and they may show affection through thoughtful actions, being present or through kind words. It’s also easy to miss some ways cats show subtle affectionate displays as well, such as being nearby, showing a relaxed body posture, purring or giving slow eye blinks.”

Cat owner Diane Kane had a cat named Scooter who she found as a young kitten separated from her mother. Diane recalls, “I fed her with a dropper and slept with her on my chest … As she grew, she was my constant companion.” Diane gave an example that when she worked in her garden, Scooter would watch her digging and mimic her behavior by digging holes, too. Another way that Scooter showed her affection included returning Diane’s kisses with “audible smacks.” Although Scooter died young of kidney disease, Diane says that “she lived her life perfectly content to be one with her human family.”

Disease
Cats suffer from “human” diseases such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease, thyroid disease and cancer. I’ve had cats with diabetes, cancer, kidney disease and my current cat, Stripey, has hyperthyroidism. My diabetic cat, Floppy, who passed away at 15 in 2007 had been treated with prednisone for asthma as a kitten and developed diabetes at 6. I administered two shots daily of Humulin insulin to him. He also suffered from pancreatitis and a liver condition. All his treatments for these illnesses were similar to those people with the same problems received.

Deborah Barnes, past president of the Cat Writers’ Association, also has a cat, Zee, with hyperthyroidism like my cat Stripey. “When Zee was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism, we were given some choices for treatment,” she says. Deb chose the methimazole pill, while I chose the compounded transdermal cream applied to the ear twice a day (which I find easier to administer than pills). Weight loss is common in hyperthyroid cats, as it is in people, and is one of the main symptoms of the condition. Stripey and Zee have put on some weight since their treatment started. Deb also keeps Zee on a special diet. She says he gets a combination of canned and dry food that caters to the dietary needs of a cat with thyroid issues, and she also gives him additional supplements in his food. While Stripey eats canned and dry along with our other cats, we also give him treats with his medication and occasional fresh chicken.

Disease Transfer
Besides sharing common human diseases, cats can also spread what are known as zoonotic diseases to humans. According to the American Association of Feline Practitioners (catvets.com) in its Feline Zoonoses Guidelines, “Zoonotic diseases are defined as being common to, shared by or naturally transmitted between humans and other vertebrate animals.” Some common zoonotic diseases cited in the catvets.com brochure What Can I Catch from My Cat? Feline Zoonoses include cat scratch fever, ringworm, rabies and toxoplasmosis.

Dr. Jane Brunt, executive director of the CATalyst Council for Lifelong Health of Companion Cats, says that the single most important point for preventing many feline zoonotic diseases is year-round parasite preventives, including indoor-only cats. She recommends cat owners work with cat-friendly vets to find the appropriate preventive for their pets. There have also been concerns regarding coronavirus as a zoonotic disease. (Go to catster.com to read our article Coronavirus and Cats: What Cat Owners Need to Know About COVID-19.)

Mental Health Issues
Dr. Dodman says that cats can also suffer from the same psychological issues as people and are also treated similarly for these problems. They can be anxious, have phobias and even disorders such as OCD. “Cats (with anxiety) respond to the same anxiety drugs as people,” he points out.

Heartbreak
Another area that cats and humans are similar emotionally is how they respond to loss. Pam relates her experiences with “clients who have experienced the loss of a human, canine or feline member and are confused about what to do for their surviving cat. Very often, they think the cat is lonely, and they adopt a new feline companion. Even though the family understands their own grief, they are often surprised to learn that the surviving cat is grieving and the sudden addition of an unfamiliar cat only makes matters worse. Although we don’t display grief in the same way as cats, we share that emotional pain and loss.”

Personality
Cats are also similar to people personality-wise. Dr. Dodman refers to tests that have been conducted on cats to determine their character traits. These tests are similar to the Myers/Briggs study of human personalities. Cats were found to have a combination of three traits: alert (active and curious), sociable and equable (stable temperament). These different trait combinations, according to Dr. Dodman, are also found in people. Cats can be introverts, extroverts or in between the two.

“There are more similarities than differences between cats and people,” Dr. Dodman says.

I’ve also found in the many years I’ve shared my life with cats is that, like people, they all have their own personalities. This individualistic nature of felines is what I believe cat lovers enjoy most about them.

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Georgia Nicols’ Weekly Horoscope:
April 17, 2022

All Signs
An exuberant, electrifying energy ushers in this week because Mercury is lined up with unpredictable Uranus. Since both these planets are in a solid Earth sign, this will also trigger brilliant, practical solutions for us. Nevertheless, what the large print giveth, the small print taketh away. At the same time, the Sun will be at odds with Pluto indicating power struggles. (Patience is the key.) By the end of the week, a dreamy influence arrives making our imaginations soar! Einstein said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.” I say, “All is theatre. If you put out fresh flowers, you don’t have to dust.”

Aries (March 21-April 19)
Be aware that unusual changes will impact your finances this week, especially at the beginning of the week. Stay on top of banking details. Know what’s happening because something unexpected could impact your assets, including your earnings. This might also apply to your belongings. For example, something you own might be lost, damaged or stolen. Therefore, keep your eyes open! Meanwhile, you are becoming increasingly in touch with a softer part of you – your inner world. Your spiritual values. In turn, this will prompt a greater appreciation of your world. It will also prompt a greater appreciation of the suffering of others.

Taurus (April 20-May 20)
This is a powerful time for you because the Sun, Mercury and Uranus are all in your sign, and they are all lined up. This is why you feel super independent! You might even feel rebellious. You do not want to be dictated to by others. Furthermore, you might feel compelled to suddenly act or do unexpected things. Life has taken on an unpredictable quality for you, which can be exciting but also disconcerting. Be aware of this wild energy swirling around you and think before you act. Do not be rash. Fortunately, friends and members of groups are supportive and loving to you now, which is such a blessing.

Gemini (May 21-June 20)
This is an unsettling time for you and you might not know why. The reason for this is the Sun, Mercury and Uranus are closely lined up in your chart; however, they are “hiding.” This means all this electric, impulsive energy is fomenting beneath the surface of things. This could make you feel vaguely restless. You have that feeling that you should “do something.” In fact, you might say or do something that surprises others. Fortunately, a lovely, supportive influence is taking place at the top of your chart right now, which is helpful to you. This means people in power will be supportive — bosses, parents, teachers, VIPs and the police. Therefore, if you need help – ask for it.

Cancer (June 21-July 22)
This is a popular time for you! You are more involved with young people as well making connections with organizations or clubs. Your involvement with others is lively and stimulating! It might make you feel younger. It might also trigger new ideas that make you change your future goals? Without doubt, some of you will meet someone interesting, perhaps a real character – someone unusual in some way or different from you. In addition, travel and opportunities to broaden your horizons will be thrilling! You might develop a crush on someone from another culture? You are excited and uplifted to explore opportunities in other countries, other cultures as well as publishing, the media, medicine and the law. A very rewarding time!

Leo (July 23-Aug. 22)
Sudden and unexpected news might catch you off guard at the beginning of the week. It could relate to a parent. More likely, it will relate to a boss or someone in a position of authority, perhaps even the government or the police. (“Busted!”) Do be aware of this. However, this astrological combo also indicates that you feel rebellious, especially against authority. You want to do something on your own terms. Furthermore, you’re prepared to speak up about it. You want to fight for what is right, not only for yourself but for others. (Very much your style.) Meanwhile, financial matters are looking sweet! Gifts, goodies and favours from others will come your way. You might receive an inheritance. This same, beneficial influence can promote your love life and make things passionate and wonderfully affectionate. Oh my.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22)
Travel opportunities might drop in your lap this week. Conversely, planned travel might suddenly be changed or cancelled? Meanwhile, others will hear unexpected news about medical matters or something to do with a legal situation. Or something unexpected might even impact your work in publishing or the media? New ideas and new opportunities to get further training and education will also be exciting. Do be aware that whatever opportunities present themselves to you will have a brief window, which means you will have to act quickly. Fortunately, your closest relationships are warm and cozy! This applies to dear friendships as well as your interactions with a spouse or partner. Bonus!

Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22)
At the beginning of this week, stay on top of banking details and anything to do with taxes, debt, insurance issues or matters related to shared property. I say this because this is where you might have a surprise. When it comes to financial matters, unless it’s a boon or a windfall, nobody likes a surprise. Therefore, stay on top of your scene. Know what’s happening, in case you have to head something off at the pass. (Especially if the posse is after you.) Fortunately, something quite wonderful is impacting your health as well as your job or your work. This is where you will truly benefit! Relations with coworkers are positive. You might see ways to make your workspace more attractive. You might get a promotion or even a better job. We like!

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21)
Something unusual will take place between you and a close friend or a partner at the beginning of the week. Someone might make an unusual demand upon a relationship? They might want more freedom? Or perhaps, you will meet someone new? Or someone close to you might introduce you to someone who is different and unusual? Something interesting will definitely take place. Meanwhile, this is a lovely time for your social life because social plans with others will be interesting! You will enjoy the theatre, movies or some kind of interaction where you are entertained. Playful activities with kids will be upbeat. Romance will be thrilling, heartwarming and affectionate. Smoochie boochies!

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 21)
This week you can expect interruptions and sudden changes that impact your job and your work. These changes might be positive – or not. For example, they could indicate the introduction of new technology; or you might have computer problems. Aagghhh. A change to your work might happen. You might start a new job or a new project? You will be full of original, clever ideas related to your work. Likewise, something unexpected might occur that relates to your health. Avoid accidents and be careful. Similarly, keep an eye on your pet to avoid mishaps. On the upside, you will adore entertaining at home or redecorating where you live or buying wonderful things for your home because everything related to home and family is blessed! (You feel so fortunate.)

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 19)
Parents should be extra vigilant this week because this is an accident-prone time for your kids. However, everyone will experience a change to social plans. This change will also apply to vacations or any kind of entertaining diversion, including the arts as well as sports. This could include an unexpected award or a win or some wonderful acknowledgement? Admittedly, it might indicate a sudden disappointment. Could go either way. Most likely it is positive news because this week your everyday relations with others are unusually warm, friendly and mutually beneficial. You are the charter member of your own mutual admiration society. Kiss, kiss, hug, hug.

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 18)
This week, interruptions and unexpected events will impact home and family for you – no question. Very likely, this will take place at the beginning of the week. For example, small appliances might break down or a minor breakage could occur. Unexpected company might be knocking at your door. (Do get dressed.) Technology might be a challenge. A Wi-Fi connection? Computer glitches? The good news is that money is coming your way! Many of you will suddenly boost your earnings or find a better paying job. You will work hard to earn your money as well. Since the money is flowing, many of you will also buy lovely, beautiful, special things for yourself. And why not? Money is only useful if you spend it.

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20)
Do be careful because this is an accident-prone time for you. Therefore, pay attention to everything you say and do because I’m referring to both physical and verbal accidents. (“Did I just say that?”) On the upside, you will have brilliant, original ideas! That’s because you can easily think outside of the box. New faces, new places and new plans will be exciting! All of this will definitely keep you on your toes. Meanwhile, a beautiful influence of Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Neptune is taking place in your sign (an influence that is still lingering from last week). This can only bring you good fortune. Alphabetize your blessings!

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~CelestialPrognostication

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Every Day is Earth Day! Love Your Mother!

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Goddess Blessings!
Live Well – Laugh Often – Love Much
High Priestess Training
http://GoddessSchool.com

Healing Arts and Pagan Studies
http://Goddessschool.com/Paganstudies/index.html
http://Goddessschool.com/Paganstudies/healingarts.html

The GoddessSchool ~ http://GoddessSchool.com

High Priestess Certification and Ancient Mystery Teachings
Herbalism 101
Herbalism 202
Herbalism 303

Earth Signs and Omens
Natural Witchcraft
Practical Magick: Spell Casting for Every Day Use
The Magic of Crystals
Introduction to Energy Healing
Introduction to Paganism
Introduction to Meditation
Introduction to The Goddess Tradition and The Feminine Divine
Kuan Yins Gentle Embrace Reiki Certification
A Year and a Day of Contemplation with Kuan Yin
Tarot, Numerology, Natal Charts and Dream Readings
Reiki Training and Certification

Herbs!!! Herbs!!! Herbs!!!
Interested in herbs and healing? Learn with GrannyMoon!
The Healing Arts Certificate Program Four great courses! Buy three get one free!
http://Goddessschool.com/Paganstudies/healingarts.html

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https://grannymoon.wordpress.com/

Teach a witch a spell and she can do that spell. Teach a witch the craft and she can do magick!

GrannyMoon, Teaching the Craft for over 20 years!

“We all come from the Goddess
And to Her we shall return
Like a drop of rain, going to the ocean”
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“May the circle be open, but unbroken,
May the love of the Goddess be ever in your heart.

Merry Meet and Merry Part
And Merry Meet Again

Never forget…you are magick!

Goddess Bless!
GrannyMoon

http://GoddessSchool.com
https://twitter.com/GrannyMooninVA
https://grannymoon.wordpress.com/

By GrannyMoon Posted in Pagan

GrannyMoons Weekly Feast: 3 Apr 2022

When you become centered, suddenly there is great freedom
because you know you are not the mind and you are not the body. ~Osho


Blessed Be My Little Witch. To those who came before and those who will come after, know that the Goddess is with you always. Thank you all my dear readers…be blessed. ~GrannyMoon

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Dark Moon – Time to Rest
New Moon – Time to Begin New Projects; Birth; Attraction
Waxing Moon – Time to Grow; Increase
Full Moon – Time to be Fulfilled; Abundance
Waning Moon – Time to Banish; Decrease
Last Sliver of Moon – Time to Die; Letting Go
Dark Moon – Time to Rest Again
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Light A Candle Today!
In many different traditions lighting a candle is a sacred action. It expresses more than words can express. It has to do with gratefulness. From time immemorial, people have lit candles in sacred places. You may want to begin or end your day by the sacred ritual of lighting a candle on this gratefulness. Or you may want to light a birthday candle for a friend. One single guideline is all you need: Slow down and do it with full attention.

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Current Moon Phase: New Moon ~ The beginning of a new cycle.

Keywords for the New phase are: beginning, birth, emergence, projection, clarity.

Goddess Aspect: Maiden

Associated Goddesses: Artemis, Branwen, Eriu, Nymph, Epona

The New Moon is for starting new ventures, new beginnings. Also love and romance, health or job hunting.

Magickal Attributes: Invoking. Workings On This Day Are For Starting New Ventures, New Beginnings, Love, Romance, Health Or Job Hunting.

It is the time in a cycle that you are stimulated to take a new action. During this phase the new cycle is being seeded by your vision, inner and outer. Engage in physical activity. Spend time alone.

Visualize your goals for the 29.6-day cycle ahead. New Moon workings can be done from the day of the New Moon to three-and-a-half days after.

The New Moon is for starting new ventures, new beginnings. Also love and romance, health or job hunting.

The sky was set for such a role:
the great Cross glittered at the pole
Orion and his wrath were red
and the Milky Way white overhead
~RAK Mason, Twenty-Sixth October

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Herb of the Year for 2022: Blackberries, raspberries, and their cousins (Rubus ssp.) Named by the International Herb Association

Celtic Tree Calendar ~ March 18th to April 14th – Alder

Goddess Month of Columbina runs from 3/20 – 4/17

Sun Apr 3 Waxing Crescent Taurus
Mon Apr 4 Waxing Crescent Taurus
Tue Apr 5 Waxing Crescent Gemini
Wed Apr 6 Waxing Crescent Gemini
Thu Apr 7 Waxing Crescent Gemini
Fri Apr 8 Waxing Crescent Cancer
Sat Apr 9 First Quarter Cancer

May 1st ~ Virginia Psychic Fair, Falls Church, VA. For info go to https://va-psychic-fair-2022.eventbrite.com

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When is Easter in 2022?
Here’s the rule for Easter Sunday. It generally falls on the first Sunday after the first full moon on or after the vernal equinox. The equinox is Sunday. So tonight’s full moon doesn’t set the date of Easter. Instead, the first full moon after the equinox will be April 16. And that’s why Easter is so late this year.

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Sunday Classes with GrannyMoon at Sticks and Stones, Fairfax, VA
Face to Face Class: 1 PM – 3 PM ~ WitchCrafting – April 3
Face to Face Class: 1 PM – 3 PM ~ The Herbal Cauldron – April 10
Face to Face Class: Noon – 2:00 PM ~ The Magick of Crystals – April 24

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High Priestess Training with GrannyMoon
http://GoddessSchool.com

The entire course takes 15 months to complete (four levels). Tuition covers lessons, assignments and instructor feedback. In addition, students may download guided meditation exercises and be eligible for Sabbats, Esbats and retreats with the Sisterhood. The entire fee for each level is $120 (payment plan available), sixteen lessons in each level, except the last.

Ceremonial Cords and frame-able Completion Certificates are awarded as members complete each level.
Level I – Initiate of the Sisters of the Burning Branch – White cord
Level II – Adept of the Sisters of the Burning Branch- Red cord
Level III – Priestess of the Sisters of the Burning Branch- Black cord
Level IV – High Priestess of the Sisters of the Burning Branch – Green cord

You Might Also Be Interested In:
http://goddessschool.com/Paganstudies/index.html
http://www.goddessschool.com/courses/natural/naturalwitch.html
http://goddessschool.com/Paganstudies/healingarts.html

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Learn About Herbs with GrannyMoon!

There is so much to learn about herbs! In Herbalism 101, we cover 21 herbs, and you will start your own personal Materia Medica, that we will build throughout the next levels. We will cover the basic aspects of herbs. From culinary to magickal, medicinal to ornamental. As well as the many modalities of herbs!

During this course, in addition to the on-line lessons and hands-on projects that you do at home, I will be sending you articles, and information, as well as questions about your own personal use and research.

I look forward to walking this green journey with you! I love herbs and I hope that you do too or will learn to!

There are 10 lessons in each level and there is no time limit for completion. You may study at your own pace! There are no texts to purchase.

For more info or to join my class, click here!
http://goddessschool.com/Paganstudies/healingarts.html

The cost for Level 1 is $50.00 or $150.00 the entire Healing Arts Course (1-3) which includes a free Reiki certification course when all three are ordered at the same time!
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Earth Signs and Omens in Nature Course

Learn to read the mysteries of nature! The course covers signs and omens, communication, seasonal rites, trees and shrubs, flowers, plants and weeds, herbs, plant magick, the Guardians of Nature and much more.
http://goddessschool.com/courses/earthsigns/index.html

~GrannyMoonsMail@yahoo.com

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The Goddess School Grimoire

http://www.lulu.com/shop/sotbb-Goddess-school/the-Goddess-school-grimoire/hardcover/product-762380.html
Hardcover: $39.45
Softback: $26.95
eBook (PDF): $6.25

The Goddess School Grimoire is a collection of recipes, artwork, poetry, prose, prayers, rituals, spells, and practical Goddess wisdom put together by the teachers, students, alumni, and friends of The Sisters of the Burning Branch Goddess School. The sisterhood is dedicated to restoring spiritual balance by returning the Divine Feminine to her rightful place and by assisting women in their personal and spiritual development. Since being founded by Head and High Mother Priestess Grandmother Moon in 2000, The Goddess School (GoddessSchool.com) has grown into a large and beautiful global community of women.

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Join Our Cat Community on Twitter! The Cat Philosophers! Must Love Cats!
https://twitter.com/i/communities/1508878853783048194

Three Rules

  1. Be kind and respectful.
  2. Keep Tweets on topic.
  3. Explore and share.

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Classes at Sticks and Stones

Full Moon Circle
Time: April 15, 2022 from 5pm to 7pm
Location: Sticks and Stones

A Moon Circle is a sacred gathering of women, who come together to honor and celebrate the new and full moon gathering to harness the potent energy of the moon.

The Moon Circle is a safe space, where women can enjoy being in sacred sisterhood, feel supported and witnessed. In the circle we will set intentions, clear energy, gain clarity, and connect to oneself through communal energy.

Everything that happens in circle remains privately in the circle, which allows women to truly open up, share, and be authentic, practice self care and experience community.

Instructor: Sway
Entrance Fee: $25


Sea Magic: Part 1 April 23, 2022 2pm to 4pm
Sea Magic: Part 2 April 30, 2022 2pm to 4pm

Location: Sticks and Stones

Are you fascinated by the ocean?
Do you feel drawn to the sea?

Join me in a two-hour course that explores your individual connection to her! After connecting to the sea through Ocean breathes and a short guided meditation, collaborate and learn alongside others as we create our own Ninefold Sea Blessing and enchant our own sea charms.

Materials provided:
interactive notebook, sea water, beach sand, all items needed to create your own enchanted charm bag.

Please bring:
an open heart, open mind, and willingness to share and collaborate.

Instructor: Ember Moon
Cost: $30

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Patty Shaw ~ Coventry Creations
Astro Magic Forecast for April 4, 2022 – April 10, 2022

The first week of April begins with Venus moving out of Aquarius and into Pisces, the sign of her exaltation. Venus in Pisces is extremely sensitive to other people’s needs, and you may find that you are emotionally supporting other people. Just make sure you have strong boundaries and can say “no” if you need to.

During the middle of the week, the Moon moves through social Gemini, and you will be the happiest when you engage in lively conversations, share ideas, and enjoy the company of others. However, on Thursday, the energy shifts as Mercury sextiles Saturn in Aquarius. Mercury sextile Saturn is excellent for projects that need focus and discipline.

You can expect an active weekend that begins on Friday when Mercury sextiles energetic Mars. This is an excellent time to start new projects, push forth your agenda, or go after your goals. On Sunday, Mercury squares turbulent Pluto. Avoid trying to force your point of view on others, because it may lead to potential conflicts.

Recommended: Heart (Blessed Herbal), Stability (Blessed Herbal), Mars (Astro Magic)

Astrology Forecast brought to you by Storm Cestavani of http://www.stormcestavani.com/

April: An Astrological Cake Walk
When life seems to be throwing one thing after another at you, it’s nice to know that at least the planets won’t be piling on. From an astrological perspective, April should be a fairly easy month to navigate. That’s great news for the weary and provides the perfect opportunity to heal, gather your strength, and sow the seeds for the upcoming year.

Here’s what you missed on CoventryCreations.com this week…

Life’s been tough, but April will be easy!

Astro Magic for April 2022
Welcome to the month of April. April is one of the easiest months of the year astrologically speaking, so make sure you take advantage of all the magical energies that spring (fall if you are in South America) has to offer. As I mentioned last month, we are at the start of the solar year, and it’s time to plant seeds and do the work to ensure that our seeds grow and flower properly.

Every time the moon moves through the sign of Libra we are reminded of how important balance is to a well-lived life. On April 16th we will be basking in the light of the full moon as she presents us with the lessons of balance again. The area of life that Libra rules are relationships and legal matters. An odd combination at first glance, but upon a closer look, we will see that relationships are very akin to legal matters. My daughter is an attorney and when she talks about her job, she’s really talking about the way people treat each other. We try our best to restore balance in the world through the laws we write and uphold, but needless to say, it’s a difficult job and full of holes.

Living the Dream Spell – April 2022 Witches Union Spell Card
Dust off those dreams, take a good look at them and decide if they are worthy of a little magic to make them alive and well in your life. If not, rewrite them to fit in with your new vision of your future because it’s time to live the dream you want for yourself. It’s time to stop waiting for the right time and make it the right time for you.

April2022 Magic101

Ironically, this is a difficult question for me to answer as candle magic is part of my DNA. It is like asking me what air is. I immediately jump into the science and history of magic with big explanations when, really, we can start with the obvious of answers:

Candle Magic is the lighting of a candle as you say a prayer, set an intent, or make a wish.

Dazzle your friends by being a Coventry Creations magic maker!

Follow our blogs on coventrycreations.com.

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Llewellyn’s Spell A Day

Rainbow of Hope Spell
APRIL 03, 2022 BY LAURA TEMPEST ZAKROFF

April 3 is National Find a Rainbow Day, an excellent reminder to look around for hope—not just in the sky, but all around us and in each other. If you need a bit of a hope pickme- up, this heartwarming spell can help dispel the clouds. You’ll need a sheet of paper and a set of crayons or markers with the seven colors of the rainbow. In any color you wish, draw a five-pointed star, about two inches across, in the center of your paper. Then, in a clockwise motion, draw each circle of color around the star, expanding out, as you say:

Red is for a warm and open heart.
Orange is for a brand-new start.
Yellow is for the sun to shine.
Green is for growth like a vine.
Blue is for clean water and air.
Purple is for kindness to share.
Violet is for a mind so true.
All together, bring hope to view!

Fold the paper three times and carry it with you.
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A Crafty Downsizing
APRIL 02, 2022 BY RAVEN DIGITALIS

Let’s do some spring-cleaning! It’s time to bust out that occult incense, mix up that Hoodoo floorwash, get brooms in hand, and sanctify that salt water. But first, let’s take an inventory.

Take a couple hours to examine your space as objectively as possible. Close your eyes, take three very deep breaths, and declare:

I am Witch, I am wise. I see the
truth now through my eyes.

With pen and paper in hand, and perhaps various bins labeled “donate,” “sell,” and “trash,” slowly make way around your living space. While looking at your belongings, remember that everything around you is temporary and is only on loan to you in this lifetime. Bravely do away with items to which your intuitive mind says “nah,” remembering that downsizing is a positive practice. Have fun and get creative as a first step in magickal spring-cleaning!
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Grand New Start
APRIL 01, 2022 BY ASTREA TAYLOR

This spell takes advantage of the new moon today to create paths and connections where there were none before. You’ll need the Fool tarot card, a white chime candle, a candleholder, honey, meadowsweet, and a lighter.

At your altar, place the Fool card before you upside down. Dress the top quarter of the candle with honey, and think about how sweet your new beginning will be. Sprinkle the meadowsweet over the top of the candle while imagining you’re being showered in blessings. Say:

With candle, honey,
Fire, and meadowsweet,
I conjure a Grand New Start!
A new path appears before me!

Secure the candle in the candleholder— envision you’re planting your new beginning in the fertile earth. Light the candle. When you feel a new road opening before you, turn the Fool card upright. Stay with the candle until it has burned down completely. Place the Fool card back in your deck.
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Back to the Roots
MARCH 31, 2022 BY RAVEN DIGITALIS

Spring is springing and the roots of Mother Earth’s flora are beginning to grow in strength. Let’s do a little work on our own roots.

Sit calmly in a comfortable spot outside, wearing minimal or comfortable clothing (or none at all!). Visualize your root chakra growing down into the earth in a dark red color. While doing so, repeat the Sanskrit word Muladhara. (This is the ancient Vedic Hindu name for the base chakra.)

Visualize this root going deep into the earth’s molten core, feeding your body with comforting warmth. Then imagine the root slowly ascending back into your body, and take a number of deep breaths while you see its nourishing energy filling your whole being.

Cross your arms in front of your chest and speak words affirming that you are a child of Mother Nature. Consider performing yoga or additional visualizations that connect you with the Mighty Mother.
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Automatic Drawing Exercise
MARCH 30, 2022 BY LAURA TEMPEST ZAKROFF

March 30 celebrates a humble tool that is often overlooked in favor of fancy pens and markers—the wondrous pencil. If you’re into coloring books, you might have already discovered the joys of colored pencils. The quality ones are very smooth to draw with, which makes them a great choice for the mediumistic practice of automatic writing or drawing. This is a relaxing exercise that can yield some amazing results.

All you need is some paper and a dependable pencil. Set yourself in a quiet, comfortable place with a reliable surface to draw on. If you have a specific question for a guide, spirit, ancestor, or deity, ask it now. Otherwise you can just see what comes. Put the pencil point to paper, close your eyes, take some slow, deep breaths, and relax. Let your hand move as it wants across the page for as long as it needs. Once it becomes still, look at the paper and see what shapes or words have formed there to divine your answer.
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Back to the Roots
MARCH 31, 2022 BY RAVEN DIGITALIS

Spring is springing and the roots of Mother Earth’s flora are beginning to grow in strength. Let’s do a little work on our own roots.

Sit calmly in a comfortable spot outside, wearing minimal or comfortable clothing (or none at all!). Visualize your root chakra growing down into the earth in a dark red color. While doing so, repeat the Sanskrit word Muladhara. (This is the ancient Vedic Hindu name for the base chakra.)

Visualize this root going deep into the earth’s molten core, feeding your body with comforting warmth. Then imagine the root slowly ascending back into your body, and take a number of deep breaths while you see its nourishing energy filling your whole being.

Cross your arms in front of your chest and speak words affirming that you are a child of Mother Nature. Consider performing yoga or additional visualizations that connect you with the Mighty Mother.
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Flour in the Wind
MARCH 29, 2022 BY ARI MANKEY

By the end of March, we are often imagining the places we want to visit in the summer. To aid in our travels, we like to perform this spell that honors the wind and the spirits of air.

On a windy day, take a small handful of flour and go outside to a place where you won’t be disturbed. In your mind’s eye, visualize where you wish to travel this year. Visualize yourself arriving there safely as you feel the spring breeze whirl around you.

Open your hand and lightly blow the flour in your palm into the wind. As you blow the flour, visualize your journeys being picked up by the winds and scattered to where you wish to go, and then say:

May the spirits of air take
me where I want to go.
Let my journeys be where
the kind winds blow!
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Magical Spring Cleaning
MARCH 28, 2022 BY DEBORAH BLAKE

Spring is here and it is time to do some magical housecleaning. If you want to be really efficient, you can combine this with actual physical cleaning and do both at one time. If it is warm enough where you are, open as many windows as you can. If it is still too cold for that, open one window at the start and one at the end, and close them right away.

Take a sage wand or your favorite cleansing incense and walk through all the rooms of your home, concentrating on clearing away any stagnant or negative energy. Send it out the windows, replacing it with the new clear air. Then take a bowl of salt and water and sprinkle it throughout each room to wash it clear. As you do your cleansing, repeat this spell:

My home is clear and clean,
Filled with fresh energy and light.

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Why People Start Each Month by Saying “Rabbit, Rabbit”
Plus, what to do if you forget.
By Meghan Overdeep

From the haint blue on our porches to the bourbon we bury at weddings, Southerners are no stranger to superstitions. Do we understand half of them? No… but that doesn’t mean we love them any less.

So, you’ve probably heard that some people believe that the most auspicious way to start a new month is by making sure that the first thing they utter on day one is “rabbit, rabbit.” Others say, “white rabbit,” or repeat the word “rabbit” in a different way, but the intention—a month of good luck—is universal.

Rabbits have been associated with good luck for centuries and are popular symbols of rebirth. The origin of this peculiar verbal practice is unclear, but word historian Martha Barnette told NPR that the practice likely began in the UK, where many people still say “white rabbit” on the first of the month.

“That ensures luck,” Barnette explained. “And we don’t know why, you know, rabbits have been associated with luck of one sort or another—usually good luck—for more than 2,000 years. But it’s only in the early 1900s that we see written references to this superstition.”

She said that even Franklin Delano Roosevelt was a believer in the “rabbit, rabbit” ritual.

“He was known to carry a rabbit’s foot during the 1932 election. We still have that rabbit’s foot in a museum,” Barnette said. And supposedly, he also said rabbit, rabbit at the beginning of every month.”

If you forget to say “rabbit, rabbit” as soon as you wake up on the first of the month, fear not. According to Barnette, you can say “black rabbit” right before you go to sleep; or you can say “tibbar, tibbar,” which is rabbit backwards.

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Heartwings Love Notes 2028 Up close and Personal

Heartwings says, “Magnification can be helpful or unhelpful, depending.”

Not too long ago, Stephen brought home a magnifying mirror. It says 10X on the front, and I dare anyone over fifty to look into it and see what his or her facial skin looks like. Just for starters, the furrows and lines normally termed wrinkles are greatly magnified because they are seen as ten times larger. Other characteristics one normally never notices are also made visible to the eye. It’s a view one does not often see or have to come to terms with. Magnification can enhance or do the reverse.

Wrinkles can be indicative of age, ethnicity or ancestry. One’s type of skin can vary accordingly; wrinkles can also become a fixed expression. I remember many years ago seeing a young woman who must have done a lot of frowning and squinting, because that expression had become etched into her youthful face. Right then I vowed to be mindful never to frown and so far, I seem to have avoided the appearance of that kind of forehead wrinkles. I feel the most important thing is to try to have a pleasant expression so that when wrinkles do appear, the lines reflect a happy face.

Have you noticed that smiling faces appear to be more youthful? The solemn models in fashion magazines don’t need to think about that, yet the rest of us might. A face wreathed in smiles is a lovely sight to see, and now that we’re not all wearing masks, more smiles are visible. That to me was one of the downsides of mask wearing. Smiles were hidden, and while eyes can reflect a smile underneath, the mask makes it more difficult to receive the impact of it.

Magnification can also come when comments or opinions expressed by others annoy or even irritate us. Take for instance a chance remark by a tactless person, “How nice you look, you must have lost weight.” If one is feeling sensitive it would be easy to take umbrage at a rather normal-for some-faux pas and to feel somehow insulted or even hurt. One’s sensitivity could magnify the situation from a laughable, unfortunate stumble to a serious insult. The degree of an individual’s sensitivity is what determines how what is said is perceived. It’s like the saying, “What you see is what you get.” Or how something is perceived is how it is received.

What do you see, dear reader, when you look at yourself in a mirror? Do you smile and say, “Hello, Sweetheart,” or Handsome, or something similar? Or do you frown and look more closely to see whatever about your visage does not appear to be to your liking. How sensitive are you to others’ opinions? How critical are you about the appearance of others? All these factors influence what you see when you examine your own appearance. It is very difficult to be objective when not only voices from the past but feelings about oneself come into play. What works for me is to be kind, both to myself and to others.

May what you see in the mirror reflect a happy state of mind.

Blessings and Best Regards, Tasha Halpert

PS Thinking about an Easter gift for someone you cherish? My chapbook, Poems and Prayers, is said by readers to be a book that is comforting and positive. I will happily autograph your copy and mail it anywhere you like or to you, postpaid for $10. Just let me know. I do like to share. Write me with a request or any comments or questions at tashahal@aol.com and check my website for more Love Notes at http://www.heartwingsandfriends.com.

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Omens & Symbols
The Rise Of Sachamama

In Peruvian mythology, the Sachamama is the embodiment of the rain forest mother in the form of a giant snake. In Quechua, Sachamama means “Spirit Mother of the Jungle.”

The vegetation of the forest grows on top of her enormous body as she rises up from the Earth, shedding her skin. She carries the key to the New Earth, as baby Phoenixes hatch from their eggs and Hummingbirds sip from the Rainbow Nectar that make up her scales.

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Instruction Manuals For Living

It can be overwhelming not knowing the way, but it is what you do along the way that matters.

Depending on what stage we are at in our lives, we can sometimes feel like we ought to know more about who we are or how to live. We may even berate ourselves for making the same mistakes, or for just not “getting it,” whatever “it” may be. We wonder how our lives would be if only we had “known better.” During moments like these, it is important to remember that none of us are born with instruction manuals and that learning lessons is a lifelong journey.

Inherent to our being born is that we are here to observe, learn, and grow. Accompanying this is a built-in guarantee that there will be mistakes and misadventures along the way. And while it is only natural that we may sometimes become overwhelmed, especially when the lessons keep coming, it is important to remember that learning to understand yourself and your world is an ongoing and active process where the journey is more important than the destination. Every lesson is intended so you can become more of who you are. As you grow through this self-discovery, you begin to create your own instruction manual. The “how” and “why” is yours to discover, and part of the beauty of being alive is that these rules are always changing.

If you feel that you would like to explore what your personal instruction manual may already say, then try writing down in order some of the significant events that have happened to you. It’s also important to take note of what you learned from each one. When you are done, you may be surprised to discover how much you are always growing and that every lesson learned always informs the next. That being said, there is never a need to be hard on yourself or think that you should have it all figured out. We always know as much as we’re meant to know at that moment, and growing into our fullness is a process that unfolds in divine timing. You and your life are beautiful works in progress. Discover yourself and embrace your life’s lessons, and your instruction manual will create itself.

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Letting Your Light Shine

When we undermine our light by hiding our aptitudes and quashing our dreams, we deny ourselves and others a wealth of experiences.

We are each born into this world with unique gifts. Within us is a glimmer of the divine, a light that can potentially make the world a more beautiful place. But in many, that light lies dormant, snuffed out by fears and feelings of inadequacy. To spark it is to attract attention, face the possibility of rejection or the responsibility of success, and risk being labeled immodest. Yet when we undermine the light by hiding our aptitudes and quashing our dreams, we deny ourselves and others a wealth of experiences. Your abilities are a part of who you are and when you take pride in them, you affirm the love, esteem, and trust with which you view yourself. Moreover, as you express the light within, you grant others permission to do the same, freeing them to explore their own talents.

For some, we are taught to hide our light from the world since childhood. Relatives caution us that the professions associated with our aptitudes are unattainable. Our peers may be envious of our skills and thus overly critical of the activities we instinctively enjoy. And authority figures admonish us to be humble and avoid showing off. But there is a vast chasm that separates those who let their light shine and those who seek only to draw attention to themselves. When you dare to share your light with the world, the beauty and perfection of your soul become clearly visible. You become a whole being — the literal embodiment of your vast potential. Whether you are a wonderful dancer, a first-rate cook, quick with numbers, or a natural negotiator, you’ll come to understand that you do the world no favors when you hold yourself back.

If you have hidden your light for so long that it has shrunk to an ember, make a list of everything you do well, however impractical, silly, or seemingly inconsequential. Then ask yourself how you can positively utilize those abilities in your daily life. The gifts you were born with were not granted to you arbitrarily. While you may never discover what impact your light has had on others, you can be certain that when you embrace your talents and share them with others, you will spread illumination in the world.

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Druid Tree Workings: An Initiation from the Trees
by Dana

In the western esoteric traditions, and traditions tied to them, like druidry, initiation is a powerful method of transformation and energetic work. While features of initiation and their overall goals vary widely by tradition, many initiations do follow some basic patterns, and those are worth exploring. In Inside a Magical Lodge, John Michael Greer notes that the outcome of initiations are to enact specific and desired patterns of change in a person and to connect new members to the group and to the group’s overall egregore (that is, the energetic patterns that a group collectively creates). The initiation then, as he writes, is the magical framework that is put in place in a candidate from which all other things derive.

I believe that we can apply this same practice to working and reconnecting with nature, and today, I’ll share my thoughts on initiations through nature–tree initiations. A tree initiation often results in a very deep, mutually beneficial relationship between you and the trees. Nature and humans cultivated such relationships for most of human history; this is obvious from our mythology, from our own history, and from existing indigenous cultures. It has only been in the last few centuries that those of us in western industrialized cultures lost our ability (and desire) to deeply connect with nature.

Tree initiations are one way of helping us to re-establish those deep bonds with a specific kind of ceremony. In the same way that some dedicate themselves to working with a particular deity, I have found great value in connecting myself deeply with certain tree species. One of the ways into this work is through initiation. That is, you are making a conscious commitment to connecting with a tree or tree species in a sacred manner. You can think about this as a magical act that will help jumpstart a much deeper relationship to the tree and to the species.

With tree initiations, this goes beyond a friendly acquaintance, but rather, is a gateway into the deeper mysteries of nature and of that particular tree or species of trees (or plant, for that matter). A tree initiation, then, is a way of establishing a life-long relationship with a tree species, in the same way, that one you are initiated into a druid order or other magical group, you typically will always be a member of that group as long as both you and the group exist. This kind of ceremony can allow you to connect with the trees in a way. Like any other initiation, the initiation works deeply within you, and through you, and has long-term and lasting effects. Perhaps what I write here is appealing to you, and you have been called to a specific tree, you will find it of use to continue to use some of the strategies I include here. I will also note that while I am describing “tree initiations” you can do the same thing outlined here with plants and other features of nature.

Please note that this is a post in my longstanding series on working with trees in a sacred manner. Earlier posts in this series include finding the face of a tree, working with trees on the outer planes, working with trees on the inner planes, helping tree spirits pass, offering tree blessings for abundance and wassailing trees, considering the role of the seasons and seasonal the breath of the earth in tree work, cultivating deep connections with trees, connecting to trees in urban settings, working with the Nywfre/energy flows of trees through sap flows, deepening relationships with trees, seeking out and working with grandmother trees, cultivating reciprocity in tree relationships, creating intuitive tree sigils and tree magic, and witnessing the death of a tree. I list these out here because much of the preparation for doing a tree initiation, which is a very advanced practice, can be found in these other posts where you get to know trees, support them, and work with them in various ways.

Druid Tree Workings: An Initiation from the Trees
Before we can delve into the specifics of tree initiations, I’m going to start by describing some features of initiations so that we can see how we might begin to craft tree initiations:

Preparation. There is typically a period of time when the candidate prepares for their initiation. The specifics of this vary widely. This might be a longer period of time: like a period of learning and growing in that tradition, a period of growing up (as in years). But there is usually also some distinct time set aside for the preparation for that exact ceremony (a silent vigil, period of meditation, special bath, etc). This certainly applies to tree initiations; there often is a long period of preparation (and you might not even know you have been being prepared) while you learn and connect with your tree. Most of the work that I outlined in my previous posts on Druid Tree Workings (see full list above) is much of the prep work for such initiatic work.

Timing. Timing often plays a critical role in initiations. For coming of age rituals and initiations that mark the passage of an important life event, the timing of them is obviously based on marking a key point in someone’s life. For initiations into magical traditions, path of the sun in the wheel of the year, the placement of the stars, or the phase of the moon may be important (e.g. having an initiation on the equinox). For tree initiations, paying attention to the seasonal cycles is particularly critical. I have found that different trees have their high energy times at different points; apple is most powerful when she is full fruit, witch hazel is most powerful in late fall when she is blooming; and maple is most powerful in early spring when her sap is running, as three examples. See this post earlier in the druid tree workings series for some general timing suggestions on when trees have their highest energy (because that is a very good time to do this work).

Roles: Common roles include the Initiator(s) who are performing the initiation, the candidate (those being initiated), and, depending on the initiation, observers/community who are there in support of the person being initiated. Anyone with any role in the initiation (even spectator) take part in the experience, and all are changed by it.

Receptivity. Typically, initiations involve somehow putting a candidate into a receptive state so that other work can be done. This can vary widely; in indigenous cultures, fasting, not sleeping for a period of days, and/or ingesting psychotropic mushrooms are ways to place the candidate in a receptive state; in other magical traditions, the candidate may be blindfolded, exposed to startling noises, or other things to get them out of their normal working state. With tree initiations, I believe that this receptive state comes after basic energy exchange and sitting in quietude with the tree.

A fundamental shift of some kind. The whole point of initiation is to enact some change in the candidate and to mark some important milestone; as such, effective initiations are accompanied by some fundamental shift. The shift may be subtle or dramatic, but it is present. The lack of such a shift likely means the initiation “didn’t take” due to a variety of reasons (e.g. the candidate is not ready for that kind of shift).

Now that we have some idea of the features of initiations more broadly, we can begin talking about specific tree initiations.

Preparation
Just like any other initiatory experience, it is important to prepare for a tree initiation for a period of time. For one, both the tree and you have to be ready for it and willing for it to happen, and that isn’t like putting a date on a calendar. Rather, this should be something that you come to understand over a period of time, that you are called to do or a specific tree you feel called to really deeply work with. Sometimes, the preparation for initiation can take years. Trees work on their own time and it may not be your time.

I have personally found, and this might be different for you, that tree species will call to you. A particular tree might be your main contact (e.g. the oak in your back yard) but you will find yourself as you are out on the landscape continuing to be drawn to the same species. Over time, this is a species you might end up having an initiatic experience.

Establishing a relationship. Most trees and plants want to have relationships with us; they miss our ancestral connections, and they are looking to re-establish them. The first step on this journey is working with trees, recognizing that they are our elders and that they have much to teach us. Practicing respectful communication with them, recognizing and honoring their agency, and a lot of other basic steps (again, outlined by my other posts). If you are going to prepare for initiation with a tree or ask a tree for such an initiation, you need to lay the foundation and groundwork. This can take time, perhaps a lot of time, but it is time well spent.

Observe, interact, and commune. As you are preparing for this work, you want to spend time with your tree or tree species as much as you can. Observe your trees in different seasons. Interact with your trees. You might find that a species all has a particular mentality, although individuals differ (think about this like culture–all people from certain cultures share certain features but are still individuals). Spend a lot of time talking with your tree, getting to know your tree, hearing their story, and sharing yours. Find out what you have in common and how you might work deeply together.

Build understanding. Its also a great idea to learn about your tree. Find out information on the tree’s ecology, role in the ecosystem, growth habits, how tall it grows, how long it lives, what you can make from it. Get a bit of the wood and see how it is to shape it. Learn how to make medicine, cordage, food, drink, whatever you can from the tree. I have a whole series on druid trees that you can draw upon if you are anywhere near my ecosystem (see the top of this post for a complete list).

Establishing commitment. Once you’ve done that preliminary work, there will be a time where your work deepens, where you grow committed to each other. It is at this point that crafting a tree initiation ceremony will be appropriate.

Planning Your Initiation
Once you feel it is appropriate and you get a clear signal from your tree, you can begin planning your tree initiation, a ceremony you craft together with the tree that helps connect you deeper and leads you into the deeper mysteries of the living earth. I’m going to now offer some possibilities from my experience, but understand that each of these ceremonies are different. Above all, work with the tree itself and hear what guidance they have for you.

Taking the Tree Within
Unless the tree is poisonous (like Yew), I have found that taking the tree into yourself in some way and offering something in exchange is an important part of this process. Your tree research should have revealed if the tree is poisonous or if it was used as medicine/food. In my ecosystem, few actually are poisonous and most have edible leaves or needles, but it might be different in yours. It also might be the case that part of the tree can be eaten but the rest is poisonous (for example, black locust flowers/beans can be eaten safely). Or it might be that eating it may require some preparation (certain tannin-rich acorns). Many of the hardwood trees (maple, birch, linden) have leaves that are edible, especially earlier in the season when they are young and tender. If it is poisonous, obviously, don’t eat it. If it isn’t, poisonous, however, I would suggest that you start consuming small parts of it (with permission and with an offering). This allows part of the tree’s life force and energy to work its way into your physical body.

Always listen to what the tree tells you regarding whether or not you can take a piece of it. Honoring that tree’s request, and not taking something if it is not allowed/offered, is one of the most important and meaningful ways of building a relationship. Many trees have been abused by humans, have lost their elders to humans, and some can take time before they are willing to give.

Here are a few possibilities:

Eating leaves, flowers, seeds, nuts. You can eat flowers, leaves, nuts, and seeds fresh off the tree certain times of year. Each tree has a different cycle. May tree leaves and flowers are edible (and delicious when young and tender). Nuts can also be enjoyed. Flowers and nuts are very potent because they contain the lifeforce of the tree.

A Tree Tea. Many trees make a pleasant tea that you can drink. I enjoy conifers for this quite a bit—eastern hemlock, white pine, blue spruce all make delightful teas. To make a simple needle or leaf tea, I will gather the leaves/needles (leaving an appropriate offering) and pour boiling water on it and let it sit for a while (30 min or longer for needles, 10-15 min for tree leaves or flowers). If you want, you can instead use sun tea and allow the sun to heat up the needles. Strain and add a bit of honey for an amazing treat.

A Tree Bud or Leaf Essence. Some trees are not healthy for you to eat or don’t want to be damaged or have their parts removed, but you can create a flower or leaf essence. You simply go out on a sunny day with a bowl of spring water and put the bowl right up to the leaf/flower and let the leaf/flower sit in the bowl of water for a time (use your intuition). This creates a “mother” essence that you can then water down and store (some people put a bit of brandy in their essences to preserve them). And you can take the “mother” essence for a long period of time.

Tree Sap. Some trees (walnut, birch, hickory, various maples) also have sap that runs and that can be tapped in the spring. With permission and copious offerings, you might be able to tap a tree and drink their sap directly (all of the above saps can be drank directly or boiled down into syrup/sugar). This is an extremely powerful exchange (you are essentially drinking the lifeblood of the tree) and should be done with respect and honor. To drink their sap, you don’t even need to tap them—I remember a year I was harvesting birch branches. It is best to do this in the spring right as they are budding. I harvested a branch from one tree and it was still running. I sat under that branch spot and it dripped every 15 seconds or so, and I allowed it to drip right in my mouth for a time and then made an offering (you know what!) to the tree in thanks. Don’t waste a drop!
Tree Resin. Some trees also produce an edible resin (like white pine) that you can consume with great care. White pine is the tree I most frequently do this with; again, this is the lifeblood of the tree and should be done only with deep respect, permission, and offering.

All of these offer possibilities to take the tree within, and much deeper work can manifest once we have a stronger physical connection to the tree.

Discover the tree’s time of power
In order to perform the tree initiation, you will need to discover the tree’s time of power during the year. Most deciduous trees are in their power at some point in the light half of the year, while conifers may have a longer time you can work with them. When is this tree at the height of its power? What I mean by this is–when is this tree at the peak of its vitality and presence on the landscape? For example, Maples has two major times of power–when they are flowing in late winter/early spring and when they are in full fiery form in late fall. Oaks seem to be in power throughout the light half of the year–once they have a full crown of leaves and are perhaps at the height of their power at the summer solstice and into the fall as they are dropping thousands of ripened acorns. I’ve found most nut-bearing and fruit-bearing trees seem to be at their peak when those nuts and fruits are ripening and falling. You can intuit this and ask the tree.

The point here is that you want to perform your ceremony at a time when both you and your tree are at their peak (e.g. no good will come of you trying to perform a ceremony with a maple tree at the winter solstice!)

Exchange and offering
You want to think about what exchange you will make, what you will offer the tree. While a physical offering here can be used, I would recommend some kind of longer offering (e.g. I will gather your nuts and plant them in places each fall). Here, the exchange should be something more meaningful (your time, energy, and service) for this tree.

Journey, lessons, or teachings
As part of an initiatatic experience, you will want to create space for direct communion with the tree. Depending on who you are and what methods you use, this part can vary but could include: an open conversation with the tree, meeting the tree on the inner planes and having a spirit journey (see more here), using divination tools to receive messages from the tree, or using sacred dreaming to receive messages. Create space for these lessons and teachings from the tree (and continue to create space for them as time passes beyond your initiation).

Finding the right space
Obviously, you also need to seek out the right place to hold your initiation ceremony. This should be somewhere private where you can be near the tree species. This might be easy for some, and for others, you might have to do a bit of searching. Consider this part of the process!

Putting it all together: Crafting Your Ceremony
Your ceremony will obviously be unique to you, so I cannot give you a specific ceremony here, but I can offer what one may look like. If we put the various pieces above together, here is one option. This is for a sugar maple tree in the fall.

  1. In the space you selected, set up your space in any way you feel is appropriate. In our sample ritual with a maple tree (in fall), this would include making a mandala of leaves around the base of the tree and creating an altar in front of the tree.
  2. Open up a sacred grove in the space you selected, near a tree that you want to have a tree initiation with. (I would use AODA’s solitary grove opening for this purpose).
  3. State your intentions for the ceremony and give space for the tree to offer their own intentions (see last week’s post!)
  4. Take the tree within you in whatever manner specified. For our sugar maple ritual, this would be a tablespoon of maple syrup.
  5. Go into a deep meditative state, meeting the spirit of the tree, and asking the tree to take you on a journey and offer you initiation and teachings
  6. Make a commitment and an offering to the tree (of time, energy, etc). Make sure to do something during the ceremony to begin that offering and commitment. For example, you might sing a song to the tree (I have a maple song I would sing) and then make an offering of liquid gold to the tree as well as an herbal blend.
  7. Close the ceremony, ground, and journal about the experience.

This is just one of many examples that you could use–the point being that you are carefully crafting a ceremony to bring you much closer to the sacred maple tree. The last thing I’ll share is that sometimes these initiations aren’t planned–they simply happen!

PS: The Druid’s Garden blog will be going on hiatus for a few weeks while we do a site upgrade. We will be moving to a new domain and doing some scheduled website maintenance, so you may also experience some intermittent downtime. No worries–the blog will be back up and running soon!

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What Is Orthorexia Nervosa?
ANDREW WEIL, M.D.

Can you please explain orthorexia nervosa? I understand it is an obsession with healthy eating. How would you know if you have it?

In 1997, Steven Bratman, M.D. introduced the term orthorexia nervosa to describe an eating disorder marked by excessive preoccupation with healthy eating. He coined the word orthorexia from Greek roots meaning “correct appetite” and added the nervosa to suggest a psychological imbalance. (The term resembles anorexia nervosa, a well-known, potentially life-threatening emotional illness characterized by loss of appetite, often driven by obsessive fear of gaining weight.) Orthorexia nervosa is not yet recognized as an official diagnosis, and experts are divided as to whether it is a true eating disorder.

People may choose not to eat animal foods for ethical or religious reasons or avoid gluten because it gives them distressing and measurable symptoms. Others may experiment with restrictive diets promoted for beneficial effects on metabolism. These are reasonable eating strategies. The concern of Dr. Bratman and many of his medical colleagues is that some people who limit their food choices may do so to a degree that impairs both physical and psychological well-being, leading, possibly, to social isolation, anxiety about eating, and even malnutrition.

Here’s Dr. Bratman’s self-test on whether you could be affected with orthorexia nervosa:

(1) I spend so much of my life thinking about, choosing and preparing healthy food that it interferes with other dimensions of my life, such as love, creativity, family, friendship, work and school.

(2) When I eat any food I regard to be unhealthy, I feel anxious, guilty, impure, unclean and/or defiled; even to be near such foods disturbs me, and I feel judgmental of others who eat such foods.

(3) My personal sense of peace, happiness, joy, safety and self-esteem is excessively dependent on the purity and rightness of what I eat.

(4) Sometimes I would like to relax my self-imposed “good food” rules for a special occasion, such as a wedding or a meal with family or friends, but I find that I cannot. (Note: If you have a medical condition in which it is unsafe for you to make any exception to your diet, then this item does not apply.)

(5) Over time, I have steadily eliminated more foods and expanded my list of food rules in an attempt to maintain or enhance health benefits; sometimes, I may take an existing food theory and add to it with beliefs of my own.

(6) Following my theory of healthy eating has caused me to lose more weight than most people would say is good for me or has caused other signs of malnutrition such as hair loss, loss of menstruation or skin problems.

Eating disorder specialists report seeing more and more patients with orthorexia nervosa and the problems associated with it. They also maintain that it is important to distinguish people who merely follow a non-mainstream theory of healthy eating from those whose disordered eating patterns lead to impairment of physical, psychological, or social well-being.

I was in Okinawa recently, famed for its abundance of centenarians and healthy seniors. In Ogimi Village, reputed to be a focal point for longevity, I talked with a group of Okinawans in their upper nineties and lower hundreds, all of whom looked vital and happy. I asked for their advice about aging well. The first answer from all of them was, “Eat everything!”

In countries with the best food – Italy, France, Japan, for example – people eat everything. They regard eating, first and foremost, as a source of pleasure, best enjoyed with others. They do not approach the table as a minefield, where one false move might be disastrous. Their relationships with food are much less neurotic and much healthier than ours.

Andrew Weil, M.D.

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Sweet Pea And Lemon Pesto
~Dr. Weil

Recipe courtesy of Hollyhock, from the cookbook Hollyhock Garden to Table.

Nutrients Per Serving:
Calories 62.7
Fat 6.0 grams
Saturated Fat 1.3 grams
(84.8% of calories from fat)
Protein 1.5 grams
Carbohydrate 0.9 grams
Cholesterol 2.4 mgs
Fiber 0.2 grams

This pesto recipe is vibrant, fresh and brightly flavored.

There’s no doubt that basil stands as queen of the pesto kingdom, but when we slipped these sweet green gems in its place, well, let’s just say the basil was a little pea-green with envy. Vibrant, fresh and brightly flavored, this pesto is perfect as a spread for crostini or baguette, spread on cooked fish or tossed with pasta.

Ingredients
1 cup fresh or frozen peas
1 clove garlic
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp fine lemon zest
3 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper

Instructions
Pulse peas, garlic, Parmesan, lemon juice and zest in a food processor. With machine running, slowly drizzle in olive oil until well combined. Season generously with salt and pepper. Serve as a spread, on grilled fish, or over your choice of hot pasta.

– Heidi Scheifley

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Coach Gilberto Chapter 5
by Stephen Halpert

Gilberto and Ramon stood outside the headmaster’s office together. “Who’s going to tell him?” Gilberto said.
Ramon shrugged. “You’re the boss, I’m only a coach.” He smiled and nudged Gilberto.
Gilberto nodded, squared his shoulders, took a breath and knocked.
Headmaster Ed Long opened the door, smiled and waved Gilberto and Ramon into his office. “Please take a seat,” he said, indicating two leather club chairs. He picked up the phone. “Coffee for three,” he said. Setting down the phone he turned to his two guests. “You two are a week earlier than I had expected.” He looked a them and frowned slightly. “What’s up? You both look ready to throw in the towel.”
“Is it that obvious?” Gilberto said.
Ed Long grinned. “Nothing I wouldn’t have already expected from day one. You’re both superstars starting a new and difficult job here.”
“Were superstars,” Gilberto said with a smile.
Ramon raised his eyebrows and leaned forward. “We can build your soccer teams to the level you want. But it will take at least several years or more.”
The coffee arrived and Ed poured the three cups. He nodded his head in agreement. “That actually sounds overly optimistic. After all, Houndstooth has never pretended to be an athletic powerhouse. Far from it. But I’ve got a Board to deal with. And ever since they built the gym, they got bitten by the bug of wanting to win at athletics.” He shook his head, sighed and sipped his coffee.
He set down his cup. “But,” he went on. “It gets worse. Since a boy who attended Tweed got that contract to play pro soccer, with all the hoopla and notoriety, not to mention that million dollar signing bonus, my Board members have a severe case of jock itch.”
Gilberto chuckled. “But you’re maintaining academic standards and integrity.”
“Believe me that goes back to the original charter. Houndstooth was founded as a learning center, teaching the sciences and great works of literature. Scholarship was its only criteria.”
Gilberto nodded. “Sports are big money. You can’t blame a boy for angling for a pro career.”
“And perhaps one day hopefully using Houndstooth as a stepping stone,” Ed said. He paused and took a beath. “By the way, you may not have heard yet, but this fall Houndstooth’s going co ed. We’re merging with Paisley Hall, a girl’s preparatory school in Salem on the North Shore. That will add close to three hundred additional students to the roster.” He paused and looked at the two men.
Gilberto sipped his coffee. Ramon waited to hear the rest of Ed Long’s revelations.
“So, Gilberto, I’m naming you Athletic Director. Ramon you’re varsity coach. We’ll need a new woman coach joining our ranks. Some board members have suggested rugby in addition to field hockey, basketball, and softball.
Gilberto set down his cup and leaned forward. “If she’s available,” he began “I could recommend Diana Rain. She’s played pro rugby in addition to her work for the government.”
Ramon cracked a hint of a smile but said nothing.
“Bring her in for an interview,” Headmaster Long said. “Sooner we build a coaching staff the sooner we’ll better be able to determine a sensible strategy.”
“Question,” Gilberto said. “”How would the Board feel about me and Ramon offering scholarships to children of color currently attending public schools throughout Greater Boston?”
“Personally I’m color blind,” Ed Long said. “So long as their grades match their athletic competency, there’s no problem.”
Gilberto nodded. “But what about the woman you’ve already got coaching?”
Ed leaned back in his chair and waved a hand dismissively. “Yes, Rosemary’s a sweetheart, fine mind, gets along well with everyone. But I feel we need someone older and more experienced, as well as having some special skills in the sport of Rugby.”
Gilberto nodded. “So, it’s your feeling the the Board will be okay with greater diversity?”
Headmaster Long nodded. “I don’t see a problem so long as whomever you recruit maintains satisfactory grades and doesn’t spout revolutionary rhetoric. No need to invite in any adolescent rebellion.” His phone rang and he picked it up. “Seat them in the faculty lounge. I’ll be right there to greet them.” He turned to Gilberto and Ramon. “I’m giving you two a free hand. I’m afraid we must cut this meeting short. I’ve two perspective Chinese students and their parents waiting for me.” He opened his door and ushered them out.
Ramon blinked in the mid-morning sunshine. “So, he’s basically saying don’t bring in students that will make waves.”
“I guess,” Gilberto said, ” however, I doubt this sedate old private school could ever turn into a revolutionary hotbed. “
Ramon smiled. “Don’t be so sure, these days there’s lots of social organizing: the have nots don’t want to be the have nots anymore.”
Gilberto nodded and chuckled. “Ah, hot air never won a soccer cup.”
And we know all about hot air,” Ramon chuckled. “I promised Rosa I’d pick her up some groceries, see you later, maybe?”
Gilberto went home to a quiet house and a happy Boris. He patted him and looked into his eyes. “Glad for company, big fella?” He put in a call to Diana Rain.
“Well hello,” she said. “How’s coaching?”
“That’s why I’m calling. Headmaster wants to incorporate rugby into the athletic program. When I heard that, I immediately thought of you coming on board, coaching and building a team.”
In his mind he could see the sparkle in her eyes. After a moment she replied. “Yes, I like that. I think I could work it into my schedule. Provides a neat cover,” she said. “Recruiting and all, especially.” They agreed to meet at Houndstooth early the following week. Then Gilberto put in a call to Headmaster Long’s office to set up a date and time for the meeting.

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Kitty Kat’s Korner
=^..^=

Why Cats Make The Best Pets!
By Steve Dale

There are more cats than dogs in the United States according to American Pet Products Association: 94 million cats and 90 million dogs. Cats rule for many reasons, including ease of care. Got cat? There’s lots you don’t need to deal with. Here are 12 examples:

Great for Couch Potatoes
Of course, dogs love to snuggle on the sofa, but they also require time outdoors on a leash. True enough, walking a cat on a leash and harness is an option some cats increasingly enjoy, and it may be enriching, but it’s not a daily requirement. Instead, with a cat, it’s all about shut eye, lazing in your favorite seat while kitty “makes bread” and purrs away in your lap.

Easy Potty Pickups
If you’re a responsible dog parent, plastic bags must go with you wherever you take your pup. There’s no such issue for cat parents, as scooping a litter box is only a room or two away.

Rain, Sleet and Snow — No Worries
In Northern cities, a winter coat for the dog might be a must and after slipping on your own boots, now comes the struggle to put on the dog booties (and there are four paws to deal with). If you’re lucky, the pup does his business fast while the snow is falling and the wind is blowing. Then there’s the rain. Even with a slicker on, you’ll be dealing with a stinky, wet dog. Dog parents deal with more inclement weather than postal carriers.

Too Cool for Drool
“What’s that rag you carry around?” The proud parent of a Mastiff answers, “To catch drool.” Some dog breeds may create enough slobber to drown a kitten. The very notion of shaking a head with drool flying every which way could even offend finicky feline sensibilities.

Freezer Free of Mice
It’s been said that an ideal diet for an indoor cat is a “mouse in a can.” Be careful what you ask for. What if you really had to deal with that? Welcome to the world of some pet reptiles such as boa constrictors and various large lizards that devour a mouse in a single gulp. Imagine the response from your houseguest, Grandma Rose, when she wanders over to the freezer late at night to get a scoop of ice cream and instead grabs a frozen pinkie mouse. Grandma Rose might fall over right there.

Forget Forever Fetching
Cats require playtime, but except for kittens and maybe some Abyssinians and Japanese Bobtail they truly don’t have canine endurance. You can get tennis elbow playing nonstop fetch for 30 minutes with a goofy Labrador. No such problem for cats who will give it up long before half an hour.

Pepe Le Pew — Ew!
Cats are, of course, meticulously clean, taking their own bath whenever needed. Have you ever smelled a European ferret? In truth, it’s not that ferrets are dirty. Like Pigpen from Peanuts, ferrets carry around their odor with them. After all, these guys are a relative of the skunk. Ferrets are delightfully entertaining pets, but you may need a clothespin for your nose. There is no such issue with cats.

Keepin’ It Clean
Let’s face it (it’s the truth) — some dogs, especially hound dogs, may have a certain smell about them. And many dogs love to roll in the grossest smelling thing they can find, from a dead animal to manure. Even writing about such a horrendous habit is arguably distasteful in a cat magazine. No cat would ever even entertain the notion of joyfully rolling in anything so gross.

Love Thy Neighbor
Neighbors never complain about barking or squawking cats — that’s because they don’t. At their loudest, the person on the other side of the wall in an apartment or condominium isn’t likely to hear a cat like they would a dog or parrot. It’s not that cats don’t have a lot to say, they’re simply less raucous about how they say it.

Howl No!
Some dogs may howl for no apparent reason, perhaps at the moon or more likely the sounds of first responders, fire engines and police cars. Cats don’t howl at anything.

Go Your Own Way
Herding dogs are downright brilliant, but often their innate herding skills can be annoying to live with, such as Shetland Sheepdogs, Border Collies or Australian Shepherds nipping at running children as they work to keep everyone in line. Cats don’t care — and there’s no need to nip on anyone’s tail.

Nice to Never be Drafted
So far, the U.S. military hasn’t put cats to work. There are no bomb sniffing cats or cats protecting military bases. The U.S. military has not employed cats to detect land mines. No doubt cats could do it, I’m just not sure they can follow military orders. However, cats do require us to follow their orders. When cats can give the orders, they may be drafted, but as a commanding officer.

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Georgia Nicols
Weekly Horoscopes

Georgia Nicols
Weekly Horoscope: Sunday, April 03, 2022
All Signs

This week is about facing hard problems and then solving them. That’s because on Monday, we have a lineup of fiery Mars with stern Saturn. (Anger and frustration are likely.) The silver lining is that by Thursday/Friday, these planets line up with Mercury to form solutions. In fact, this dynamic energy will morph into a physical manifestation of the creative ideas that spring to our minds! Therefore, don’t be discouraged at the beginning of the week, because as this week progresses, solutions will present themselves and things will be resolved. Eckhart Tolle said, “If you can get the inside right, the outside will fall into place.”

Aries (March 21-April 19)
Your challenge this week will be finding a way to work skilfully with friends as well as deal with groups and organizations. At the beginning of the week, you might feel frustrated. In fact, you might argue with a friend or oppose the ideas of a group. Fortunately, as this week progresses, The Sun and Mercury in your own sign present brilliant solutions, and you see how to deal with someone so that things are not only dissolved but even improved! Therefore, keep the faith this week. It will begin with some challenges, but you will come up with some brilliant solutions that are actually a physical manifestation of your clever ideas. (I’m impressed.)

Taurus (April 20-May 20)
Relations with parents as well as bosses, teachers, VIPs and even the police are challenging at the beginning of this week. You might find yourself at serious odds with someone. You are ambitious and determined to achieve your goals, which is why you won’t be happy if someone tries to thwart your efforts. Nevertheless, this is the case. What to do? Wait a day or two because solutions will present themselves. They could be help from behind the scenes, or you yourself might come up with a new approach or way of doing things. Whatever the case, you will be able to make things work and get the cooperation and approval you need by the end of the week. (If at first you don’t succeed, destroy all evidence that you ever tried.) Just kidding…..

Gemini (May 21-June 20)
Get ready for some serious arguments about politics, religion or racial issues at the beginning of the week. Some of you might not be involved in these controversial matters. Instead, you might find yourself at odds with someone over a medical situation, a legal entanglement, or something to do with the media or higher education or further training. Whatever it is will make you feel angry or discouraged. Please don’t let this get you down. You are a fast thinking, clever, resilient person. You know that if you stay on your feet, you can live to fight another day. In fact, a friend or a member of a group will help you either literally, or with ideas and suggestions — so that by the end of the week, you find your solution! Voila!

Cancer (June 21-July 22)
Disputes about inheritances, shared property, taxes and debt, or challenges to a mortgage or a loan will be troublesome at the beginning of the week. You might even feel overwhelmed because you hate money problems. You like your financial scene to be tidy and reliable so that you can have a warm feeling in your tummy. (Well, don’t we all?) Fear not because a helpful suggestion or an opportunity or opening from a parent, boss, teacher or someone in a position of authority will give you a practical solution or a workable long-range plan. This person will give you the approval or permission you need to bring things together and make them work. Keep the faith!

Leo (July 23-Aug. 22)
This week begins with a nasty challenge with partners and close friends. You are both at odds with each other. You don’t agree. You might find this person frustrating and feel that they are just making things worse or more difficult for you. And this could be the case – for the moment. Nevertheless, don’t escalate this argument. Remember your long-term objective: ultimately, you want to get along with loved ones. Refrain from saying anything you’ll regret because later in the week, solutions or recommendations from a teacher or someone who is “different” will make everything work. One of these solutions could be a change of location. “I’m loving this sun!”

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22)
Almost certainly, at the beginning of this week, you will encounter difficulties in your job, or possibly frustrations that relate to your health or even a pet. Whatever it is, it’s discouraging and frustrating. You have that feeling, “Who needs this? Not me.” And indeed, you’re right. You don’t need this. Fortunately, later in the week, financial assistance from a third party, or advice about shared possessions or jointly-held property, or perhaps even money back from the government will make all the difference for you. Such a relief! You’re so glad to know that that after all this frustration, the light at the end of the tunnel isn’t a train!

Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22)
You like peace and harmony in your surroundings, which is why you don’t like to rock the boat. You’re a people pleaser. Nevertheless, at the beginning of this week, you will find romantic relationships to be up the proverbial creek. Oh yes, they’ll be frustrating. Likewise, relations with your kids will be difficult because they might be angry with you, or you might face what feels like impossible challenges with them. Do not be discouraged and don’t let this get you down. By the end of the week, Mercury, which is opposite your sign, will attract someone or some kind of situation that presents a solution to all this. Yay! At last…..

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21)
Into every life, a little hard butter must fall. Unfortunately, at the beginning of this week, hard butter will be the least of your worries because you will encounter difficulties with family members or with your home or where you live. It might provoke family arguments. Things could get nasty. They will definitely be challenging. The thing to know is that no matter what happens, as the week progresses, practical ideas yield doable solutions. In fact, by the end of the week, you will deal with these problems quite successfully. Who knew? Therefore, don’t say anything that you will regret at the beginning of the week when you’re in the midst of some angst. Stay chill. The Calvary is on its way.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 21)
By nature, you are a breezy, upbeat optimist, always planning your next trip to someplace exciting. However, at the beginning of this week, you might be angry at a sibling, relatives or neighbour. Something will really “get your goat.” The secret is not to give into anger. Resist the urge to lash out at someone and get involved in an argument because you will regret this. Be patient because creative ideas, possibly from your kids, will present some lovely solutions to you by the end of the week. Since you know this is the case, remember to keep your shirt on. Yeah, yeah, I know that’s tough when you have to get something off your chest.

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 19)
In a perfect world, you like to keep things orderly because you want to make a good impression on others; plus you know that you’re happier when your life run smoothly. Obviously, part of the smooth running of your life involves financial security. At the beginning of this week, financial issues about cash flow and earnings will concern you. You might have an argument about something you own? It will be upsetting. The important thing to know is a family member or something related to family and home will come up with a solution! Everything will fall into place. This means you must be patient at the beginning of the week and refrain from doing anything you will later regret.

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 18)
Your challenge at the beginning of this week is not to get your belly in a rash. Mars and Saturn will be lined up in your sign on Monday, which will create frustrations. You might feel angry with someone. (Incidentally, it will help you mellow out if you work with metals or physically touch metals, like putting away the cutlery when washing up after dinner. Seriously.) You will just have to tough this one out with the knowledge that later in the week, lovely solutions will present themselves to you. Your own genius-like mind will come up with new ways to achieve what you want to do. “Things are only impossible until they’re not.” (Capt. Picard in Star Trek.)

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20)
Unfortunately, the beginning of this week will feel anxious and difficult for you. Much of this anxiety will be internalized and others might not even be aware of what you are undergoing. (That is truly challenging because who will sympathize with you?) What’s very important to know is that the problems you face at the beginning of the week will be solved by the end of the week. The solution will probably come through money and financial assistance or clever, moneymaking ideas on your part. Never forget that lucky, moneybags Jupiter is in your sign this year for the first time in 12 years and Jupiter always brings divine protection. Whew!

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Weekly Horoscopes Beginning Sunday, 03 April 2022

If you’re born within a cusp period (16 to 26 of any month); you’re advised to read horoscopes of both signs covered by that period. You’re on the border; you may have influences from houses within those signs.

Outlines are longer versions; consist of every possible detail of everyday and are based on three parts of each sign: 1st, 2nd & 3rd Decan; that is, any of three divisions of 10° within a sign of the zodiac. Even if you know or don’t know your Decan; I recommend, please read all three Decan.


Aries
Personal theme: I am!!
Fire & cardinal sign: March 21 — April 19

Your horoscope for this week:

You’re busy, so in no mood for in-depth analysis of existing arrangements and future plans. However, the Aries New Moon on 1 April, doesn’t just accent these changes of this nature, but also decluttering your ‘to do’ list and embracing new aims, for now and the more distant future. Others may want to discuss practical matters. These can wait. Take action now, and focus on the details later.

You might start to realise that you have been expecting too much from some people. They may not share your dreams and aspirations or someone lacks the skills or knowledge to carry out jobs to the standard demanded of them. In time their ability will improve but for now, you may have to take over some of the work to get it finished. Access to confidential documents or information will help you understand why there has been some secrecy.

Don’t underestimate your ability to get your house in order and to make good use of your network. Not only are you likely to be seen as a key team player, but others will likely acknowledge that they should have listened to you earlier. A change of tempo is probable after Venus moves into Pisces mid-week. You might then wish to present a slightly softer image. It’s likely that you’ll be asked to join in a charitable adventure and help someone realise a goal. They couldn’t have a better person on their team. Again, using your network, you could make significant difference to this cause.


Taurus
Personal theme: I have!!
Earth & fixed sign: April 20 — May 20

Your horoscope for this week:

You’ve invested serious time in turning plans you’re passionate about into reality; but now, you’re having to rethink them. However, judging by the swift pace of change in the world around you, others are wrestling with similar upheaval. The secret? Be bold. Don’t just rethink plans. Bring in ideas or objectives as daring as they are important to you. They could just become reality, and soon.

You are tuned into the feelings of those around you and you feel sympathetic to their needs. You can sense what your family and friends expect from you and when you feel it is necessary you will go out of your way to please them. Financial matters are also on your mind. That’s why, later on, you will be focused on your own affairs. Thursday will be a good day for buying and selling.

Until your ruling planet, Venus, changes signs on Wednesday, the accent is on your long-term career goals and perhaps optimum to discuss these with a mentor or adviser early in the week. Fact is that at some level you might feel you’ve hit the buffers. Perhaps you do have a very good plan in mind, but need some assistance to map its various stages. Marketing and advertising should have your full attention from mid-week. Though understandably likely to be irritated by those who throw too many options in your direction, you might nevertheless be amazed by what a Gemini comes up with: their way with words could make a real difference.


Gemini
Personal theme: I think!!
Air sign: May 21 — June 20

Your horoscope for this week:

By no means are you a control freak. True, you enjoy being in charge of some arrangements, but are happy when others take over wrestling with tricky matters. The problem? Their ideas worry you, yet you’re anxious about speaking up. Still, raise your concerns. The individuals in question are aware the anxiety they’re triggering. They won’t just talk you through plans, they’ll convince you they’re wise.

There’s nothing predictable about the start of the week and this is just the way you will like it. You have been hoping for something exciting to happen and you won’t be disappointed. Communication is a key factor to all relationships. Conversations, meetings and get togethers are likely to be unconventional. Some weird ideas will be discussed on Friday and then totally forgotten about by the end of the day. If you need information, talk to someone you can trust.

You should be much in demand with many people wanting to pick your brains. Don’t underestimate your gift with words. You might find exactly the perfect slogan or text message that makes all the difference to the smooth running of an operation. That’s not to say that you won’t have to focus your thinking. The alignment of Mars and Saturn in another of the Air signs, indicates that you’ll have to think long and hard. It might also be that you recognise that the need to improve certain skills. You can do this. As Venus moves to the apex of your solar chart mid-week, others should see that you are willing to stretch your wings, and to work in new areas. Don’t underestimate your gift for design either. By next Friday, you may have turned a career corner.


Cancer
Personal theme: I feel!!
Water & cardinal sign: June 21 — July 22

Your horoscope for this week:

Only days ago, you insisted that, no matter what happened, certain arrangements would remain as they are. Suddenly, however, you’ve realised that big time changes, in these and in several other areas of your life, aren’t just inevitable, they’re leading to breakthroughs. The challenge? You’re short on facts. If ever there was a time to take chances, and plunge in, it’s now. Go for it.

A reduction or discount on an item you need to buy will give you something to be pleased about. You will need to find out more about what a developing situation might mean to you. It will be a while before you feel you have been told everything you need to know. Some of your friends will complain that the weekend is too quiet. With the hectic week you have just been through, you will just be glad to be able to take a break.

Boosted by last Friday’s New Moon, you should be in the mood to push your career forward. There ought to be plenty of chance to do that – even over the weekend when networking happens almost by chance. It’s after Venus changes signs and moves into another of the Water signs, Pisces, next Wednesday though that progress is most likely. Contact with those who either work in different industries or who live overseas is set to increase. Though meetings likely can’t occur until after the Full Moon on 16th. Preparation is key. Anticipate renewed contact with those who seem to have gone to ground in the last couple of years – not entirely related to the pandemic. Fact is, that they’re probably realising only now just how important you and your skillsets are to them.


Leo
Personal theme: I will!!
Fire & fixed sign: July 23 — August 22

Your horoscope for this week:

True, your energy, as a Leo, and your enthusiastic support for others, is legendary. However, you can also be amazingly stubborn. That could well be the problem with changes in your own circumstances and relations with others. You’re tempted to battle to keep things as they are. Instead, go with the flow. That may seem weak now, but within days, you’ll realise how wise it was.

Travel will be extra pleasant. If you’re offered a chance to join a group outing, grasp it with both hands. You will have a good time at a surprisingly low cost. The main menace facing your mid-week is the temptation to take on more than you can handle. Don’t feel guilty if you need to pull out of some commitments. Look for outside causes if a housemate complains about feeling ill. Check heating appliances and make sure rooms are well ventilated.

Mars continues its journey through your opposite sign, and it might seem that others are being deliberately obstreperous and even obstructive. That though, is likely an unkind assumption. By the time that Venus changes signs mid-week, peace should be given a chance. It’s not impossible that through frank exchange of views you will arrive at some form of concession, arbitration and then conciliation; but yes, you’re likely right that you need to have your concerns heard and acknowledged. You could argue that this theme has been going on now for months and months. There is the continuing issue of where and how you should be working. Whilst the light at the end of the tunnel might not be precisely what you’ve been looking for, you could perhaps acknowledge that the world has changed dramatically, and that a new way forward has to be found. What’s suggested will likely require you to work temporarily in someone else’s space: the advantage being that this cuts costs.


Virgo
Personal theme: I analyse!!
Earth sign: August 23 — September 22

Your horoscope for this week:

Ordinarily you’ve a talent for imposing order on even very unsettled matters and, equally, helping those who’re struggling find a way out of their problems. However, in several cases you must leave the matters in question to others. it’s the only way they’ll learn from them. Besides, you’ve certain exiting ideas or offers to attend to. Bizarrely, you’ve been ignoring them. Now they’re your priority.

Spirits may be low as the week begins when disappointing news will make everyone a little glum. Even though you half expected this to happen, you were still hoping for the best. Problems can be rectified but you need time to look at the situation from a different angle. Creative pastimes will help you relax later. By the end of the week, you will feel happier and because of this you can give more time to a special relationship.

Perhaps you are already aware that your noted for being quick-witted. You often see things that others miss. True, it might seem to some that you only ever notice flaws. That would be unkind. You’re as good at noticing when something has been done well. You’d do well to applaud others from mid-week when Venus arrives in your opposite sign. Indeed, the fact that you’ve noticed how well someone is working, and their significant contribution to a task could yet lead to others wondering if you shouldn’t be asked to work together more. You could become the ‘A’ team. Given the high probability of you needing to be in two places at once – especially from Wednesday, the need to work in tandem with someone who is able to follow through on tasks, and the fact that you’ve chosen exactly the right person for this, should get your leadership talents noted.


Libra
Personal theme: I balance!!
Air & cardinal sign: September 23 — October 22

Your horoscope for this week:

For ages you’ve sidestepped matters you feared would lead to tiresome dramas. Now, the actual situation is pressing. This not only means taking action, it’s about getting those who’re irresponsible or lazy involved. Once they are, you can then bow out, leaving matters to them. That, in turn, gives you time to focus on certain important elements of your life you’ve been ignoring. Now these must come first.

When you look at all you have achieved so far this year you will be amazed by how your confidence in yourself has grown. Your ability to cope with an ever-changing array of duties, responsibilities and pleasures will astound others too. Being asked to handle a special assignment will bring you no end of satisfaction. A close relationship will take an unexpected turn and this will be a change for the better. All in all, a thoroughly enjoyable and productive few days are in store for you.

Excitement should build. Following on from Friday’s New Moon, Jupiter is headed towards that same area of the zodiac: your opposite sign Aries. It will soon be all systems go. Preparation though is key. If you to make the most of opportunities, you must have a plan. The temptation with Jupiter moving through the worker-bee area of your solar chart, is to take on too much. Recall, yours is one of the Air signs, suggesting that you’re not always practical. There’s also the temptation to offer more than is feasible. Think carefully mid-week about what you promise to do for others. Charitable as you may be, you also need to keep your main goals in mind. Take care too if you join forces with those born under either Sagittarius or Pisces. Like you, they could get carried away – leading to possible disappointment later.


Scorpio & Ophiuchus
Personal theme: I desire!!
Water & fixed signs: October 23 — November 21

Your horoscope for this week:

You don’t think of yourself as a perfectionist. However, the current unsettling changes you’re facing are accenting this tendency. Even more, they’re forcing you to leave decisions to others, while you focus on exploring what’s happening in depth. Note, this isn’t about minimising those changes, but instead, embracing them with enthusiasm. The sooner you take action, the more swiftly you’ll realise how wise this approach is.

Environmental, health and political issues will all come up in conversation. Just try not to impose your will too much on younger members of the family. Give them a chance to form their own decisions. Although your boss won’t object to anything you are doing, they may not be as committed as you are and this could come as quite a surprise. Problems in the workplace will be sorted out very quickly, all thanks to your hard work and determination.

At the end of what promises to be a very busy month, there is a Solar Eclipse in your opposite sign. Be prepared for others to move off in fresh direction and to see signs of their intention midweek. There may be times when you feel you’ve been left behind. Also, as Venus moves towards the speculative area of your solar chart mid-week, you could get so engrossed with the project that you fail to notice what you would otherwise tune into. On the very positive side however, your design skills should be to the fore. If involved in any kind of artistic pursuit, you may excel. Indeed, when it comes to any kind of performance, you’re likely attract applause and congratulations.


Sagittarius
Personal theme: I see!!
Fire sign: November 22 — December 21

Your horoscope for this week:

As a fire sign, you think and move swiftly. What’s more, while you enjoy your quick-minded efficiency, often others benefit from it, too. Yet now it’s the reverse. While certain decisions are pressing, you’ve numerous details to consider. Tempting as it is to put this off, the sooner you tackle these, the better. You’ll discover new, unexpected, and valuable skills – being both thorough, and cautious.

People will look to you for advice and guidance. Don’t be surprised when you end up teaching someone how to manage tricky tasks similar to ones you have tackled with success in the past. An uphill struggle you recently faced is not going to be repeated. This will come as an immense relief. If you are shopping, whether online or in town, be sure to set yourself a spending limit and stick to it.

Following on from last Friday’s New Moon in another of the Fire signs, you could so easily get carried away with ideas. It’s likely too that you’ll join forces with someone born under one of the Air signs of Gemini, Libra or Aquarius. Together, you could come up with a grand plan. Yet this must be underpinned by addressing practicalities. With Venus’ arrival at the base of your solar chart mid-week, adjustments will likely need to be made. It’s probable that you’ve taken on too much and promised too much. Moderating could be a challenge in the second half of the week. Publishing and the written word carry extra weight. It may even be that you’re involved in the launch of a significant endeavour that would draw attention to your experience; making clear that you really are a fount of knowledge.


Capricorn
Personal theme: I use!!
Earth & cardinal sign: December 22 — January 19

Your horoscope for this week:

Normally you’d never commit to any arrangement, small or large, without knowing all the facts. However, with several once-solid arrangements shifting, many swiftly, even seemingly simple facts are either in transition or unreliable. This, in turn, means taking chances. You’ve watched others do this and asked them how. They replied they used their intuition. Now, at least, you’ve an opportunity to try it out.

Rewards will come from past hard-working efforts but you won’t spend a lot of time thinking about this. It is the future that interests you most now. A fresh shot of hope and inspiration will help if you have links with the media or one of the caring professions. Make full use of new ideas as from little acorns, mighty oaks will grow. A joint effort will take a lot of the strain out of an arduous task. Many hands will make the work much lighter.

Until Venus changes signs mid-week, the accent is on values. Money talks. Negotiations should take place. Concern about a colleague and how their contribution to a project is acknowledged will likely lead to you requesting a meeting on Friday when you address your concerns but which, in turn, leads to questions as to how you would manage a team. This might also be seen as a rehearsal for developments after the solar eclipse at the end of the month. It might be wise – particularly after Venus changes signs, – to discuss options with someone familiar with HR procedures. Key as always is to be well informed.


Aquarius
Personal theme: I know!!
Air & fixed sign: January 20 — February 18

Your horoscope for this week:

You’ve long known that, eventually, certain seemingly unchanging elements of your life would have to be altered, if not rethought in depth. That time has come. It’s a relief. Yet you’re unsure whether to wait or plunge in, turning these and life itself into an adventure. The solution? Imagine it’s a year from now. Would you regret not having given it a try? That’s your answer.

A restless feeling makes you want something new and different to do. You need to find an outlet for your emotions. There’s a strong urge to splurge on luxury items, entertainment and romance. Have you considered the cost? You’re hoping someone close will agree to experiment with some fun ideas. You need their cooperation if you are to succeed with your plans. Time spent together will give you a chance to sow the seeds of your idea.

There are times when you could be accused of meddling. Excelling at debate, is perhaps the case that you don’t always tune in to the emotional needs of others until after there’s been a crisis. That’s a distinct possibility this week. Then of course, as per usual, you likely be filled with compassion and understanding. Even so, tasks do need to be handled and well. So, the challenge this week may be to listen to concerns raised on Monday, acknowledge the enthusiasm of others, but modify expectations mid-week when it becomes apparent that it’s all too much for certain individuals. It may be that the pace is just too quick at least for now. In particular, it would be wise to be aware that it can Syrian may be particularly prickly at least to your mind, and require careful handling.


Pisces
Personal theme: I believe!!
Water sign: February 19 — March 20

Your horoscope for this week:

Judging by the past weeks’ planetary setup, you’ve already faced tricky issues regarding who’s responsible for what. This involves matters from finances to timing. The individuals range from family and friends, to neighbours or colleagues. The point? Drawling a clear line, for yourself, of the extent of certain obligations. That, in turn, enables you to say a firm ‘no’, and without feeling guilty.

You and your partner and family are on the same wavelength. Important matters can be agreed on and this makes you feel more secure. You can look to the future and have a good idea on where you will be and what you will be doing a few months from now. Finances are all set to improve. Either you or someone close is in line for a small increase in income. You may not benefit immediately but you can look forward to some extra spending power in the months to come.

Following on from last Friday’s new Moon, you’re likely ready to tackle issues that have been left in abeyance now for several months. Its exasperation with the way things looks and the need to give them a makeover, will likely be a driving force particularly after Venus arrives in your sign on Wednesday. What you can and cannot afford will of course be an issue. Don’t underestimate though your ability to juggle funds and indeed to barter. You could strike excellent deals. Indeed, you could take the wind out of the sails of an Aries, Leo or Sagittarius who is hellbent and moving in one direction but who hasn’t satisfactorily dealt with practicalities. On this occasion, you may be the one who comes up with a workable master plan.

~CelestialPrognostication

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Every Day is Earth Day! Love Your Mother!

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Goddess Blessings!
Live Well – Laugh Often – Love Much
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High Priestess Certification and Ancient Mystery Teachings
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The Magic of Crystals
Introduction to Energy Healing
Introduction to Paganism
Introduction to Meditation
Introduction to The Goddess Tradition and The Feminine Divine
Kuan Yins Gentle Embrace Reiki Certification
A Year and a Day of Contemplation with Kuan Yin
Tarot, Numerology, Natal Charts and Dream Readings
Reiki Training and Certification

Herbs!!! Herbs!!! Herbs!!!
Interested in herbs and healing? Learn with GrannyMoon!
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Teach a witch a spell and she can do that spell. Teach a witch the craft and she can do magick!

GrannyMoon, Teaching the Craft for over 20 years!

“We all come from the Goddess
And to Her we shall return
Like a drop of rain, going to the ocean”
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“May the circle be open, but unbroken,
May the love of the Goddess be ever in your heart.

Merry Meet and Merry Part
And Merry Meet Again

Never forget…you are magick!

Goddess Bless!
GrannyMoon

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By GrannyMoon Posted in Pagan

GrannyMoons Weekly Feast: 27 March 2022

Affirmation: Change is the Great Adventure of Life. I welcome change. ~Jonathan Lockwood Huie

Blessed Be My Little Witch. To those who came before and those who will come after, know that the Goddess is with you always. Thank you all my dear readers…be blessed. ~GrannyMoon

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Dark Moon – Time to Rest
New Moon – Time to Begin New Projects; Birth; Attraction
Waxing Moon – Time to Grow; Increase
Full Moon – Time to be Fulfilled; Abundance
Waning Moon – Time to Banish; Decrease
Last Sliver of Moon – Time to Die; Letting Go
Dark Moon – Time to Rest Again
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Light A Candle Today!
In many different traditions lighting a candle is a sacred action. It expresses more than words can express. It has to do with gratefulness. From time immemorial, people have lit candles in sacred places. You may want to begin or end your day by the sacred ritual of lighting a candle on this gratefulness. Or you may want to light a birthday candle for a friend. One single guideline is all you need: Slow down and do it with full attention.

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Current Moon Phase: WANING MOON

Time: From Full Moon To Dark Moon (approx.14 days)

Goddess Aspect: Crone

Associated Goddesses: Callieach, Banshee, Hecate, Kali, Morrigan

Magickal Attributes: Banishing, Releasing the old, removing unwanted negative energies, wisdom, psychic ability, scrying, reversing circumstances. Workings on this day are for banishing magick, for ridding oneself of addictions, illness or negativity, physical and psychic cleansings.

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What’s Happening in March/April!?!

Herb of the Year for 2022: Blackberries, raspberries, and their cousins (Rubus ssp.) Named by the International Herb Association

Flower of the Month for March: Daffodil

March is National Women’s History Month

Celtic Tree Calendar ~ March 18th to April 14th – Alder

Goddess Month of Columbina ~ 3/20 – 4/17

April is Parkinson’s Disease Awareness Month

Moon Moon, Mother Moon

Mon Mar 28 Waning Crescent Aquarius – Calf, ankle, shin, Achilles
Tue Mar 29 Waning Crescent Pisces – Feet, toes, pineal gland
Wed Mar 30 Waning Crescent Pisces – Feet, toes, pineal gland
Thu Mar 31 Waning Crescent Aries – Head, teeth, tongue, arteries

April 1: NEW MOON in Aries

April 11: Parkinson’s Disease World Awareness Day.

May 1st ~ Virginia Psychic Fair, Falls Church, VA. For info go to https://va-psychic-fair-2022.eventbrite.com

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When is Easter in 2022?
Here’s the rule for Easter Sunday. It generally falls on the first Sunday after the first full moon on or after the vernal equinox. The equinox is Sunday. So tonight’s full moon doesn’t set the date of Easter. Instead, the first full moon after the equinox will be April 16. And that’s why Easter is so late this year.

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Sunday Classes with GrannyMoon at Sticks and Stones, Fairfax, VA
Face to Face Class: 1 PM – 3 PM ~ WitchCrafting – April 3
Face to Face Class: 1 PM – 3 PM ~ The Herbal Cauldron – April 10
Face to Face Class: Noon – 2:00 PM ~ The Magick of Crystals – April 24

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High Priestess Training with GrannyMoon
http://GoddessSchool.com

The entire course takes 15 months to complete (four levels). Tuition covers lessons, assignments and instructor feedback. In addition, students may download guided meditation exercises and be eligible for Sabbats, Esbats and retreats with the Sisterhood. The entire fee for each level is $120 (payment plan available), sixteen lessons in each level, except the last.

Ceremonial Cords and frame-able Completion Certificates are awarded as members complete each level.
Level I – Initiate of the Sisters of the Burning Branch – White cord
Level II – Adept of the Sisters of the Burning Branch- Red cord
Level III – Priestess of the Sisters of the Burning Branch- Black cord
Level IV – High Priestess of the Sisters of the Burning Branch – Green cord

You Might Also Be Interested In:
http://goddessschool.com/Paganstudies/index.html
http://www.goddessschool.com/courses/natural/naturalwitch.html
http://goddessschool.com/Paganstudies/healingarts.html

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Learn About Herbs with GrannyMoon!

There is so much to learn about herbs! In Herbalism 101, we cover 21 herbs, and you will start your own personal Materia Medica, that we will build throughout the next levels. We will cover the basic aspects of herbs. From culinary to magickal, medicinal to ornamental. As well as the many modalities of herbs!

During this course, in addition to the on-line lessons and hands-on projects that you do at home, I will be sending you articles, and information, as well as questions about your own personal use and research.

I look forward to walking this green journey with you! I love herbs and I hope that you do too or will learn to!

There are 10 lessons in each level and there is no time limit for completion. You may study at your own pace! There are no texts to purchase.

For more info or to join my class, click here!
http://goddessschool.com/Paganstudies/healingarts.html

The cost for Level 1 is $50.00 or $150.00 the entire Healing Arts Course (1-3) which includes a free Reiki certification course when all three are ordered at the same time!
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Earth Signs and Omens in Nature Course

Learn to read the mysteries of nature! The course covers signs and omens, communication, seasonal rites, trees and shrubs, flowers, plants and weeds, herbs, plant magick, the Guardians of Nature and much more.
http://goddessschool.com/courses/earthsigns/index.html

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The Goddess School Grimoire

http://www.lulu.com/shop/sotbb-Goddess-school/the-Goddess-school-grimoire/hardcover/product-762380.html
Hardcover: $39.45
Softback: $26.95
eBook (PDF): $6.25

The Goddess School Grimoire is a collection of recipes, artwork, poetry, prose, prayers, rituals, spells, and practical Goddess wisdom put together by the teachers, students, alumni, and friends of The Sisters of the Burning Branch Goddess School. The sisterhood is dedicated to restoring spiritual balance by returning the Divine Feminine to her rightful place and by assisting women in their personal and spiritual development. Since being founded by Head and High Mother Priestess Grandmother Moon in 2000, The Goddess School (GoddessSchool.com) has grown into a large and beautiful global community of women.

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Llewellyn’s Spell A Day

Doodle Meditation
MARCH 27, 2022 BY STEPHANIE ROSE BIRD

It’s a wonderful day to strengthen your divination abilities and meditate on abundance at the same time. Today is National Scribble Day!

First, utilize the fire element to aid your work in two ways:

  1. Light an orange candle for energy and a green candle for abundance.
  2. Light some rose incense to invoke creativity and the goddess Lakshmi.

Beautiful Lakshmi, of the Hindu pantheon, will shower your day with fruitful relationships, steadfast love, money, and abundance.

First, obtain a piece of plain brown paper (paper bag or kraft paper) of the desired size.

Tape the paper to a sturdy, smooth surface, like your desk or, if working smaller, a clipboard.

Set an intention having to do with abundance.

With any pen or pencil of your liking, begin scribbling. Take some cleansing breaths, relax your body, and scribble some more. Do this until you feel like you’ve expended your energy on your full intent.

Gaze deeply at your scribbling. What does it suggest you do to allow abundance to flow into your life? Extinguish the candles and incense when you’re done.
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A Ritual When Waking in the Night
MARCH 26, 2022 BY NATALIE ZAMAN

Anxiety enters the lives of even the happiest people; life is like that. There may be times when anxiety troubles your sleep—an essential element of self-care when dealing with troubling issues. If you find yourself awake in the wee hours, try this breathing meditation and spell to help you slip back into sleep. The number four represents stability, and a firm foundation is the basis of this work.

  1. Breathe in for four counts.
  2. Hold for four counts.
  3. Breathe out for four counts.
  4. Hum (or chant a single sound)
    for four counts.
    4 x 4 x 4 x 4

Repeat as many times as needed.
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Balancing Spring
MARCH 25, 2022 BY ELIZABETH BARRETTE

Spring is a season of balance, poised between winter and summer. It’s also a time of opposites and extremes, like a tug-of-war between the two seasons to see who rules for the day. This makes it a good time to work on balance in your life.

Think about the different aspects of balance. There is static balance when things are level and calm. Then there is dynamic balance when things are equally matched but rocking back and forth.

Consider how balance moves through your life. Sometimes it helps you stay calm. Other times it pushes you this way and that.

Make a list of things in your life. Try to match pairs of good and bad influences that counterbalance each other. Where the good things seem weak, think about how to strengthen them. Where there is a gap, imagine how you could fill it. If it’s actually going well, consider positive challenges you could add. Balancing exercises can also help. You might explore something like yoga or tai chi.
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Thawing Incantation
MARCH 24, 2022 BY DALLAS JENNIFER COBB

When the winter winds arrived, we drew our necks down, bundled up, and became guarded against the cold. As the winter weather begins to show signs of easing up, let’s do a thawing spell to release and awaken the frozen parts of ourselves. This spell is best done indoors.

Standing in a safe and private space, gaze down at your feet. Say:

I thaw what holds me stuck in place.
Place your hands on your belly. Say:
I thaw the anger I have held so tight.
Place your hands over your heart. Say:
I thaw my passionate, tender feelings.
Press your hands together in front of
you, perhaps rubbing them lightly. Say:
I thaw my creativity and skill.

Holding one hand to your throat and one to your heart, say:

It is safe to thaw out, to speak out,
to feel fully and be real. I thaw myself
and stand here, fully present.
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A Grass Spell for the Garden
MARCH 23, 2022 BY JAMES KAMBOS

Ordinary grasses are known for their protective qualities. When charged with magical intent, they’re excellent for protecting the garden. Early in the spring, cut some tall grasses. Just a handful will do. Tie the bunch of grass in the middle with some jute twine or a few more stems of grass. As you stand in your garden, hold the bundle of grass. Charge it with these words:

Green and noble grasses,
Guard this garden as
each season passes.
Guard the seeds I plant
with my own hand.
Protect the vegetables and
the flowers so grand.

Lay the bundle of grass in a corner of your garden. Leave it undisturbed. Let it return to the earth from where it came. Repeat this spell next spring if you wish.
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Cleaning Bath Magic
MARCH 22, 2022 BY ASTREA TAYLOR

As the day begins, the moon is waning in the deep water sign of Scorpio. It’s the perfect time to use water magic to cleanse yourself of any negative energy you may have.

This spell uses three handfuls of bath salts, a teaspoon of lavender flowers (or three drops of lavender oil), and a hot bath.

Soak in the bathtub with the salt and the lavender. Imagine that the hot water is drawing out any negative energy from you, like a tea bag releasing tea.

When you’re ready to leave, pull the plug and envision the bad energy staying in the water. As the water drains, say:

Negativity, I leave you behind me.
The cleansing waters have set me free.
As the water swirls down the drain,
May we never meet again.

Towel off, knowing you’ve left it behind you for good. Walk away without looking back.
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Showering Off the Day
MARCH 21, 2022 BY RAVEN DIGITALIS

This evening, after the day has come to a close, light a single candle and hop in the shower while holding a hand of sea salt. Before stepping fully into the water, place the salt on your head and imagine it absorbing energies that have accumulated around your mind and aura.

Step slowly into the running water until you’re fully submerged. Speak to the water, thanking it for cleansing your mind, body, and spirit, as well as for nourishing your life and the life of the world.

Dim your vision as the salt washes down, noticing if insights come to your psychic mind. Humbly communicate with the water, asking for its assistance with any particular “releasings” you desire.

Conclude by rinsing off your whole body and meditating somewhere while you dry. Take it easy tonight, knowing you’ll wake up refreshed and ready to go when the morning comes! Be sure to extinguish the candle.
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Heartwings Love Notes 1027 Pride and the Downfall

Big for my age when I was growing up, I was clumsy, often tripping over my own feet and dropping things. I attended a school where sports were important. Students good at athletic activities were the popular ones. Field hockey was daunting, although I could and did play goalie. Sadly though, I didn’t enjoy it because I always felt it was my fault if the team lost. I was terrible at running, and hitting balls was equally impossible. I was always the very last person chosen for any team in any sport.

Fast forward to adulthood. I was a busy mother with very full days. I wasn’t sleeping well and had resorted to memorizing long poems to recite mentally in hopes of falling asleep. A friend to whom mentioned this suggested I try yoga and gave me a book with instructions. Though I didn’t have a teacher, I followed the directions and studied the pictures carefully. It was very helpful. Then I found a yoga class. To my delight, I could do the postures easily. I felt enormously proud. At last, I had found something physical I could do.

Over time I grew more proficient and when someone asked me to teach a class, I did. I continued to study and learn, growing in my knowledge and skill. I attended lectures by teachers and was asked to teach for my yoga studio. Altogether my yoga career lasted approximately seven years. Then I injured my neck in a freak accident. This put a halt to my teaching as well as my practice. Still, I felt proud I had been able to be good at something requiring physical expertise.

The point of this story is background to explain that now again I have to deal with physical disability. This time it’s not clumsiness or lack of coordination, but a condition called Parkinson’s Disease. To put it simply, the nerves become less and less able to transmit the messages the brain sends out. With some people this even results in uncontrollable, undirected movement. While there are many different symptoms that result from this lack of communication, at this time, I have mainly to deal with being greatly slowed down and my balance is often precarious. While there are many inconvenient symptoms to deal, with, they are not relevant here.

Now again I must deal with the return of my childhood difficulties. The coordination of which I was so proud has vanished. I may need a wheelchair for walks of any great length. Strength is required and often assistance to get up from furniture and in and out of a car. Now I have a choice. I can curse my fate and bemoan my condition, or I can look upon this new challenge as an adventure in learning and growing. The latter is preferable. I also find that the skills in mindfulness and meditation I learned from my yoga practice can serve me still. Furthermore, as in most cases, the more positive I can be, the better I can function with Parkinson’s Disease.

May you enjoy your challenges and do well with them.

Blessings and best regards, Tasha Halpert

April is Parkinson’s Disease Awareness month, and April 11 is the Parkinson’s Disease World Awareness Day.

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Gifts from the Universe

If we trust in a universe that has a higher purpose, then family members are in our lives for a good reason.

Families can contain a fascinating grouping of personalities. Despite the potential for so many to have similar traits, there are many different ways to express them. As people marry into families and have children, even more personalities enter the picture. There may be some people that we would not choose to be related to, but that’s what friends are for.

If we trust in a universe that has a higher purpose for everything, then we must believe that family members are in our lives for a good reason. These reasons may be easy to see and appreciate with some, but others may offer us a challenge. With those, we can look for something we can learn or perhaps teach. In the modern world where everyone seeks to be individuals, many move far away from their families in an attempt to escape them. But when we’ve successfully built a world around us that requires no one’s help, our families are the people who are still attached to us. We can still choose whether or not to honor the family ties, and how to treat each other, but the fact remains that we are energetically tied to our families.

Our families help us see where we have come from so that we may more clearly decide where we’d like to go. If we can learn to accept our families for who they are, then we go out into the world armed with the ability to deal with anyone. Some families are better than others at preparing us for the world. What we learn from our families, even if they are simply blank spots on our family trees, becomes the basis of our identities as individuals. Rather than denying our connections, we can choose to accept their presence in our lives. Acceptance does not mean we have to like them; we simply acknowledge that we are connected to them and honor that connection for like it or not, there is a reason. When we can embrace all that they bring into our experience, we may be grateful for all we have learned from them and have to learn, while we experience everything that comes with family fully and completely.

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The Druid’s Garden

Druidry for the 21st Century: Setting and Co-Creating Intentions with Nature
by Dana

Intentions are powerful things. They allow us to shape our force of will and set a path forward. They help us figure out what our own goals are. And I think because of that, we often see them as very personal. This is something that we do for our own purposes. In many western occult traditions, and even in druidry, intentions are often framed as highly internal things: things we set, things we want to manifest, things that help us shape our vision. You’ll see this very frequently in any ritual work–set your intentions for a ritual, a creation, a space, a new piece of land, and so forth. I think a lot of this is influenced by western occultism, which unfortunately puts the practitioner in a place of power and at the center of a working. I also think a lot of this is culturally influenced–westerners are inherently individualistic and self-focused, and this individual focus is both subconscious and conscious. This self-focus is an enormous problem when it comes to building reciprocal relationships with nature. Westerners also have a view of the land that implies ownership–ownership of lands gives full rights to do anything you want with it. Thus, it’s hard to say you are respecting the agency of the land and her spirits when you pretty much go in and do whatever you want to the land at any time.

I wanted to share an alternative approach that I’ve done with our land here, a way of moving me out of the center of my own intentions and instead considering intentions as a mutual and shared thing that I create in relationship with the living earth (for more on reciprocity and nature, see this post). If we open up our intentions and let the spirits of nature be co-creators in shaping intention, it can lead to some amazing results and allow us to cultivate reciprocal relationships with nature.

Reciprocation and Intention
I’ve been arguing that reciprocation should be a core value that we build into nature-based spiritual traditions. It is through reciprocation that we can build a stronger nature-based spiritual tradition, that we can work to repair the wrongs of previous generations (particularly those in relation to lands and indigenous peoples), that we can work to reverse colonialization, and that we can build a better future for all life on earth. It is through reciprocation that we can begin to understand that humans are not above nature but are part of nature. Reciprocation is also built into the Ancient Order of Druids in America (see our vision statement, here), the order where I am currently serving as Grand Archdruid.

I think that reframing intentions as something that can be reciprocal can move us a few steps in the right direction, both through our magical practices and our intentions for the living earth.

Intentions are the spark of an idea; they are an early commitment to moving in a particular direction, and they are often the beginning of a magical, spiritual, and/or physical practice (or something of all three). So now let’s look at two ways we might shift intentions to a more reciprocal relationship.

Preliminaries: Nature Communication
In order to do any of the work I’m suggesting below, you will need ways of communicating with the spirits of nature and the land around you. If you’ve been on a nature-based spiritual path or practice any kind of deep nature awareness, you probably don’t need anything I’m going to say and can skip this. But if you are newer to this or unsure, I wanted to give you some options and resources.

Gut feelings and intuition. A lot of nature communication is based in feeling and understanding the signals that our body tells us. In other words, when you walk into a forest, how do you feel? Do you feel welcome? Do you feel unwelcome and like the forest doesn’t want you there? Those initial gut feelings are a critical part of communicating with nature–particularly in listening.
Divination. Divination tools such as ogham, tarot, pendulum, geomancy, etc. are great ways of communicating with the spirits of nature and are particularly useful for those who are still developing other methods of spirit communication. For setting intentions, I recommend that you use something very simple that has a yes/no function, thus, a pendulum is most appropriate (things like tarot or ogham get more complicated in their interpretation, where a pendulum will be very direct). To use a pendulum in this way, I would suggest creating one with something from nature (a stone from the land around you and a string). Then simply ask it to “show me yes” and “show me no” and now you know how to interpret it.
Spirit communication. More advanced practitioners can develop more direct ways of communicating with spirit through their inner vision: visuals, conversation, sensing energy, etc. This method is what you will want to work up to–being able to converse with a tree, for example, allows things to be quite clear. I have a series on how to cultivate plant spirit communication, so please check out these posts for more information: part I, part II, part III, and part IV.
The only other preliminary thing I suggest you do is to prepare some kind of offering for your work with the spirits of the land. I’ve written more on offerings here, here, and here.

Setting Intentions for a Space or Project
The earth oven project The earth oven project

Let’s say you have land and you want to create a new project on that land. It might be a sacred grove, a druid’s anchor spot, or a sacred garden. Here’s another great opportunity to set intentions collaboratively. As one of the first things you do, reach out to the land

I would suggest that this should not be a one-time practice but rather a practice that is done on a regular basis. The practice is simple: go to the spot and simply say, “I’d like to set shared intentions for [this space, the project, etc].” Then have a conversation, use divination, or any other means to set those intentions. It may take some time as nature often works on a different timeline than we do. But this work will unfold and you’ll see how rich the collaborative intention setting can be.

Intentions in my druid’s anchor spot. In one example, I’ve found that my druid’s anchor spot likes to set new intentions with each season, so I make it a point to do that work at the solstices and equinoxes. Usually, at the Winter Solstice, the intention is simply “rest” but in the other seasons, we set intentions together for the work to come. These intentions can vary pretty widely: last year in the fall, the shared intention was to share a story of the day, and as it grew dark, each of us would tell a story and listen to each other’s story. The year before, the land was very intent on having some of the biodiversity returned, so we worked together on various approaches to bringing in biodiversity (specifically through cleaning up certain areas that had garbage, bringing in new soil, and planting new trees, understory, and woodland medicinal species). I am excited to see what this season’s intentions will be!

Intentions for the earth oven project. In a second example, I’ll share how to set intentions for a project. The Druids Garden homestead is a 5-acre homestead in Western Pennsylvania, run by two druids. We spend a lot of time prior to engaging in any project setting intentions with the land in collaborative ways. On a larger scale, this includes figuring out what parts of the land want to be wild, which want cultivation, and where we can create gardens and more human-tended spaces (in permauclture terms, this is about setting up our zones of use, among other things).

Thus, when I decided to build the earth oven, I sat with the land over a period of months and asked, where can I build this oven? Once both my partner and I had a clear sense of where to build, I began to narrow down the spot to the specific work at hand. I was given permission to create a small path about 15′ into the brush and to create my oven there. I was also shown a clear space for a shrine that would sit on the path to the oven. I explained to the land that this would require me to move/cut some plants and remove the topsoil, and the land told me that I could ask each individual plant what to do (compost, replant, pot up and give away) as well as any stones in the area. So I began that work–it took me a few sessions, but it was very rewarding. Some of the plants wanted to be harvested and made into medicine (blackberry roots). Others were rhizomatic (like mayapple), and wanted to simply be composted. The small cherry tree (also abundant) wanted to be made into pendants and gifts. The wild yams wanted to be replanted and showed me where. Spicebush wanted to be potted up and given to a specific person. The fledgling sassafras made it clear that she was the boundary and that I needed to situate the oven in a way that did not disturb her growth. By the time I had “cleared” the land, every specific plant and tree that was there had the opportunity to state their intentions, and those intentions were honored. After that, I could begin building the earth oven knowing that the land was fully honored and included in the intention of that space, and because of it, we would be able to work deep magic with the oven in the years to come.

Now imagine the difference in this experience if I had just come into the land, started pulling up plants, piling them up, and then clearing the land. The end result–a physical space for an earth oven would have been the same. But my own relationship with the land would have suffered; the land being a victim at my hands. Thus, when I talk about reciprocation, this is exactly what I mean. We include the land, we not only as permission but we ask what we should do, how we should do it. I think that its important to recognize that the land loves us, and wants to help us meet our goals. This reciprocation puts nature in equal partnership with us, and the blessings flow from that relationship.

Setting Intentions for a Magical Working, Ceremony or Ritual
Water element from the Plant Spirit Oracle

Perhaps the most common means through which people set intentions are at the start of magical working, ceremony, or ritual. I would say that co-setting intentions for rituals really depends on what the ritual is for–for yourself, for the living earth, for something else? Whoever is involved should be involved in setting the intentions for the ceremony.

If it is a ritual that is primarily focused on you and on something tied to yourself, I would still suggest connecting with the spirits of nature for their guidance and wisdom. Here’s a simple approach: anytime before you begin the ritual, take a short walk in nature. Find a place to sit (such as your druid’s anchor spot), and describe to the spirits of nature what you are planning on doing. After you share, make an offering and see if they have any guidance.

If the ritual is on behalf of the living earth or tied to the land in any way, you need to take whatever time you need to set intentions in a collaborative way with the living earth. This is not always a simple process and may take quite a bit of time. Begin this with a conversation that is open to the spirits of nature. Rather than saying, “I want to do this ritual,” instead, go to nature and simply say, “What do you need?” “How can I support you?” and see what comes from that conversation. Don’t assume you know what the spirits of the land want and need, but rather, allow the spirits of nature to collaborate with you to co-create the ritual. You can also reach out and say, “I’d like to offer a healing ritual for the land. Do you think that would be a good idea?” The point here is that if you go in telling the land what you are already planning on doing, that’s not very reciprocal. Rather, create space for a conversation and a shared vision to come forth.

You can do this essentially on any level–individual, group, or even with a larger group. Here’s a recent example of a larger group practice that we recently completed. A few years ago, AODA had released our Vision Statement, and it became clear to some of us n leadership that we wanted to do something order-wide that was reciprocal with the land. Individual members already do a lot in our curriculum in terms of tree planting, earth path lifestyle changes, and so forth. But we wanted something that was community-based. And so, a few of us began speaking with the lands around us. What could AODA do, on an order-wide level, that would support the living earth where we lived? What would the land need? Through our own work over the next six months, a very clear picture emerged of what we, as an order could do–a summer solstice land blessing and a winter solstice waterway blessing using AODA’s frameworks (here they are if you are interested!) These rituals were not just created by humans in AODA, but rather, in conjunction with meditations and collaboration with the lands around us. I’m really excited that these rituals will be starting this year in 2022, and you are most welcome to join us in this endeavor!

In these examples, we can again see how setting intentions–magical and mundane–in conjunction with the living earth allows us to reciprocate and collaborate in ways that we cannot do if we only set intentions within ourselves. I hope you found this post useful and inspiring. I would also love to hear from readers about how you may already set intentions in co-created ways with the living earth!

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The Psychology of Ghost Hunting
JANUARY 06, 2022 BY BRANDON ALVIS

Spooky Graveyard
Death is an inevitable part of life. Reminders of our own mortality surround us everyday. Any time we read a newspaper, turn on the news, or consume media, we are shown heartbreaking stories of a tragic loss of life. As the old saying goes, “If it bleeds, it leads.” At some point throughout our lifetime, we will experience the loss of a loved one, a friend, an acquaintance. With each passing, we are faced with a question: What happens when we die? I was first faced with that question on September 8th, 1995, when my oldest brother Eric passed away from cancer at the age of 24.

Learning About Death
I was only eight years old at the time of my brother’s passing. The concept of death was a lot for a third grader to take in, let alone understand.

It confused me.

Much of my childhood was spent at the cemetery where my brother was laid to rest. The more time I spent surrounded by tombstones, the more I started to comprehend what death was and how we would all meet the same end. As my mother would visit my brother and grieve, I did what any eight-year-old kid would do: explore. I’d walk around the cemetery. I’d read the grave markers, the names, the dates of birth and death. I’d speak with the groundskeepers and ask them questions about their job. What was it like working in the death industry? I watched as they would prepare the ground for upcoming burials, the funerals taking place close to my brother’s gravesite. I would listen to the eulogies and observe how others handled grief. This is macabre, but it helped me begin my own grieving process. As the years passed and I grew older, thinking of our ultimate end became easier for me. In 2002 my grandmother passed away, peacefully in her home at the age of 73. She was ill in the later years of her life. During our final conversation before her passing, I knew her time on earth was coming to an end; and while I fought to cherish the little time she had left, I was prepared to grieve for her once she took her last breath. However tragic death was, I readied myself for this anguish.

I was confident I could properly grieve for my grandmother. Death wouldn’t catch me off guard.

But in 2004, my brother Gary took his life. I couldn’t see it through the rage I felt at that time, but my way of thinking about our final end would change forever.

“That is not dead which can eternal lie, And with strange aeons even death may die.”
Howard Phillips Lovecraft, The Nameless City

Paranormal Investigation as Grief Therapy
There are many reasons why people get involved in the search for ghosts and hauntings. Some are looking for an adrenaline rush, some for notoriety. One common reason is the passing of a loved one. In my 17 years of research, I have met hundreds of individuals who are willing to journey into the dark for answers about the afterlife, just as I was after the death of my two brothers. Many paranormal investigators have found a sense of peace in trying to communicate with those that have come before us. After hearing countless stories from those in the field, I realized that the act of paranormal investigation was a form of grief therapy. I only ever made that connection when I read a book titled Corpses, Coffins and Crypts: A History of Burial by Penny Colman, which showed up on my radar for a research project I conducted many years ago. In chapter two of Colman’s book, she cites a study performed by psychologist Maria Nagy in 1948:

“The children, who nicknamed Nagy ‘Auntie Death,’ had discussions with Nagy and drew pictures. In addition the older children followed Nagy’s request to ‘write down everything that comes to your mind about death.’ Nagy studied their responses and concluded that some children go through three stages in understanding death. The youngest children aged three to about five tend to be curious about death and ask matter-of-fact questions about funerals, coffins, and cemeteries. To them, death is a continuation of life but at a lower level: dead people can’t see and hear as well as living people, they aren’t quite as hungry, and they don’t do very much. And they might return.

Younger children appear to think that death is at best not much fun and boring and at the worst lonely and scary. Beginning at about the age of five or six, children tend to realize that death is final and move into what Nagy named Stage 2. Although at this stage, many children realized that death was final, some of them thought that they could escape death if they were clever, careful, or lucky. Christy Ottaviano remembers thinking like that when she was in elementary school. ‘I had to walk past a cemetery to get to school,’ she recalls. ‘I thought that I wouldn’t die if I held my breath the whole way. So I did until I was about nine or ten years old.’ Christy may have stopped because she moved into what Nagy identified as Stage 3 in understanding death. This is when children tend to realize that in addition to being final, death is also inevitable. Everyone dies, even clever, careful, and lucky people. Or people who hold their breath when they walk past a cemetery. ‘Death is destiny,’ wrote one ten-year-old child. Another ten-year-old wrote, ‘Everyone has to die.’ According to Nagy, Stage 3, which starts at about age nine or ten, continues throughout life.” (Colman 29, 30, 31)

Death and the Final Frontier
Reading Maria Nagy’s The Child’s Theories Concerning Death completely transformed my thought process. Having basically grown up in a cemetery and losing someone so close to me at such a young age, I made the jump from Nagy’s proclaimed stage 2 to stage 3 in a more advanced timeframe. Other studies have shown that, “children who experienced a parent’s death, who are dying themselves, or who have witnessed violent, traumatic death will perceive death in an adultlike manner at much earlier ages than children who have not had such experiences.” (“Death—The Development Of A Concept Of Death—Children, Dead, Nagy, and Age – JRank Articles”) These experiences of the human condition led me early on in a lifelong pursuit of finding answers about the possibility of retaining consciousness after the brain dies. Like many others in the study of ghosts and hauntings, I have found comfort in journeying into the dark, and I carry this into every investigation I conduct, into every bit of research I perform, and the hours upon hours of footage I review. And I will continue to do so, until I meet my own ultimate end.

References
Colman, Penny. 1997. Corpses, Coffins, and Crypts: A History of Burial. N.p.: Henry Holt and Company.
“Death—The Development Of A Concept Of Death—Children, Dead, Nagy, and Age—JRank Articles.” n.d. Social Issues Reference. Accessed December 4, 2021. https://social.jrank.org/pages/186/Death-Development-Concept-Death.html#ixzz7E9jWV4N5.

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Making Choices from a Place of Balance

It is important to make decisions from a place of balance, by taking a breath and checking in with heart and mind.

Each of the myriad decisions we make every day has the potential to have a deep impact on our lives. Some choices touch us to our very cores, awakening poignant feelings within us. Others seem at first to be simple but prove to be confusingly complex. We make the best decisions when we approach the decision-making process from a balanced emotional and intellectual foundation. When we have achieved equilibrium in our hearts and in our minds, we can clearly see both sides of an issue or alternative. Likewise, we can accept compromise as a natural fact of life. Instead of relying solely on our feelings or our rationality, we utilize both in equal measure, empowering ourselves to come to a life-affirming and balanced conclusion.

Balance within and balance without go hand in hand. When you are called upon to choose between two or more options, whether they are attractive or distasteful, you should understand all you can about the choice ahead of you before moving forward. If you do not come to the decision from a place of balance, you risk making choices that are irrational and overly emotional or are wholly logical and don’t take your feelings into account. In bringing your thoughts and emotions together during the decision-making process, you ensure that you are taking everything possible into account before moving forward. Nothing is left up to chance, and you have ample opportunity to determine which options are in accordance with your values.

Though some major decisions may oblige you to act and react quickly, most will allow you an abundance of time in which to mull over your choices. If you doubt your ability to approach your options in a balanced fashion, take an extended time-out before responding to the decision. This will give you the interlude you need to make certain that your thoughts and feelings are in equilibrium. As you practice achieving balance, you will ultimately reach a state of mind in which you can easily make decisions that honor every aspect of the self.

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4 Tonics To Help Boost Your Energy When Feeling Sluggish
Healthy Living | Andrew Weil, M.D.

Feeling run-down and stressed-out? Does it seem you always catch whatever is going around? You may want to consider taking a daily tonic. Also known as adaptogens, these nontoxic, plant-based substances help to bolster your body’s natural defenses and increase its ability to cope with normal daily stress. When taken long term, tonics may help support energy and maintain immunity. Popular tonics include:

Ashwagandha. This traditional herb (Withaniasomnifera) from India is regularly used in ayurvedic medicine, where it is valued as a general tonic and adaptogen. There is evidence to support its use in brain health as well.

Eleuthero. Formerly called Siberian ginseng, eleuthero (Eleutherococcussenticosus) is a distant relative of true ginseng. It can be useful for alleviating exhaustion, fatigue from heavy workloads and overall lack of energy. Look for products that are standardized for their eleutheroside content.

Reishi. This distinctive, woody mushroom (Ganoderma lucidum) is too bitter to be eaten but can be taken in supplement form. Reishi is recommended in traditional Chinese medicine for increasing resistance and extending life and has been studied for its ability to support normal immune health.

Rhodiola. Also known as arctic root, rhodiola (Rhodiola rosea) contains a group of distinctive compounds that are at least partially responsible for the plant’s remarkable properties – including anti-fatigue, anti-stress, antioxidant and immune-supporting effects. It is useful for acute stress, to support optimal mood and for memory health.

You should be able to find all of these herbal products in health food stores, often in combination products for stress or adrenal support. Choose the one that best meets your needs, follow package directions, and give it about six to eight weeks to see how it helps. You can take tonics indefinitely, but some herbalists suggest taking a two-week-long break every three months to help maintain the tonic’s effectiveness. If you have hypertension or diabetes, talk with your physician before adding these herbs to your routine. If they approve, be certain to monitor your blood pressure and sugar levels while taking.

Also know that these preparations work best when combined with the regular engagement with mindfulness practices like breathing exercises, guided meditation and taking news and social media detox breaks. Begin by implementing one or twopractices daily and growing your efforts from there.

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Osha: A Supportive, but At-Risk Plant Ally

Osha root (Ligusticum porteri) has been in use as an herbal medicine, incense, food, and for ceremonial purposes for thousands of years. When European colonists arrived in North America, osha was already being widely used by First Nations People in the American Southwest and Mexico to treat a variety of conditions, particularly those involving the upper respiratory and gastrointestinal tracts. The Zuni people chewed the root in healing rituals and the Tarahumara people used it ritualistically in protection ceremonies. This herbal ally has been generously gifting itself to humans on our continent for millennia, and its renown has spread to other parts of the world. Unfortunately, this increasing popularity has shined a light on osha’s one significant problem—virtually all commercial osha is wildharvested because this independent herb doesn’t do well as a cultivated crop. This limitation combined with the ever-increasing demand for osha has many herbalists concerned about the viability and long-term sustainability of this precious botanical. Let’s take a deeper dive into osha.

Botany: What is Osha?
There are twelve ligusticum species, but only Ligusticum porteri is true osha. In the American West, it is considered a keystone plant species because it is a vital source of food and shelter for other species. Osha root—also called Bear Medicine or Bear Root—is a member of the Apiaceae (Umbelliferae) family, which also includes carrots, dill, anise, fennel, angelica, hemlock, cow parsley, etc. Osha grows up to three feet tall and has bright green parsley- or carrot-like leaves.

Osha is a perennial native in the high elevations (9,000 feet and above) of the Rocky Mountains and northwestern Mexico, where it is a favorite of both humans and bears. People have long noted that bears in the region seek out osha when they first emerge from hibernation, both eating the plant and chewing it into a mash which they rub into their fur, hence “bear medicine.” In turn, osha depends on the bears and other local wildlife to spread its seeds. Each of the little flowers that make up osha’s umbels becomes a seed that can catch in the fur of a passing animal to be dropped to the soil further along the animal’s journey.

Wildharvesters dig up osha to get the dark, wrinkled roots. However, it is easy to confuse osha with poisonous hemlock, which has similar flat umbels of white flowers, so it is imperative to know the difference. Osha root is generally ingested as a tea, capsule, or extract for immune system support or to offer relief from cold and flu symptoms, digestive issues, and more.

Please consult a certified herbalist and/or your doctor before adding osha to your wellness regimen, and note that pregnant and breastfeeding women should avoid osha in all forms.

Is Osha Endangered?
Although osha is not yet classified as endangered, United Plant Savers (Ups) has placed it on the “At-Risk” list. It is doing well in some areas of its range and is alarmingly over-harvested in others. In response to this troubling reality, Mountain Rose Herbs supports an important osha research project that is being overseen by UpS in collaboration with botanists at several state universities, state forestry services, and the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA). Over twenty-plus years, the project has funded a number of studies that look at the impact of commercial osha harvesting on the long-term sustainability of this herb. Although it is too early to draw final conclusions, initial results from these studies are heartening and seem to indicate that when harvested responsibly, with sustainability in mind, osha will regenerate and replenish itself.

The studies also revealed important information that may help us support osha better. For instance, recent studies in the high elevations of southern Colorado, where conifers have been devastated by a bark beetle infestation, revealed that this tragic die-off of trees has in turn created a new opportunity for osha in that area and the plant has taken full advantage.

To put this more succinctly, we know osha is a resilient botanical with a knack for surviving. It is the sheer volume of irresponsible harvesting that is at the core of this plant’s current troubles. If we refuse to support harvesting practices that are geared toward profit instead of sustainability, we may be able to take enough pressure off this remarkable plant to allow it to regenerate across its native range.

Take Action to Help Osha

If you are purchasing osha, ask questions. Make sure you know where and how your osha was harvested, and purchase only sustainably harvested roots.

The osha root extract and Osha Ultra Syrup that Mountain Rose Herbs sells use osha that has been sustainably collected in collaboration with the ongoing UpS osha research project mentioned above. Collected in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, the seasonal harvests are closely overseen by UpS using the findings from more than two decades of research.

There are a number of cultivated and sustainably harvested herbs that make good substitutes for osha in many formulations. Unless you are able to acquire sustainably harvested osha, consider using one or more of the following:

For respiratory support, substitute elecampane root, lovage root, or angelica root. (Do not use angelica root if you are pregnant or nursing.)*
For immune support, substitute acerola berry powder, elderberry, echinacea root, or ashwagandha root.*

For demulcent support, substitute marshmallow root (slippery elm is a good substitute too, but is also struggling.)*
For throat-soothing support, substitute wild cherry bark.*

STEVEN’S THROAT-SOOTHING PASTILLE RECIPE
This recipe for throat-soothing, lung-supporting pastilles (or lozenges) is the herbal genius of our Director of Quality and Regulatory Affairs, Steven Yeager, who is also a long-time teacher at the Columbine School of Botanical Studies and an AHPA board member. These little pastilles are a godsend when the winter crud catches up to you.

Ingredients
1 gram organic acacia (gum arabic) powder
4 grams organic sugar (Steven uses maple sugar)
3 grams organic elecampane root powder, organic lovage root powder, or organic angelica root powder (as a substitute for osha root powder)
1 gram organic licorice root powder, plus more for coating if desired
Water, or herbal extract (tincture) of your choice (Steven likes to use organic elecampane extract instead of water)

Directions
Combine and mix dry powders in a bowl.
Starting with one ounce of water or herbal extract, add one dropperful of liquid at a time to the bowl, and mix into the powders.

Keep adding liquid by dropperfuls until the mixture holds together in a clump, similar to the consistency of cookie dough. Be careful not to add too much liquid.
Form the dough into small (approximately 1/4-inch) pastilles/lozenges/stars/hearts etc. Keep the shapes small as the pastilles will be strong! Remember, these should not be seen as candy or a snack.

Dust with additional licorice root powder if desired.
Allow to dry on a screen or plate for a few days until totally dry.
Store in a glass jar with an air-tight lid in a cool, dark place for longest shelf life.

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Hanging Fresh Eucalyptus In Your Shower
by ELLA CERÓN

When it comes to bathroom upgrades, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to make an impact. There are plenty of ways to refresh the space for less than $100, but by far my favorite upgrade is a $4 investment I make every week at Trader Joe’s. In addition to the snacks and frozen goods I stock up on, I make sure to pick up a new bouquet of fresh eucalyptus to hang in my shower. (If my local TJ’s is out, the corner bodega sells the same sprigs for the slightly-more-expensive $7.)

It’s a popular detail and one you’ve likely seen on social media time and time again for good reason. It’s soothing! It’s pretty! It adds a splash of green to your shower. But what many Instagram snapshots forget to tell you is that there is some upkeep involved with swapping your eucalyptus out for a new bunch… and if you’re simply hanging the fresh branches up in your shower, you’re missing one crucial detail.

Simply put, you need to crush the eucalyptus a bit to help the plant release its fragrant, spa-like oils.

As detailed by The Cut’s Beauty Director Kathleen Hou, the method is simple, and adds less than a minute to your prep time. She recommends using a rolling pin or a wine bottle to damage the leaves a bit — “Do this over a newspaper or cutting board, or else it will get sticky,” she advises — and then hang them as you normally would. Hou uses a rubber band to affix her eucalyptus to her showerhead, while I’ve repurposed a thick grosgrain ribbon that matches my fixtures.

Here’s how to do it:

Step 1: Source some eucalyptus.
You don’t need a lot of it (though I simply hang the entire bunch because I have nowhere else in my apartment to put it). Trader Joe’s typically sells baby blue eucalyptus — I’ve found that branches with larger leaves tend to be more fragrant than smaller branches, but both work.

Step 2: Prep your workspace.
As Hou mentioned, it’s important to work in a way that contains the eucalyptus oil as you crush the leaves. I’ve found that leaving the eucalyptus in its cellophane packaging helps mitigate the mess, as does laying a garbage bag on top of your counter or work space. As for your tool of choice, you can use a rolling pin, a wine bottle, or anything else that might crush your eucalyptus without damaging the surface under it.

Step 3: Crush your eucalyptus.
A few rolls back and forth will do — it doesn’t need to be comprehensive.

Step 4: Hang your eucalpytus.
The trick is to hang it just behind the shower head — the plant will release its oils when it comes into contact with your shower’s hot steam, rather than the water. You can use a piece of string, a rubber band, or a ribbon to affix the bunch to its new post. The bunch should last about a week, depending on the frequency of your household’s shower schedules.

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Fungi: A Dr. Weil Favorite | Healthy Living | Andrew Weil, M.D.

Dr. Weil has a well-known passion for mushrooms. He began to hunt them in the wild years ago and still does. Mushrooms’ rich, complex flavors aren’t all they have to offer. Many varieties that used to be considered exotic and hard to find have become increasingly available in the United States. Some are delicious as additions to your diet, but some are strictly medicinal mushrooms available in dried, liquid extract or in capsule form. Many have potent medicinal activities. Learn more!

Here’s a sampling of what some of them can do for you.

Shiitake Mushrooms
Staples of Asian cuisines, shiitakes have a rich, savory taste. Dr. Weil likes them so much he’s trying to grow them near his summer home in British Columbia. Shiitakes contain substances that may help lower cholesterol, boost immune function, combat viruses and reduce the risk of several kinds of cancer.

Mushrooms Of Immortality: Reishi
Woody reishi mushrooms have impressive health benefits but aren’t for eating. You can buy reishi in tea bags, as capsules and as liquid extracts. These medicinal mushrooms can help:

Lower blood pressure
Improve immune function
Protect the liver
Counteract allergy symptoms.
They may even help prevent the spread of cancer cells.

Energy Boosting Mushroom: Cordyceps
Cordyceps are parasitic medicinal mushrooms and grow mainly on insects and even other fungi. Cordyceps can:

Enhance energy
Help increase aerobic capacity
May help athletic performance
Banish fatigue.
They also can help overcome muscle weakness and heighten sexual vigor. You can buy cordyceps in tinctures, liquid extracts, capsules, and powders.

Hen of the Woods: Maitake
These mushrooms resemble the tail feathers of a nesting hen. Maitakes taste great and are widely available fresh or dried. Maitakes have anticancer and antiviral effects. They also can help control high blood pressure, high blood sugar control and enhance immune system power.

Lion’s Mane Mushrooms
These culinary mushrooms also have impressive health benefits. They can improve mild cognitive impairment and promote nerve growth. Lion’s Mane mushrooms also have been shown to reduce anxiety and enhance sleep.

Enoki Mushrooms
Enoki are mild tasting mushrooms that cook quickly and are perfect in soups and salads. Besides their great taste, enokis have anticancer and immune enhancing effects.

Turkey Tail Mushrooms
Strictly medicinal mushrooms Turkey Tails have anticancer effects and can increase immune function. You can buy Turkey Tail mushrooms in liquid form or in capsules.

Agaricus Blazei
This edible medicinal mushroom is also known as the “almond portobello” for its distinctive flavor. Healthwise, agaricus blazei can enhance immune system effects. It also has anti-tumor and anti-viral activity.

Final Notes On Mushrooms
Dr. Weil always cooks mushrooms and warns against eating them raw because they’re tough to digest and some contain toxins that cooking destroys. Before broiling, grilling or sautéing, Dr. Weil flavors mushrooms with a little teriyaki sauce.

Dr. Weil used mushrooms in the line of skin care products he developed for Origins to combat dry, inflamed or sensitive skin.

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Coach Gilberto 4 by Stephen Halpert

Finally, Gilberto had seen enough. Joey had spent most of the day mopping about the condo. He had paid no attention to Boris, who had tried cheer him up with licks, except to push him away. Now he sat alone on the couch, staring off into space.
Gilberto sat down beside him and looked at him intently, but lovingly. “Ok, Joey,” he began. “What’s going on for you?”
Joey’s lips tightened. He sighed and fidgeted on the couch, crossing and uncrossing his legs. Finally, he sighed again and scrubbed his hands through his hair. He opened his mouth. “N-nothing really, Gilberto I guess I’m just in love,” he stammered.
Gilberto tried a smile. “So, what’s wrong with that?” He put his arm around Joey’s shoulders.
“Nothing,” Joey said. He sighed again, clasped his hands, and shook his head. “It’s complicated.”
Gilberto nodded. “I understand that, but it might help if you can just let go and tell me what this is really about.”
Joey nodded, sighed and spread his hands. His words tumbled out: “I guess I’m in–I’m in love with Rosemary.” For the first time in the conversation, he looked relieved.
At first Gilberto’s’ eyes widened. “Your soccer coach?”
Joey nodded. He blushed and the tips of his ears turned red.
Gilberto looked at him quizzically, his head on one side. “Does that create a problem?”
Joey looked at him beseechingly. “But please don’t tell anyone.” His words came out in a rush.
“I wouldn’t “
Joey’s eyes rolled up and he smiled dreamily. “I’ve never seen a girl kick a soccer ball with that kind of intensity. And she can fly down the field.” He turned and looked into Gilberto’s eyes. “She blows my mind and I just want to be with her all the time.”
Gilberto nodded. “But you want more than just kicking around a soccer ball?”
Joey’s face reddened again. “Oh yes, way more. I want to hold her and kiss her and never stop. Like the way you kiss mom.”
Gilberto nodded. “I understand. Does she know?” he asked.
“I expect so. I told her I was falling in love with her.” He frowned slightly, “but she never said anything back.”
Gilberto nodded. “And she’s what, twenty-seven or eight?”
Joey nodded. “I know. But I’ll be eighteen.” He smiled a hopeful smile.
Gilberto shrugged. “Ten years isn’t the end of the world.”
Joey looked at him and frowned again. “It is if you’re Houndstooth faculty. If we got found out she’d get fired and I could be suspended.”
Gilberto looked at him seriously. “Just don’t let that happen then,” he said.
Joey’s eyebrows flew up. “So it’s ok then, my falling in love with her?”
“It’s not just falling in love. It’s how you handle the whole situation. Does she have a partner?”
Joey shrugged and looked off into space. “That never came up.” He sighed. “She’s so cool and athletic. I never knew a really cool, athletic girl before. She can fly when she runs and she can kick a goal almost from the length of the entire field.”
Maria came in with a tray of hot chocolate and cookies. She smiled at Gilberto. “Am I interrupting anything just man to man. You both seem so hushed and conspiratorial. Do I get to hear too? Or is this little confab just between you men?”
Joey blushed, searching for words. “Oh, mom it’s so different talking to you than to Gilberto.”
Maria raised her eyebrows. “What don’t you want me to know? Say it please in a few words.”
Gilberto smiled and sat back. He knew not put in his two cents.
“I’m in love with my soccer coach,” Joey blurted.
“He likes the way she kicks,” Gilberto said.
Maria gave him her ‘oh I see’ look. “How do you plan to proceed?”
Joey looked confused. “I don’t know. I was hoping Gilberto would help me.”
Maria smiled at Gilberto. “After all, you know more about women than you do the back of your hand.”
“Please,” Gilberto said. “I want him to solve this for himself.”
Maria nodded.
“I just want to know what you’d do Gilberto?” Joey pleaded.
Gilberto sighed. “If I was almost eighteen and fell in love with someone nearly ten years older than me?”
“Yes,” Joey nodded. He peered at Gilberto waiting for holy words from on high.”
Gilberto seemed to hedge. “I would at least want to kiss her.”
“But she’s my soccer coach. I can’t do that.”
Maria nodded. “Right, not a good idea.” She peered at Gilberto. “Any other words of wisdom, Casanova?”
The phone rang. It was Ramon. “Need to talk,” his voice was stressed.
“Come on over,” Gilberto said.
Ten minutes later he strode into the condo. Maria handed him an open bottle of beer. He sat down and swallowed a few gulps. “We’ve got a small problem, Gilberto. Headmaster wants us to field a soccer team and be ready to compete against rival prep schools this Fall. No one here even has a clue how to play, let alone any skills. I’ve seen them on the field. We’ll be destroyed. Our first season would be zero wins. They’re all that bad.”
Gilberto nodded. “I thought so. Intermural and varsity are way different head states.”
Ramon finished his beer. “Headmaster has no idea. He has this delusional dream of seeing silver cups lined up to impress; wants Houndstooth to become a soccer power like the Revolutions or the Patriots in the NFL. He doesn’t get that it takes years to build a winning powerhouse.”
“Especially when grades count the way they do at Houndstooth,” Maria added.
Gilberto sighed. “Cheer up, we’ll go see him Monday and try to teach him the facts of life about soccer.”
“Might be tricky,” Ramon said. “He’s already told everyone at school that we’re miracle workers. Expects us to throw our charisma around and get those kids ready for battle.”
“You’ll have Joey going into his senior year,” Maria said. “That’s one step in the right direction.”

(to be continued)

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Pets Can Help People Stay Sharp As They Age, New Study Finds.
BY ALISON CUTLER

Owning a pet might help combat declining brain health in older adults, the study found. Your dog or cat might be better for your health than you realize, a new study found — especially as you get older. The benefits of owning a pet have been touted by researchers for years.

A companion animal has the potential to decrease anxiety and loneliness, improve heart health and combat allergies, studies have shown. A pet might also be able to help older adults stay mentally sharp, according to a preliminary study that will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology’s 74th Annual Meeting in April.

“Prior studies have suggested that the human-animal bond may have health benefits like decreasing blood pressure and stress,” said study author Tiffany Braley in a news release. “Our results suggest pet ownership may also be protective against cognitive decline.” “Cognitive decline” includes problems with memory, language, thinking and judgment, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Researchers from the study looked at the brain health of 1,369 older adults with an average age of 65, the news release said. Within the group, 53% of adults owned a pet and 32% had owned their pet for five years or longer. Researchers tested the participants over six years and found that brain health decreased at a faster rate among people who didn’t have pets, according to the news release.

The people who owned pets for longer than five years had the slowest rate of mental decline and had an average brain health score that was 1.2 points higher than non-pet owners. Researchers had a few theories for why this could be. “As stress can negatively affect cognitive function, the potential stress-buffering effects of pet ownership could provide a plausible reason for our findings,” Braley said in a news release.

“A companion animal can also increase physical activity, which could benefit cognitive health.” Limitations in the study included how often the length of pet ownership was assessed and the authors said more research is needed to identify how race, gender and other factors impact the connection between brain health and pets.

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Kitty Kat’s Korner
=^..^=

Why Do Cats Stare?
By Susan Logan McCracken

Cats are famous for staring — at you, at the world outside a window, at the wall and sometimes at nothing at all. Indeed, cats are curious observers, and here’s a look into why they stare.

One of cats’ most striking features are their eyes. These ocular attributes amplify their reputation for staring and make them possibly the most photogenic species on the internet and here’s why:

Cats have enormous eyes compared to the size of the rest of their body.

Cats’ eyes blink about twice a minute, while human eyes blink around 15 to 20 times per minute.

A cat’s vision differs from ours. Compared to humans, cats are nearsighted. Average human visual acuity is 20/20. That means when our visual acuity is tested, we must see at 20 feet the same detail that average people see at 20 feet. Feline visual acuity ranges between 20/100 and 20/200. That means that the detail an average human can see from 100 to 200 feet away, a feline can only see clearly from 20 feet away. What looks clear to us at 100 feet away looks blurry to a cat.

What they lack in visual acuity, they make up for with other advantages.

The more numerous rods in their retinas enable them to see in one-sixth the amount of light we need to see.

Cats also have a wider field of vision at 200 degrees, compared to that of humans at 180 degrees. Cats are wired to see movement of the tiniest insect or speck of dust up close. Combined with their superior peripheral vision, cats are more likely to fixate on something we may not notice

Cats have adapted to human habits and use human signals to obtain information. Cats not only notice a person’s gaze, they can actually follow it.

They hear everything
Why do cats stare at a wall or seemingly nothing at all? Actually, much goes on in walls. If walls could talk, they would tell of the myriad plumbing and electrical conduits they conceal, not to mention the insects and other critters that may have found their home in them.

Have you ever noticed how cats know when someone is at the front door before you do? Cats’ sense of hearing is much sharper than ours. The extra muscles and shape of their ears enable them to pinpoint and amplify sounds. Cats hear the slightest sounds of everything going on in our walls and beyond them from leaves rustling and critters scurrying to people walking and talking outside.

Hunting requires patience
Cats are curious and learn by watching their world. In her 2005 study titled “Caregiver Perceptions of What Indoor Cats Do ‘For Fun,’” published in the Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science, animal behaviorist Melissa R. Shyan-Norwalt concluded that indoor cats on average spend up to five hours each day looking out of a window.

Outdoor cats exhibit this same amazing patience when they are on the hunt. If you’ve ever watched an outdoor cat hunt, you would marvel at their innate ability to sit quietly and stare at something until the perfect opportunity presents itself and they pounce.

They love you
If you’ve ever tried to make eye contact with an animal at a zoo, you may have noticed that many wild species do not comply. Some animals see eye contact as a threat or a challenge. Many animals interpret someone staring at them as a sign of aggression.

Looking into a human’s eyes is something only a domesticated companion animal would do. So, it’s no wonder that this attribute of the human-animal bond piqued the interest of researchers.

In a review of multiple studies, researchers from the Laboratory of Human-Animal Interaction and Reciprocity at Azabu University in Kanagawa, Japan, concluded that even though cats are solitary hunters and dogs are pack animals, the two species are similar in their bond with humans today. Both dogs and cats have adapted to human habits and use human signals to obtain information. Cats notice a person’s gaze and actually follow it.

“In the future, cats may acquire more dog-like abilities, such as more consistent and expressive gaze,” wrote the researchers in “The Gaze Communications Between Dogs/Cats and Humans: Recent Research Review and Future Directions,” published in Frontiers in Psychology in 2020.

The studies they reviewed showed that “dogs and cats have their own adaptive communications that may have provided the basis for their mutually beneficial coexistence with humans.”

Cats wouldn’t stare at someone they fear or dislike. So, when your cats stare at you, take it as a sign of trust and love.

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Georgia Nicols
Weekly Horoscope: Sunday, March 27, 2022

All Signs
Reality check: Without rationalizing or embroidering the facts, sit down and take a moment to recognize the confusion and angst of the past few weeks because it’s time to move forward. It’s time to do a realistic assessment, and make an action plan. This is the week to formulate strategies and establish goals. Goals are invaluable because they give you a clearer focus on what’s important. They give you more clarity in your decision-making; and they make decision making easier. They give you better control over your future; and they give you a sense of purpose. My goal this week is to get dressed (at least, week days). But something I wonder about. Have people who wear pajamas in public given up on life? Or are they living life to the fullest?

Aries (March 21-April 19)
This week you are goal oriented and articulate. You’re keen to share your ideas and probably boss a few people around. (Hey, somebody’s gotta do it.) You might do some kind of a reassessment about a friend or an acquaintance or someone in the group who is older than you. You might appreciate this person’s advice – or not. That’s your call. You are definitely someone who does not like to be told what to do. You’re an Aries, you’re a warrior, and you need freedom of action! Friday’s New Moon is the perfect time to set goals. It’s the only New Moon in your sign all year, plus it will get energy from your ruler Mars. Don’t miss this opportunity. What do you want to achieve?

Taurus (April 20-May 20)
Because you’re in a sensible frame of mind, this is a great week for research and some serious soul-searching. Get ready for Friday’s New Moon, which is the perfect time to make serious goals for your future. You’re grounded and in touch with your reality. (You will suffer no fools.) Your ambition is aroused and you want to streamline your efforts and do exactly what is necessary. Eliminate whatever is superfluous because it drains your energy, and it’s a distraction. Plan on a fun, friendly weekend after the New Moon. This will be the perfect time to chat with friends and catch up on what’s happening. Sunday will be spontaneous and exciting!

Gemini (May 21-June 20)
You’re enjoying warm conversations with others, especially younger people. However, this is also an excellent week, for you to make goals for the future. You have all week to think about this because Friday’s New Moon is the perfect time to make a commitment to new ways of doing things, which will help you achieve your objectives. You’re serious about travel plans or higher education, legal matters or issues related to your medical well-being. Meanwhile, with Jupiter at the top of your chart, you look fabulous to others! This is a blessing that will help you this year. Since this occurs only once every 12 years – make the most of it!

Cancer (June 21-July 22)
The Sun is still at the top of your chart casting you in a flattering light, which makes everyone, especially bosses, parents, teachers and the police see you through admiring eyes. You look great to them even if you don’t do anything special. This happens once a year and it definitely an advantage for you! Now is the time to ask for the permission or approval that you want. Meanwhile, think about what you want to achieve this year because Friday’s New Moon is an excellent time to make goals. (See All signs above for the advantages of making goals.) This is a good week to clarify debt and matters related to taxes and money back from the government. Ka-ching!

Leo (July 23-Aug. 22)
You need to get outta Dodge. You want a change of pace that is not only stimulating but also replenishing and restorative. (It’s hard out there without your towel.) This week you can make goals or better define the boundaries and expectations of your closest relationships. If you want to initiate some new rules or new ways of doing things, have this discussion on Friday at the time of the New Moon. In addition to thoughts about your closest relationships, you can also make long-range plans for the future this week. (You might want to know that you will be travelling much more in 2023. This will also be a year full of publishing opportunities.)

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22)
Because you are ambitious to achieve a lot, this is a busy and demanding week. You will work hard, even to the point of delegating to others. You feel a bit stern this week, which is why you will be less inclined to show kindness and compassion to those who don’t deserve it, in your mind. Tough love. Expect to have a strong focus on shared property, taxes, debt and issues related to the wealth and resources of others, including inheritances. You might feel kindly toward (or even attracted to) an authority figure at work or someone who is older or more experienced. It will please you to make your workspace more efficient and attractive.

Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22)
With the Sun opposite your sign now, you are more tired than usual, which means you need more sleep. Keep this in mind. Meanwhile, your focus on your kids continues to be strong. In fact, many of you have increased responsibilities with kids at this time. Others will have a similar focus on sports related activities, the arts, vacations, financial speculation and social outings. You’re making plans that involve strategy, effort and work. (Even a picnic requires sandwiches and a blanket.) Think about how you can improve your closest relationships and partnerships; also, how can improve your relations with your kids? Your possessions are just stuff. People are priceless.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21)
You’re in the frame of mind to get things done. You are motivated and earnest. You know that you have a long-haul ahead of you and you’re prepared to meet it. You’re ready to work efficiently because you have high expectations for yourself. In particular, you want to reorganize things at home. We’re talking major changes – not just sweeping floors. More likely pushing furniture around! This might entail renovations, redecorating projects or major repairs. Naturally, this could trigger angst and tension at home or with family members. When this kind of anger arrives, remember that patience is the antidote to anger. It always is.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 21)
This is a playful, lighthearted time for you! You might be excited about something related to your kids. Or you might be excited about social occasions, the arts or a fun, getaway vacation. Whatever the case, you’re pumped with energy. Meanwhile, you are focused on certain issues that affect your day-to-day life as well as your dealings with neighbours, siblings and relatives. This is an excellent week to study and set goals. It’s a great week to write and explore new ideas. You might teach others or you might be the student. Now is the time to define your expectations for the future and decide how you can begin working towards attaining those goals. Let’s get ‘er done!

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 19)
Your focus on home and family, and your private life continues to be strong. Many of you are involved more than usual with a parent. However, financial issues are important right now. They could relate to your earnings and your moneymaking ideas. Or perhaps, they relate to major expenditures. Whatever the case, you are more concerned with your cash flow at this time. Perhaps your goal setting will be more related to how you handle your money and your possessions, so that you feel you’re getting the best use out of what you own. After all, what you own should help you and work for you – and not be a burden. Obviously!

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 18)
There’s a lot going on right now in your life, which is why you have a need to communicate to others and tell it like it is. You want to talk some things through with someone — in part, to get them clarified in your own mind. (It helps to hear your own thoughts verbalized out loud. Sometimes you realize, “I don’t even agree with me!”) You have a strong sense of purpose this week, which will translate into a desire to reestablish things and ground yourself so that you feel more in control. You also want to clarify boundaries in a realistic way. This is because you intend to forge ahead on your own terms instead of getting bogged down by other people’s toxicity. Well done!

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20)
This is a curious time because in one way, you are out there flying your colours, and concerned with finances, earning money, moneymaking ideas and dealing with your possessions. That’s a lot! However, in addition to this, so much is going on behind the scenes. Oh yes, you’re having serious shower conversations with yourself. You’re making plans, testing strategies and deciding who to keep close and who to keep at a distance. It’s all about survival and when it comes to survival you come first. It’s that simple. That’s why parents are instructed to put the oxygen mask on themselves first before they put it on their children in an emergency on a plane. You are your best resource!

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Weekly Horoscopes Beginning Sunday, 27 March 2022

If you’re born within a cusp period (16 to 26 of any month); you’re advised to read horoscopes of both signs covered by that period. You’re on the border; you may have influences from houses within those signs.

Outlines are longer versions; consist of every possible detail of everyday and are based on three parts of each sign: 1st, 2nd & 3rd Decan; that is, any of three divisions of 10° within a sign of the zodiac. Even if you know or don’t know your Decan; I recommend, please read all three Decan.


Aries
Personal theme: I am!!
Fire & cardinal sign: March 21 — April 19

Your horoscope for this week:

Between the Sun’s move into Aries on the 20th, and the insights triggered by the New Moon in your sign on 1 April, you’re in a cycle of review, change and, better yet, unexpected breakthroughs. The trick? Ignore those who insist you be cautious. Instead, trust your instincts or even take chances. The fact is, whatever the outcome, you’ll learn from every twist and turn.

Discussing philosophical, spiritual and religious matters with people you trust will give you greater insight into your own beliefs and feelings. A transformation is starting to take place within you and this makes you more confident and assertive. You are more aware of how some people have used their charm and power to influence you and you’re no longer willing to go along with agendas other people have set for you. From now on, you’re making your own decisions.

In recent times, it hasn’t been easy to move forward and frustration has been great. That’s likely in the first two days of this week too. Note however, that by the New Moon in your sign on Friday, April 1, all could and should be so very, very different. It’s perhaps worth reminding yourself that Chiron (the planetoid that orbits between Saturn and Uranus), has been passing through your sign for some time now. Yes, it’s true that people write books about Chiron as the ‘wounded healer’, you could also think of it as the ‘company doctor’. Certainly, in a business sense, it seems that’s the role you are set to play though true, you could once again be involved in a power struggle with someone who simply doesn’t understand your vision and is hiding behind rules and regulations. Yet yours is a sign whose life quest is to show courage and bravery. There are times when you have to challenge, and this week, is one of them.


Taurus
Personal theme: I have!!
Earth & fixed sign: April 20 — May 20

Your horoscope for this week:

Recent events have been as unsettling as they’ve been exciting. While you’re eager to explore the ideas and offers currently being explored, you’re short of facts and others don’t know much more. However, you’re in a cycle of discovery. Knowing that, focus on what you’re learning, not lasting arrangements. Do that, and you’ll actually enjoy taking chances and, better yet, will learn a lot.

There’s a strong need for some time alone. If you get this you will feel relaxed and in control. If outside pressures give you little time to yourself, you will start feeling short tempered and frustrated. Just be careful not to take this out on those who are closest to you. It will be a partner who is likely to suffer the most. You’re planning so far into the future you might lose track of what actually lies ahead of you. Make what’s going on in the present your first priority.

You’re likely right to suspect that there is much going on behind the scenes. You perhaps know exactly what it is that you want to achieve, and have defined your new aims for 2022 even ahead of the solar eclipse in your sign on April 30. Yet you perhaps also know that others are making their own plans and not, as yet, declaring these. Tuning into different frequencies will be challenging. You might also find that your own expertise is questioned and wise to be well armed with your CV or other statement of experience. Certainly, by the new moon on Friday, April 1, you may need to pull the rabbit out of that hat and show that not only are you well-qualified, but that you are exactly the right person to have on a team.


Gemini
Personal theme: I think!!
Air sign: May 21 — June 20

Your horoscope for this week:

It’s not that you’ve been secretive but, often, you’ve been short facts. The problem? Certain individuals are anxious to get plans going. Proceed, but make it clear you regard this as an opportunity to learn, not as a lasting arrangement. Equally, encourage others to do so as well. By the time your objectives are clear, you’ll also be better informed, and ready to move swiftly.

You’re inclined to jump in where angels fear to treat but this could lead to disappointment. Take some time to think about what your next move should be. You’re on your own if you decide to take a risk that a friend or loved one feels is going too far. No one will follow you if you won’t listen to their cautionary advice. It isn’t that other people are reluctant to try new things. They just prefer less risky pastimes. You may have to lower your sights to keep their support and friendship.

The Gemini life quest, is to infiltrate and pass on information. Like butterflies, you can flit from one flower or plant to another; but yes, there are times when others want to entrap you. That seems very likely in the first few days of this week. You might wish that you could be an escape artist. It’s probable though, that your potential captors will easily be distracted and that by Friday’s New Moon you will be moving on; but yes, this could be an exercise you wish to avoid. Fact is that these are changing times. New business and financial currents are on the way. Being prepared means adopting a long-term view. To this end, and soon after Friday’s New Moon, you would surely benefit from a discussion with a good friend or career adviser as to how best to prepare for the turbulent times those are likely to come after Mars moves into your sign mid-August.


Cancer
Personal theme: I feel!!
Water & cardinal sign: June 21 — July 22

Your horoscope for this week:

For ages you’ve been aware changes in elements of your way of living, working or your long-term objectives are overdue. However, you’ve been unsure what to put first. This week’s events won’t just solve that problem, once you’re involved, discussions will swiftly turn into action and, often, those efforts into plans. The trick to overcoming concerns? Plunge in. what you learn will answer all your questions.

You’re tired of the way some people seem to look down at you just because you are quiet and don’t push your opinions onto others. Remaining in the background is working against you as it prevents you from taking up opportunities to make more use of your potential. Make an effort to show a flexible face to the world. Showcase your talent to raise your standing in the eyes of others. Let people see what you are made of.

On Friday, April 1st, there is a New Moon at the apex of your solar chart. True, there is a lunation like this every year. What’s special about this one is that is the New Moon preceding the solar eclipse on April 30. Think of this as the overture: necessary to prepare the ground. There is much to prepare. Expect a messy start and yes, to be privy to a power struggle. This could be an uneasy time with an Aries causing you some distress or at least requiring more support than you really have available. Even so, amidst all this, there’s high probability of you advancing your career aims. It won’t be so surprising if you’re asked to join a new team or to head up an area that is ripe for development.


Leo
Personal theme: I will!!
Fire & fixed sign: July 23 — August 22

Your horoscope for this week:

You don’t think of yourself as narrow-minded. However, you weren’t just cautious about recent events, you wanted to avoid them entirely. If you can’t say an enthusiastic ‘yes’, to what’s arisen, explore, enough you’ll know more about what they promise. Those insights will tempt you to get involved. That, then, will lead to experiences that make you wonder why you hesitated, for even a moment.

With you being in a hyperactive mood you’re likely to feel frustrated with someone close starts dragging their heels over a certain matter. You wish they would make up their mind more quickly. Even so, stop and think about why they are behaving this way before you voice complaint. It could be that they have lost interest. Discuss important matters now rather than waiting to see what time brings about. For once, take the initiative.

You won’t be the only sign of the zodiac forced to face a major clean-up operation in the first few days of this week. Ahead of an important New Moon on Friday, April 1st, there is much to do. Though that’s true for all signs, what’s slightly different in your case, is that it seems that you’re making space. Throwing things away can be therapeutic. It might also be necessary to separate items and ideas that belong to you as opposed to others. This may be part of a slow growth process. ‘Slow’ only in the sense that you likely know this has been coming for some time and yet haven’t taken full action. Now it seems imperative. Distraction is probable – and most likely will come in the form of a Cancer, Scorpio or Pisces who at least to your mind, is wallowing and not getting on with a task – so leaving you to do more than you wish to do.


Virgo
Personal theme: I analyse!!
Earth sign: August 23 — September 22

Your horoscope for this week:

The information you’re hearing from others about ongoing changes in certain arrangements isn’t just confusing, you’re worried they’ll lead to chaos. Yet, despite those doubts, you’re intrigued. The secret is to discuss what others have experienced, then do some exploration on your own. What you learn should boost your confidence enough you’ll take things further. It may seem risky now, but you won’t regret it.

How many people know the real you? When you stop and think about it you will probably answer: not many. Yet someone seems to think they know how you will respond in all situations and they are happy to take it upon themselves, without being asked, to make decisions for you. You’re ready now to follow your own inclinations even if these are unlike anything anyone is expecting you to do. Finding a few bargains on your favourite online store will uplift you.

It could be argued though that the world needs Virgos especially! Your ability to tidy up, discriminate, see where the flaws are, direct traffic etc, etc is invaluable – but some times more than others. This week you could be much, much in demand. Fact is that so many people will likely need to undertake inventory analysis or clear away material before they can move on soon after the New Moon next Friday, April 1st. Overwhelmed by the number of things that need to be done, they might welcome your approach. At the very least, you could make lists. This is not to say your own life will be running in smooth order! You too might benefit from taking a close appraisal of tasks that are long overdue and which need now to be scheduled. You don’t necessarily need to do them, but in identifying them, you could also attract exactly the right people to come and help resolve those issues. Yes, this is a week when taking a broad perspective should be considered wise if not imperative.


Libra
Personal theme: I balance!!
Air & cardinal sign: September 23 — October 22

Your horoscope for this week:

As a clever air sign, you’ve an ability to spot both worthwhile plans and, equally, those that need attention or might be coming to an end. Usually, these matters can be dealt with gradually; but with several changes this week, you’re under pressure. Focus on these, but ensure arrangements are flexible enough that, as circumstances or the priorities of others shift, you can easily rethink plans.

Should someone close dig in their heels about a matter that concerns you both, you will just go ahead with what you want to do without them. If you’re struggling to learn a new skill, don’t give up at the first hurdle. Be patient. Keep trying and eventually it will feel like second nature to you. Are you travelling this week? Guard against gastric upsets and overindulgence. Remember you’re hoping to enjoy your travels and not to suffer.

Ahead of the New Moon in your opposite sign on April 1, there is much for you to do. You won’t be alone in thinking that you have to clear things up, clear things out, and generally put your affairs in order. Fact is that opportunities are headed in your direction: most likely involving a joint enterprise that would be mutually satisfactory. You can’t take on anything new until you’ve cleared up the past and need to plan and schedule how this could be done. The incentive to do this may be offered by an Aries, Leo or Sagittarius who is all-too-familiar with your tendency to procrastinate but sees too that you would be so much happier, and could be better rewarded if all this were done.


Scorpio & Ophiuchus
Personal theme: I desire!!
Water & fixed signs: October 23 — November 21

Your horoscope for this week:

The odds are good you’re still contending with the fallout from recent events as exciting as they were sudden and, often, unsettling. The problem? You sense there’s yet more to come, and are hesitant about arranging plans that would only need to be reorganised. The secret? Regard these as an experiment. Take chances. Not only will you learn from them, they’re likely to work out brilliantly.

A workmate or neighbour who questions your every move is starting to annoy you. You’re tired of them trying to make your business theirs. This could be their way of getting your attention. What you think is criticism could actually be admiration. Someone genuinely likes you but they’re finding it hard to express their feelings. Once you get to know them better you will understand and you will feel less frustrated by their strange behaviour.

Take care in the early part of this week, that you don’t take on too much. The temptation will certainly be there. Mercury joins the Sun in that part of your chart that is all about day-to-day management. Given a genuine anxiety to please, and the fact that others appear as headless chickens, it may be all too tempting to take on more than is actually reasonable. True, it might suit you to get to a situation where others owe you favours. Be aware of what you’re doing however. Note too, that the New Moon on Friday, April 1, is the last before a solar eclipse in your opposite sign. Through April it should be all too apparent that others are altering direction and perhaps yes, could leave you behind. It’s likely important that you make clear the direction you want to take before others steal a march on you.


Sagittarius
Personal theme: I see!!
Fire sign: November 22 — December 21

Your horoscope for this week:

Recent tricky situations cornered you into making promises you doubted, even then, that you’d be able to keep. You were right, and must now disentangle yourself from these arrangements. Begin by asking others’ views. To your relief and surprise, they’ll say they regarded these as about boosting everybody’s spirits, not about lasting commitments. That frees you, and others, to begin making plans from a fresh perspective.

Perseverance pays off and gets results. Your hard work and determined effort will all go towards bringing the rewards you desire and deserve. You have all the right ideas to move a work project forward. Despite some heavy outgoings you are keeping on top of everyday bills. With you doing so much be sure to look after your health. There will be simple but common-sense precautions you could take to avoid unnecessary illness.

The various lunar phases act as punctuation marks in any month. Each one is entirely different: configuring with the arrangement of the planets as they move around the Sun. This week, between a last Quarter Moon and the New Moon in another of the Fire signs on Monday, should be thought of as an excellent time for clearing up. This is a time for housekeeping and yes, perhaps even spring cleaning. It’s possible that you will be faced with an enormous mess to clear: tasks that presumably should have been done in the last couple of years and which for various reasons were set aside. Now the momentum to complete these quickly should be strong. You might also be asked (most likely by a Virgo), to identify what should be kept and treasured and what should be given away. Planning this before a major clear out after Venus reaches another of the Mutable signs on April 6 would be wise. With your research and development department likely brimming with fresh ideas, an investment could be identified.


Capricorn
Personal theme: I use!!
Earth & cardinal sign: December 22 — January 19

Your horoscope for this week:

Ordinarily, you’d rather deal with tricky matters frankly, make the necessary changes, then move on; but with the foundation on which certain arrangements are based still in transition, it’s about ensuring arrangements are flexible. Out of character as this is for you, as a cautious and thorough Capricorn, it’s not just the best approach for dealing with the matters in question, it’s the only one.

Domestic activities and home related matters bring out the best in you. If you’ve been thinking about getting started on a home improvement project do so now while you are in the right mood. This is a great time to decorate a drab room or add modern appliances to your kitchen. Your charm is at an all-time high. Are you single? Marital opportunities or some interesting romantic developments may occur. A friendship could accelerate into a special partnership.

In recent years, you’ve no doubt become ever more familiar with the concept of power struggles and how others seek to look after themselves, – but not necessarily others. It would be all too easy at the start of this week to feel that once more you were being manipulated; and yes, you may need to put your foot down. The annual New Moon highlighting the base of your solar chart comes next Friday, April 1. It’s the last New Moon before an important Solar Eclipse in another of the Earth signs on April 30. It’s probable that you will be setting out on the next stage of a journey to refine your expertise and gain acknowledgement for it. It might be wise mid-week to review your CV and in particular, highlight experiences gained in recent months. It may be that more than one person needs to be reminded of exactly what your contribution has been. Though it might initially seem that they’re looking for someone else to fulfil a post that is being designed, it could be that this is made-to-measure. You perhaps need to remind others of all the attributes you bring to the table.


Aquarius
Personal theme: I know!!
Air & fixed sign: January 20 — February 18

Your horoscope for this week:

Usually, you’re the first to discover new ways of handling outdated arrangements or, if necessary, changes that are as sudden as they are far-reaching. Now, however, your instinct is to keep certain cherished arrangements as they are. While your feelings are understandable, and you’d prefer to stick with things as they are, the world is changing and so, too, must these; and, very soon.

You can understand why meetings are important and why people want to get together to discuss a recent incident. You also feel everything that needs to be said has been said. You don’t want to talk about problems anymore. You want to find solutions. Joining a group that might help not hinder your progress can be useful but it will be self-reliance that will ultimately help you resolve current challenges and difficulties. If you’re dreaming of dating a new neighbour, make your move now.

Others want you to direct traffic. The problem is that you may not have identified – completely – the ultimate goal. You could – even unwittingly, create a logjam. The fact that you want to make so many changes – because you know that old ways don’t work – possibly all at once, would surely contribute to a chaotic feel in this period between the Last Quarter Moon and Friday’s New Moon. Be aware that many people will be working on clearing out and clearing up projects. The last thing they need is for you to send more work their way. Of course, it is also possible the what you really need is to focus on the long-term. It might help to imagine yourself as a bird or plane looking down on your life. What really is important, and what should reasonably be jettisoned? Those definitions should be super useful ahead of Friday’s new Moon which should be viewed as a kick starter for bringing together a new team yes, one in which you play significant role.


Pisces
Personal theme: I believe!!
Water sign: February 19 — March 20

Your horoscope for this week:

The last thing you want to do is upset those you care about. However, that’s part of the problem. You’ve avoided making changes you’ve known would cause problems, and have hoped for the best. Yet, day by day, it’s becoming clear that this isn’t about a single reorganisation but a dramatic rethink of certain longstanding arrangements. Once you actually begin the process, you’ll realise the time has come.

Property matters will go very well. If you’re in the process of renting, buying or selling a home, curb your excitement. Stay calm and aim to handle such affairs in a quietly confident and practical fashion. Are you single and looking for love? You could be trying too hard to find your dream lover. Don’t feel pressured to put on a big display for a new friend. Relax and just be yourself when introduced to new people.

You won’t be the only sign trying to get their house in order prior to the new Moon on April 1. What may be different in your case, is just the amount of assistance you give to others rather than focusing on your own needs. Bear in mind though, that if you are to take the reins of your financial affairs, then you do need to focus. That might not be so easy with the moon passing through your sign over Tuesday and Wednesday. It will likely be all too easy to get distracted. Yet positive aspects on Thursday 31st, suggest that not only might you become the power behind another throne, but that you could gather together the needed support so that one of your objectives is fulfilled. True, this task might not be completed until the beginning of next week. The fact that you now have so many people pulling together and, on your side, though should make a real difference to your mood and ensure that soon after the new Moon, you feel to be back in charge.

~CelestialPrognostication

🌻🌻🌻

Every Day is Earth Day! Love Your Mother!

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Goddess Blessings!✨✨✨
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Teach a witch a spell and she can do that spell. Teach a witch the craft and she can do magick!

GrannyMoon, Teaching the Craft for over 20 years!

“We all come from the Goddess
And to Her we shall return
Like a drop of rain, going to the ocean”
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“May the circle be open, but unbroken,
May the love of the Goddess be ever in your heart.

Merry Meet and Merry Part
And Merry Meet Again

Never forget…you are magick!

Goddess Bless!
GrannyMoon

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By GrannyMoon Posted in Pagan

GrannyMoons Weekly Feast: 20 Mar 2022

Blessed Ostara!

If you reveal your secrets to the wind,
you should not blame the wind for revealing them to the trees. ~Khalil Gibran

Blessed Be My Little Witch. To those who came before and those who will come after, know that the Goddess is with you always. Thank you all my dear readers…be blessed. ~GrannyMoon

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Dark Moon – Time to Rest
New Moon – Time to Begin New Projects; Birth; Attraction
Waxing Moon – Time to Grow; Increase
Full Moon – Time to be Fulfilled; Abundance
Waning Moon – Time to Banish; Decrease
Last Sliver of Moon – Time to Die; Letting Go
Dark Moon – Time to Rest Again
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Light A Candle Today!
In many different traditions lighting a candle is a sacred action. It expresses more than words can express. It has to do with gratefulness. From time immemorial, people have lit candles in sacred places. You may want to begin or end your day by the sacred ritual of lighting a candle on this gratefulness. Or you may want to light a birthday candle for a friend. One single guideline is all you need: Slow down and do it with full attention.

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Current Moon Phase: WANING MOON

March 20, 2022
Waning Gibbous
Moon in Libra

Time: From Full Moon To Dark Moon (approx.14 days)

Goddess Aspect: Crone

Associated Goddesses: Callieach, Banshee, Hecate, Kali, Morrigan

Magickal Attributes: Banishing, Releasing the old, removing unwanted negative energies, wisdom, psychic ability, scrying, reversing circumstances. Workings on this day are for banishing magick, for ridding oneself of addictions, illness or negativity, physical and psychic cleansings.

Organs influenced by Libra Moon Sign:
Kidney, ureter, urinary bladder, veins, skin as an organ of touch, pancreas, insulin, glucagon.

These organs are now more sensitive so provide them with extra care.

Surgical operations: Yes – Surgical operations are recommended during the Waning Moon.
However, avoid surgeries of organs under the influence of the Moon Sign.

You might have a strong need for balance and harmony now. You probably desire to keep things nice rather than venturing into fundamental questions in order not to disturb the peace. You must learn to share your good and bad feelings. Do not be afraid to be who you really are, despite what is expected of you.

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What’s Happening in March!?!

Herb of the Year for 2022: Blackberries, raspberries, and their cousins (Rubus ssp.) Named by the International Herb Association

Flower of the Month for March: Daffodil

March is National Women’s History Month

Celtic Tree Calendar ~ March 18th to April 14th – Alder

Goddess Month of Columbina runs from 3/20 – 4/17

Mar: 20, Spring Equinox ~ Ostara, Northern Hemisphere, Alban Eilir
Mar: 20, Iroquois Maple Ceremony
Mar: 20, Mabon ~ Southern Hemisphere –
Mar: 20, International Day of Happiness
Mar: 20, Aries Season: Today the sun enters Aries, the first astrological sign of the zodiac.
Mar: 25: International Waffle Day!

When is Easter in 2022?
Here’s the rule for Easter Sunday. It generally falls on the first Sunday after the first full moon on or after the vernal equinox. The equinox is Sunday. So tonight’s full moon doesn’t set the date of Easter. Instead, the first full moon after the equinox will be April 16. And that’s why Easter is so late this year.

May 1st ~ Virginia Psychic Fair, Falls Church, VA. For info go to https://va-psychic-fair-2022.eventbrite.com
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Classes with GrannyMoon at Sticks and Stones, Fairfax, VA
March 26 – Face to Face Class: 4:30 – 6:30 PM – Usui Shiki Ryoho Reiki I and II
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High Priestess Training with GrannyMoon
http://GoddessSchool.com

The entire course takes 15 months to complete (four levels). Tuition covers lessons, assignments and instructor feedback. In addition, students may download guided meditation exercises and be eligible for Sabbats, Esbats and retreats with the Sisterhood. The entire fee for each level is $120 (payment plan available), sixteen lessons in each level, except the last.

Ceremonial Cords and frame-able Completion Certificates are awarded as members complete each level.
Level I – Initiate of the Sisters of the Burning Branch – White cord
Level II – Adept of the Sisters of the Burning Branch- Red cord
Level III – Priestess of the Sisters of the Burning Branch- Black cord
Level IV – High Priestess of the Sisters of the Burning Branch – Green cord

You Might Also Be Interested In:
http://goddessschool.com/Paganstudies/index.html
http://www.goddessschool.com/courses/natural/naturalwitch.html
http://goddessschool.com/Paganstudies/healingarts.html

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Learn About Herbs with GrannyMoon!

There is so much to learn about herbs! In Herbalism 101, we cover 21 herbs, and you will start your own personal Materia Medica, that we will build throughout the next levels. We will cover the basic aspects of herbs. From culinary to magickal, medicinal to ornamental. As well as the many modalities of herbs!

During this course, in addition to the on-line lessons and hands-on projects that you do at home, I will be sending you articles, and information, as well as questions about your own personal use and research.

I look forward to walking this green journey with you! I love herbs and I hope that you do too or will learn to!

There are 10 lessons in each level and there is no time limit for completion. You may study at your own pace! There are no texts to purchase.

For more info or to join my class, click here!
http://goddessschool.com/Paganstudies/healingarts.html

The cost for Level 1 is $50.00 or $150.00 the entire Healing Arts Course (1-3) which includes a free Reiki certification course when all three are ordered at the same time!
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Earth Signs and Omens in Nature Course

Learn to read the mysteries of nature! The course covers signs and omens, communication, seasonal rites, trees and shrubs, flowers, plants and weeds, herbs, plant magick, the Guardians of Nature and much more.
http://goddessschool.com/courses/earthsigns/index.html

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The Goddess School Grimoire

http://www.lulu.com/shop/sotbb-Goddess-school/the-Goddess-school-grimoire/hardcover/product-762380.html
Hardcover: $39.45
Softback: $26.95
eBook (PDF): $6.25

The Goddess School Grimoire is a collection of recipes, artwork, poetry, prose, prayers, rituals, spells, and practical Goddess wisdom put together by the teachers, students, alumni, and friends of The Sisters of the Burning Branch Goddess School. The sisterhood is dedicated to restoring spiritual balance by returning the Divine Feminine to her rightful place and by assisting women in their personal and spiritual development. Since being founded by Head and High Mother Priestess Grandmother Moon in 2000, The Goddess School (GoddessSchool.com) has grown into a large and beautiful global community of women.

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Coventry Creations
March 21, 2022 – March 27, 2022

The fourth week of March begins with a beautiful conjunction between Mercury and Jupiter. Mercury-Jupiter allows you to see the big picture and provides the proper foresight to get results. This conjunction’s energies are fantastic for business and commerce. However, be prepared for the energy to dramatically shift on Tuesday as Mars tangles with Uranus. You may feel restless and impulsive, and this can lead to a boatload (perhaps barge load) of problems. You may even try to rebel against forces blocking your momentum, and this could lead to tense moments and potential arguments. Try to be as proactive as possible.

Midweek, Mercury conjoins Neptune in Pisces. You may find it difficult to focus on practical matters, and communication with others may be tricky. However, if you need to work on creative projects, Mercury conjoin Neptune delivers in spades because your imagination will be fruitful and ripe for the picking.

This weekend Mercury sextiles Pluto in Capricorn. If you need to get to the heart of the matter, this aspect will give you the determination to dig deep. You may learn valuable truths that you can use to your advantage. So, if you need to examine your life or solve difficult problems, now is the time.

Recommended: Mercury (Astro Magic), Muse (Blessing Kit), Truth and Justice (Blessed Herbal)

Here’s what you missed on CoventryCreations.com this week…

What helper spirits do…

When you combine your intent, spell ingredients, and ritual you have a spell. The final push of that spell, or the big magic, is supported by your helper spirits. We all have spirits around us, a spiritual court as it were, that is made up of our ancestors, spirit guides, and the divine beings that we have either called to us or who are drawn to us.

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Spring Equinox/Ostara March 19/20

In the Northern Hemisphere, we mark the Spring Equinox also known as Ostara on March 19/20.

“Behold, my friends, the spring is come; the earth has gladly received the embraces of the sun, and we shall soon see the results of their love!” — Sitting Bull

Spring has finally arrived! March has roared in like a lion, and if we’re really lucky, it will roll out like a lamb. It’s the time of the vernal equinox if you live in the Northern Hemisphere, and it’s a true marker that Spring has come.

The Wheel of the Year – Occurs on or near the Spring Equinox, when day and night are equal. It is a time of balance where unnecessary things, thoughts and habits are thrown away to make room for the new.

Other names for the Spring Equinox are Alban Eilir, Gwyl Canol Gwenwynol, Lady Day, and Ostara.The feel-good factor about this day, however, is that the first official astrological day of spring hints that high temperatures are not far off.

As the winter ends traditionally Native American people celebrate their thanks with prayers for surviving the bitter, cold days and the struggles they had to overcome. With spring everyone begins to enjoy the bounties of the earth once more, as plants and animals show new life again. The land turns green, wildlife flourishes and people are filled with anticipation for the coming of summer, the time of harvest.

It’s important to remember that the dawning of spring has been observed for a long time in many other cultures as well. Traditions vary widely from one country to the next. March 20 also welcomes Ostara which is celebrated in spring season as a way to honor the richness and wealth that Mother Nature has brought to humans and creatures. Spring is considered as the period of growth, happiness and love. In this time of a year, everything is woken up from winter and they are full of vitality.

Springtime is a wonderful season to celebrate with much merriment and shared feasts, as families gather together, dancing and enjoying the gifts of the land. Just as those in ancient times find a reason to give thanks for being here another day. Do something special to honor the fact that you are still here. Celebrations and rituals are important in our spiritual walk.

It is a time to offer thanks in prayers, celebrations and gratitude to the Great Creator who is watching and filling those who care with blessings.

Spring is almost here! Ostara, otherwise known as the Spring Equinox is coming soon! Are you ready? What are you planting in your garden this spring? Find out in a Springtime Reading.

Spring Blessings,
Cherokee Billie

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Llewellyn’s Spell A Day

Ostara Collage
MARCH 20, 2022 BY BARBARA ARDINGER

We’ve had half a year of dark. N ow we’re yearning for the light, for spring to rain on us, for green shoots to rise to our ankles. We’re listening to hear the little chirpy birds and see the bees and butterflies. This is mid-spring, the season when the Goddess comes back to earth. Everything she brings to us is new.

Instead of building an altar to celebrate Ostara, begin a creative project: a springtime collage of light and darkness. Buy a piece of poster board in your favorite springtime color and cut it in a circle. Look in magazines and catalogs or search online for images that suggest light and darkness, like shadowy meadows or sunlit gardens. Add images of solar and lunar gods and goddesses.

Paste your images on the poster board and add glittery stickers and other decoration. You may find you’ve created a collage that looks like the familiar yin-yang symbol, where there is a seed of darkness in the light half and a seed of light in the dark half. Good for you!
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A Magical Spring Cleaning
MARCH 19, 2022 BY SUSAN PESZNECKER

With the spring equinox approaching, it’s a perfect time to cleanse magical items and spaces. If you have a room or sanctum devoted to your Craft, start there. Vacuum or sweep, perhaps with a new broom/ besom. Work sunwise (clockwise), finishing in the center of the room. Wash the windows; dust the walls and wash them with lavender- or mint-scented water. Dust everything, and shine any wood with honeycomb wax or linseed oil.

Next comes the altar space. Wipe or dust the altar as needed and place a clean altar cloth there. Cleanse altar tools and items, using soap and water if needed. Dry with a soft cloth and bless or anoint items with a favorite essential or consecrated oil. Place new candles on the altar, retiring the old ones for spellwork.

In addition to cleansing and blessing your tools, it’s a good time to charge them under sunlight or moonlight. It’s also an excellent time to make or purchase new tools.

When all is done, pause for a ritual of gratitude in your new space.
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Rainbow Positivity Charm
MARCH 18, 2022 BY TESS WHITEHURST

The Virgo full moon arrives early this morning, and it coincides with the popular Indian holiday known as Holi, when festivalgoers celebrate love, laughter, forgiveness, and the arrival of spring by taking to the streets and gleefully coloring other people with colored powder as well as color-filled water balloons. Today, empower seven 6-to-8-inch ribbons in sunlight (or candlelight, if the sun isn’t out, but be careful to hold them a safe distance away from the flame), one for each color of the rainbow. As you empower them, feel that they are absorbing the energies of joy and positivity. Braid them together, and see yourself weaving bright light into them as you braid. Bunch or coil the braid and hold it to your heart with both hands. Feel even more bright light at your heart and send it into the charm. Hang it above your front door for all-around positivity, or place it near a photo of anyone you’d like to bless with positive energy.
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Serpent Wisdom Spell
MARCH 17, 2022 BY LAURA TEMPEST ZAKROFF

The snake is an ancient symbol of wisdom, creation, transformation, magic, and healing. Serpentine tattoos and wearing snake jewelry can help call upon the protection of the serpent spirit, but sometimes you need something more subtle on your body.

Infuse some olive oil (or similar oil) with powder made from dragon’s blood resin in a small bottle just before the moon is full. Set it on your altar and shake it gently in the morning and evening for at least three days. Then dip your finger in the oil and draw a snake on your arm or leg, from wrist to elbow or ankle to knee. Start with a full fingerprint to make the head, then draw the body slithering, with the tail pointing toward the center of your body. Say:

Serpent dwelling within,
protect me without,
Slithering above, below,
and all about.
Watchful eyes, long fluid spine,
and sparkling scales.
Guide and bring me safely
through dangerous trails.

Refresh as needed.
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Revealing Inner Truth
MARCH 16, 2022 BY CHARLYNN WALLS

Today the moon is waxing, and it is a good time to do reflective meditation work. To begin this meditation, find a place that is comfortable and quiet. Light a white candle to represent the inner truth you seek. Take a black mirror or other reflective surface and set it behind the candle to reflect the flame. Sit quietly and meditate on the reflection you see. When you feel ready, bring the meditation to a close. Say:

In the dark there is truth. See it
reflected and revealed to me.

Repeat this phrase three times, then snuff out the candle. What needs to be revealed to you soon will be.
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Planting the Seed of Abundance
MARCH 15, 2022 BY MELISSA TIPTON

Honensai, or Harvest Festival, is a Japanese celebration of fertility and prosperity. So today, reflect on the abundance that is already richly flowing through your life, and contemplate what you’d like to channel this energy into next. A creative project? A budding friendship? Your physical health?

Once you’ve chosen a focus, select a crystal that symbolizes your desire, such as aventurine for new friendship, apatite for creative projects, or clear quartz as a multipurpose crystal ally. Come into a meditative state, holding the crystal, and imagine it as a potent seed, containing the spark of your desired outcome at its core. Visualize this seed germinating and flourishing, putting forth an abundance of divine energy in relation to your goal as you recite:

I call upon (crystal name)
as I plant this seed,
Open to abundance, ready to receive.
My heart’s desire unfolds most true,
With love and gratitude,
in comes the new!

Keep the crystal in your pocket or display it where you can see it often.
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Circle of Friends
MARCH 14, 2022 BY ARI MANKEY

Write your name in the middle of a blank sheet of paper. Around your name, write the names of friends you are trying to strengthen relationships with. We find this spell is especially helpful when you write down the names of people who live a distance away.

After you’ve written down the names of your friends, draw a circle connecting them all together, with spokes from that circle pointing back to you. As you draw the circle and the spokes, say:

May the bonds we have
forged remain strong,
So we might share life’s
happiness, pain, and song.
May we be connected as long
as our friendships last.
This spell of friendship
has now been cast!

Place your piece of paper in a safe place. Retrieve it and redraw the circle and spokes if you feel a friendship slipping away from you.

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Heartwings Love Notes 1025: Making the Spiritual Practical

Heartwings Says, “Spirituality can come down to earth and still keep its wings.”

When I was a small child, I had a book I loved called Saints and Friendly Beasts. It was a collection of stories about holy men and women who interacted with animals in unusual ways, living with them or having them be part of their lives. I found the stories to be entrancing. The idea of being a saint was very appealing to me. I heard other stories about people called saints who practiced their faith in open and endearing ways, and their lives seemed to me to be special and attractive.

I even made my own little church in a corner of my family’s property and collected moss to make a nice place to kneel. I had a brick for an alter and a cross of twigs sat on it. Nearby was a plot of land where I buried animals that had died, praying over them. We lived in a relatively rural area, so there were dead creatures to be found on the property, and baby chicks, too that didn’t survive, as well as occasional pets that had perished whether by accident or old age.

I also had a wonderful book with steel graving illustrations that was filled with Bible parables and stories. These stayed with me and enlivened my imagination. Eventually, of course I got older and became busy with life, and while I didn’t forget about such things entirely, they did recede to the back of my mind. Life kept me busy with children to raise and a community to serve, until along came the “New Age” when spirituality became popular and people began publicizing various spiritual though not necessarily religious practices

My experience is that many people act with spiritual practicality and never realize it. When most people hear the word “spiritual” they think of the word as pertaining to religion. They do not usually think of ordinary everyday life as spiritual, unless the person living it is somehow dedicated to a religious practice or living in a religious manner like a monk or a nun. Yet the rules for living an everyday good life are perfectly spiritual. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” has roots in just about every language and culture.

While this saying is found in the Bible, it’s not part of the ten commandments. It is commonly referred to as the golden rule. Look up those words on Google, and you’ll be as fascinated as was I to read the variety of versions of that principle. It is not a religious practice because it is not necessary to believe in God to practice it. Moreover, it is an intensely practical way to behave. Treating others as nicely or in as kindly a manner as one treats oneself is a very useful way to live because most times it works in your favor. Generally, people will act toward you in the same way, and furthermore, you are setting a good example for others.

May you live your life as a good example for others to learn from.

Blessings and Best Regards, Tasha Halpert

PS I am always so happy to get emails with comments, questions or thoughts on the subject I’m writing about. Please feel free to write me what you want to know more about, and if I can help you, I will. My email is tashahal@aol.com and for more Love Notes please go to http://www.Heartwingsand friends.com

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Lucky Charms Based On Zodiac Signs
By The Alchemist

The quest for luck and good fate has always been in human’s mind. Since the dawn of civilization humans have been searching for a shortcut to abundance, good health and success. Witchcraft was often employed to this cause and so did astrology. However, many knowledge was lost after the dark ages and few things have survived since. Lucky Charms based on Zodiac Signs are probably one of the few things that endured time and fanatics.

Each Zodiac Sign has several correspondences. Different planets who rule them but also different qualities, different elements and more. Hence, each Zodiac Sign need different energies as magic that runs into them is unique!

Aries: Figa Charm
One of the most potent lucky charms you will use is the figa charm. The figa gesture (or mudra) is a thumb wedged in between the pointer and middle finger curled in a fist. Interestingly it’s very popular in Brasil but also in India too. It promotes awareness, banishes negative vibes and invites good luck!

Taurus: Tree of Life
There are many legends and stories surrounding the Tree of Life or Cosmic Tree. It is closely linked with the primordial forces of Earth and that’s exactly what Taurus symbolizes. Through this tree, wisdom abundance and stability comes. Tap into this amazing symbol to enhance these qualities in your life!

Gemini: Witch’s Knot
The Witch’s knot – closesly linked to the Triquetra – is a symbol loved by Witches for centuries. It embodies the balance of different powers – elements, directions etc – into the wearer. As the triquetra symbolizes the union of the three faces of the Great Goddess, the Witch’s knot symbolizes the power of all elements. Gemini’s versatile nature needs this symbol to combine all these qualities within.

Cancer: Crescent Moon
The Crescent Moon is the Lucky symbol of Cancer, a zodiac sign traditionally linked with the Moon. Of all the Lucky Charms, one that has persisted millennia is the Crescent Moon. Bearing this sacred symbol, you invite the power of Artemis and Selene in you and reminds you that everything is a circle. Also, it helps you manifest all your goals!

Leo: Eye of Ra
Thousand years ago, in Ancient Egypt, the Solar God Ra was venerated as the creator and bringer of life and awareness! One of the most ancient symbols and lucky charms are the Eye of Ra, which brings protection, enlightenment and all blessing from God Ra.

Virgo: Hamsa Hand
The Hamsa Hand is an ancient and powerful symbol of Protection for Virgo. Due to your versatile nature, mood swings may bother you because you are very sensitive to energy around you. The Hamsa Hand abolishes these terrible energies and psychic attacks, while inviting all good things in life!

Libra: the Wheel of Fortune
You are always trying to find balance even in the most diverse qualities and situations in life. This is why the Wheel of Fortune helps you attune with your cosmic centre! Usually portrayed as the wheel with 8 rays, the wheel is a global and mystical symbol of growth and good luck. Remember, that the ‘Wheel of Fortune’ in every tarot Deck is actually a wheel!

Scorpio: Scarab
This symbol comes from god Khefra, whose name actually means “to come into existence”. Scarabs are amongst the most powerful lucky charms! Egyptians believed that scarabs come from the dead, from the underworld or that they are consisted from Underworld’s matter. Hence, Scarab is the personification of Light’s victory over darkness.

Sagittarius: Acorn
Acorns are amongst the most potent and ancient lucky charms. Hence, Acorns were used by Druids to ‘open’ the Gates to Wisdom and Otherworlds. Acorns are believed to keep our bodies and spirits strong and protected from physical and magical harm! This is why soldiers used to carry acorns with them, to be protected from Thunders and any kinds of hostile energies. Witches use it for Good Luck, Fertility, Potency, Abundance and Magical Protection.

Capricorn: Red Bat
Red Bats are symbols of Good Luck and spiritual help in Asia. However, Red Bats are either presented solo, or coupled or five at the same time. Red Bats symbolize the 5 core blessings: Good Luck, Abundance, Fertility, Honor, Longevity.

Aquarius: Anchor
Anchor is a symbol of stability and power. It represents our soul’s centre. Aquarius is a sign with versatile qualities – many times looking at many possible directions at the same time. Unique and lonesome, anchor will help you attune with your divine source, hence become your lucky charm, bring your protection and blessings!

Pisces: Lotus
Sacred to Ancient Egypt, Ancient and Modern India, Hinduism, Tao and Buddhism this amazing flower is amongst the favourite symbols of Witches. As Pisces swim in the darkest of oceans some times, the root of Lotus lies in the darkest deeps of muddy swamps. However, the root springs and rises to the surface where it blooms greeting the rays of the sun with a wondrous scent. Hence, Lotus flower, symbolises that even in the darkest hours of our lives, we can pass through misty darkness and rise to the light and success. Furthermore, it gives us stamina to endure all problems until we are free from all the troubles.

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5 Things You Should Never Apologize For—And the One You Should
By Katherine Owen

Sometimes, “sorry!” just slips out. Here’s what to say instead.

In many situations, a concise, heartfelt apology can go a long way. After all, life presents all kinds of situations where a short and sweet “I’m sorry” is a simple fix; you bumped grocery carts at the store or ran a few minutes late (and not because you decided to get coffee on the way!). But sometimes, it’s not so clear. Maybe you should’ve said “thank you” instead, or maybe, you weren’t even in the wrong at all! Now, ditching the apology doesn’t mean throwing out all your manners with it. There are still plenty of other ways to keep things perfectly courteous–if not even more so. A discerning use of “excuse me,” or “I appreciate it” goes a long way. Here’s when to skip the apology, plus the situation in which you simply have to say you’re sorry.

  1. When the phrase you’re actually looking for is “Thank you”
    On paper, the difference between “I’m sorry” and “Thank you” is clear. In application? Not so much. Have you ever apologized to someone for taking up time with a meeting–one which you both willingly agreed to and benefit from? Or for borrowing something from a friend who willingly, gladly offered it? A heartfelt expression of your gratitude is more than enough.
  2. For your house looking like you, you know, live there
    It always seems to be that your house doesn’t seem that dusty until your neighbor pops by unexpectedly. Suddenly you wonder if any house ever has been dustier… You wonder where all the dog toys on the floor came from and gasp–are those dishes? In the kitchen? Where you eat? A good friend knows homes are for living in; as long as it’s tidied by the time Mama visits, you’re all good.
  3. Asking for help.
    Sometimes it’s something simple, like asking the store clerk where they keep the good cheese. But sometimes it means letting family and friends help out during hard times. Either way, asking for help is simply human. But it does have broader benefits: Asking for help can build deeper relationships by demonstrating closeness and trust. It opens the door for the other person to ask for a favor one day. After all, if you’re close enough to ask, you’re close enough to return the favor. And hopefully one day you get to. Just don’t forget to show your gratitude now! Here’s when to send a thank you note.
  4. Taking care of yourself
    Maybe this means coming by the party but heading out early or turning down an invitation all together in the name of rest. There’s no shortage of analogies for this: put on your oxygen mask before helping others, fill up your cup so it can overflow into others’, can’t run on an empty tank. Take whichever speaks to you and use it as permission to recharge when you need it.
  5. Being new at something
    Oh, you weren’t born knowing how the Aldi shopping cart system works? Turns out, no one was. Every single person has been new to something before–if they’re gracious, they’ll remember that. So ask for help, ask your question and then say “thank you.” Next time, you can pass it on.

So what’s the most important thing to apologize for?
Well, technically plenty of things. Being late, forgetting someone’s name, interrupting someone… you get the idea. But the most important of all probably comes as no surprise, as it’s one of the first lessons you learn about making–and keeping–friends as a kid. When you’ve genuinely hurt someone with your words or actions, it’s time to say you’re sorry. No matter your age, it hurts to find out you were left out, talked about, or judged. Sometimes, it’s a complete accident and sometimes, we let bad judgement get the best of us. Either way, it’s best to show someone you care and you regret it so you can both move forward.

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Discovering the Little Things That Make Us Happy

Rediscover the little things in life that make you happy, add a new little thing each day, and be prepared to shine.

Life is full of little wonders that can make us happy. The sound of a baby’s laughter, a good book, the comforting smell of a favorite old sweatshirt, and the warmth from a cup of hot tea are simple pleasures that can easily put smiles on our faces. These “little things” are easily accessible to us and can be sources for happiness. A key to finding them is taking the time to put those rose-colored glasses from childhood back on so you can easily access the joy in all the “little things” life has to offer.

Finding a puppy rummaging through the laundry basket, trying on that perfect shade of lipstick, or discovering the extra change you left in your back pocket can turn into moments of delight. Like kids digging in the sandbox for buried trinkets, we may even begin to experience happiness when we engage in the seemingly mundane. Figuring out a software program can feel like deciphering a treasure map, and that first sip of tea in the morning can taste like a forbidden delicacy. Swaying to music playing on the radio can turn into an interpretive jig, riding a bike can seem like flying to the moon, and getting a phone call from that special someone can feel like winning the lottery. A pickup game of basketball becomes an exciting match among champions, and observing an elderly couple walking hand in hand can turn into a meditation on peace and contentment.

When we begin rediscovering that the little things in life can make us happy, we naturally want to share this joy with others. We may gush over a friend when we run into them unexpectedly, praise a street musician for their talents, or blow bubbles for the neighborhood kids to chase. We may even start to think of the little things we can do to make other people happy, which in turn makes us happy all over again. There is an endless supply of little things and little moments that can make us happy. All we have to do is look for them, and they’ll magically start to appear.

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A 21st Century Wheel of the Year: Resilience at the Spring Equinox
by Dana, The Druid’s Garden

Japanese Knotweed as Guardian of the Waterways (from the Plant Spirit Oracle)

One of the most resilient and enduring plants in the world at present is the Japanese Knotweed. Japanese Knotweed is also the number one maligned plant in the world, as it is able to adapt to a variety of ecosystems and thrive in terrible conditions and will continue to grow despite the best efforts at humans to remove her. Japanese Knotweed can withstand multiple direct applications of weed killer and it can handle a wide variety of growing conditions (high and low soil PH, drought, high heat, extreme negative temperatures, flooding, chemical pollution and more). I would argue that the Japanese knotweed is probably one of the world’s most resilient plants, able to resist almost anything that is thrown at it, and despite interaction and engagement with humans, it can thrive. I think it’s interesting that Japanese Knotweed also is an outstanding source of food and medicine, as well as nectar for bees and insects. But if we look to Japanese Knotweed, we see a powerful plant spirit teacher that can offer us a number of qualities that I believe are important for the 21st century, right now, and certainly, into the future. What Japanese Knotweed and many other so-called “invasive” plants teach us is the lesson of resilience.

Another example of an incredibly resilient species is the raccoon, an intelligent omnivorous mammal native to North America. Anyone who has lived in a region with raccoons gets to know them quickly–they are extremely wily, able to break into all sorts of things (like your shed full of chicken food or your chicken coop itself), they can unlock latches, solve puzzles, and have fine motor control. They are quite strong and can break into all sorts of places. Raccoons are now quite effectively adapting to city life, over cities all over the world; even in a place as inhospitable as a city, the raccoon thrives. A raccoon is a being that embodies resiliency–a creature that is cunning, intelligent, persistent, and resourceful. Japanese Knotweed and Raccoons offer us powerful lessons in resiliency–and by studying them and other resilient beings in nature, we can start to consider how ew might cultivate and strengthen our own resiliency in these difficult times.

Resiliency is the capacity to adapt, to endure, to quickly recover if damaged, and to dig in and deal with a set of adverse conditions. I would argue that it is probably the single most important concept that we can explore as humans living in the world today because we face a rapidly changing world with shifting challenges, a changing climate, and increasingly unstable social institutions that no longer offer stability. Thus, as we consider the Spring Equinox as the other “balance point” in the year, our theme today is cultivating resiliency as a spiritual and physical practice.

A 21st Century Wheel of the Year
In this ongoing series, I am offering an alternative set of themes and practices for the 21st century–considering the traditional neopagan wheel of the year in light of some of what we need in order to transition to a new way of living and being so that we can co-exist peacefully with other life on our beautiful earth.

Previous posts have included receptivity at the Fall Equinox; release at Samhain; restoration at the Winter Solstice, and Reskilling at Imbolc. If we think about this alternative wheel I’m proposing, it is taking us on a powerful journey to strengthen our spirits and improve our physical and emotional skills to move forward. Thus, as we enter the dark half of the year at the Fall Equinox, we start by being open to change and accepting what comes. We release pain, sadness, anger, and other negative emotions surrounding our predicament at Samhain, follow up with restorative and renewal activities at the Winter Solstice, and then at Imbolc, start to move into the action at Imbolc with reskilling. You can see through this wheel how it is a journey–of releasing expectations, dealing with our own emotions and trauma, restoring and healing ourselves, and then moving into activities that help us prepare for what is to come. As we move into the balance point at the Spring Equinox, we tackle one of the most critical themes yet–resiliency.

Features of Resilience
Dandelion from the Plant Spirit Oracle

One of the tragedies of modern civilization is that it has created generations of people who are inflexible, vulnerable, and fragile–humans who have a hard time adapting to change and who are incapable of living without modern conveniences. Our modern way of life has cultivated a deep dependency on the current systems we have in place to feed us, clothe us, provide food for us, and offer us a host of other comforts. The system has been engineered for modern humans to depend fully upon it for their every need. And yet, if the last few years have taught us anything, it’s that the very systems we depend on are more fragile and unpredictable than we thought, and this problem will only grow so as time passes. The solution to this problem is in reskilling and resiliency. It is in finding ways to depend less upon the problematic systems and instead look to nature directly for our needs.

As Wendell Berry notes in The Unsettling of America: Culture and Agriculture, one of the things our civilization has demanded are increasing degrees of specialization–and with the rise of super-specialists, we lose our ability to take care of our basic human needs. He advocates a return to the ways of the generalist, where we cultivate a wide range of skills–and in so doing, develop more powerful methods of being resilient. If you think about it, it makes –throughout human history, nearly all humans had a basic set of skills that allowed them to clothe themselves, feed themselves, provide shelter, find clean water, perform healing, and a host of other basic needs. It is only with the rise of industrialization and the modern era that these have been forgotten. But if we are going to be more resilient, its useful to think about how we can return to some of these ancestral ways.

Resiliency is a combination of having the right mindsets and being able to solve problems (drawing upon skills, knowledge, and resources). It is about having a positive mindset, cultivating a creative and adaptable way of thinking, along with having a toolbox of skills, techniques, and knowledge that you can draw upon as needed. Since we’ve already covered the skills in discussing reskilling and Imbolc, today, I want to focus on cultivating resilient mindsets, which involve a host of factors.

Recovery. Perhaps the defining feature of resilience is the ability to recover after a serious setback, challenge, or trauma. Rather than giving up in defeat or accepting your setback, when you cultivate recovery, you cultivate an ability to find a way forward.
Being adaptable Tied directly to recovery is adaptability, or being able to pivot quickly in the event of adversity or difficulty. Being adaptable allows us to face challenges and changes quickly and effectively.
Accepting Change and accepting what we cannot change. A necessary part of recovery and adaptability is being willing to accept change. It seems like a simple thing, but it is truly a difficult thing to do for humans to do, particularly those in modern cultures.
Seizing Opportunity. Capitalizing on opportunity is another key feature of resilience. be like the dandelion that grows out o the crack in the sidewalk–see where changes have created new opportunities, and anticipate those.
Applying Creativity. A lot of resiliency is about creative problem-solving. How can you do something in a new way? How can you meet a need when what you used to use to meet it is no longer available?
Just as the Japanese Knotweed and raccoon can offer us powerful lessons of resilience, we can begin cultivating resilience in our own lives by observing the lessons of nature. Even in a stable climate, all of nature requires resourcefulness to survive, thrive, and adapt. When you spend time in the natural world, you are reminded of these powerful lessons.

I actually went into great detail about physical and mental resiliency in my post last year, so I’m going to direct you there for more on physical residency. For the rest of today’s post, I’ll focus on a specific ritual and spiritual journey you can do at the Spring Equinox that can help you cultivate a more resilient mindset.

A Spring Equinox Resilience Ritual and Journey
Of course, mindsets determine actions. If we can cultivate resiliency within, then when times get tough on a physical level, we are drawing upon that well of inner resiliency. What I describe is a practice that I’ve been doing for a number of years that helps me learn deep lessons from nature from my local ecosystem. You can start this journey at the Spring Equinox, but it does have the option to lead you to deeper work throughout the year.

Step 1: Seeking a Resilient Plant or Animal Teacher

One of my teachers literally tried to come in the house! One of my teachers literally tried to come in the house!

The first step of the journey is going out into the world and deeply observing and interacting. Your goal is to find a plant, animal, or even insect that offers resiliency. This animal or plant should be something that you can directly observe or see the effects of that animal (e.g. if you are looking for a raccoon, you might not be able to see them directly but can see their tracks and/or put up a trail cam to learn more about their activities). Plants are obviously a little easier, you may just find them growing and can observe. I’ve given two examples at the start of this post of those I’ve worked with: the Japanese Knotweed and the Raccoon.

Thus, start by going out and setting your intentions for this work. Go outside to a quiet place, and speak directly to the world around you. Ask, in your own words, for nature to send you a messenger or teacher that will teach you about resiliency. Then observe, interact, see what you find and who comes to you. Use your intuition here–see where you are led and drawn. Accept whoever comes to you (it is so much better for this work if we set aside preconceived notions or expectations).

This kind of approach can be done anywhere: urban, rural, wild places, etc. It is as effective in an urban environment as in a wild one–for example, I once did this while I was in New York City, and I spent three lovely days observing and learning from the city’s pigeon population–they were amazing to see how adaptable and cunning they were.

Step 2: Outer Observations

Once you’ve found a resilient natural teacher who you are drawn to, spend time observing and interacting with your animal or plant teacher. Learn what you can about them. Observe them in the world in whatever ways you can. Consider how they offer lessons in resilience.

For example, if you decide to focus on dandelion (a perfect choice this time of year), you might spend time seeking out dandelions in your town, looking at how and where they grow. You might draw upon what you already know about the dandelion.

Step 3: Spirit Journey for Deep Teachings

Any physical connexion is going to help you open up a spiritual connection. In the druid tradition, many of us work with the idea of an “inner grove” or a space that we have on the astral that is safe and that we visit often (different traditions teach this differently, but it seems to be a common feature)*. This journey uses the inner grove as a starting point for a journey with your chosen plant or animal teacher. If you are new to spirit journeying, you might check out this post.

Begin by opening up a sacred space (I use AODA’s solitary grove opening). Once your sacred grove is open, you will want to put yourself into a quiet, focused place. For this, I suggest getting into a comfortable position and doing some of the four-fold breath: breathe in for four counts; gently hold for four counts; breathe out for counts; gently hold for four counts, and repeat. After a few minutes of this, you should have quieted your mind and prepared yourself for the journey.

Now, speak your intentions about the journey in your own words. For example, “Dandelion, I seek your continued teachings to help me cultivate resilience in my life. Will you come and offer me your spirit teachings?”

Now, enter your inner sacred grove. If this is a new activity for you, most people first envision themselves on a path into the forest. Work to build your inner senses, noting the colors, shapes, smell, sounds, as you walk. As you enter your grove, your animal or plant teacher will be there to guide you on a journey.

Once your journey is finished, offer gratitude and respect to your plant or animal teacher.

Step 4: Gratitude and Offerings

At the end of this process, I strongly suggest making some kind of meaningful offering to the plant or animal teacher on the physical world. Leave food offerings out for the raccoon, help spread the seeds of the dandelion, create positive artwork about the Japanese Knotweed, or whatever other gifts of your time and energy you can.

You might find that this plant or animal will continue to be a teacher for you, offering lessons. Or it may be that you will need to seek them out again. Whatever your longer-term relationship is, know that you can always continue to meet with them physically and metaphysically to learn more and grow.

Conclusion
The above is a great way to start thinking about resilience as a spiritual practice and how we can begin to cultivate and integrate a mindset of resilience. I think that when we can do the work of spirit, then it becomes easier to manifest that into our physical existence. I’m also grateful of the many lessons of Japanese Knotweed, Dandelion, and Raccoon–what they have taught me has helped me to learn to be adaptable, resilient, and strong in the face of so much.

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Spring Clean Your Diet In 3 Easy Steps!
Andrew Weil, M.D.

This time of year, many of us make an effort to clean out the closets, clear
out the garage, and give the house a good dusting. Why not apply that same vigor
to “cleaning up” your diet? Try these simple suggestions to help optimize
the way you eat:

Limit your saturated fats. Avoid margarine, vegetable shortening, and foods
that contain palm or coconut oil. Instead, use heart-healthy extra-virgin
olive oil. Also try mashing a ripe avocado as a mayonnaise replacement in chicken or tuna salads.

Eat whole grains instead of refined grains. You will feel fuller, in part
because of the higher fiber content whole grains provide. Find the whole grain products by choosing options with the highest grams of fiber on the nutrition facts label combined with the lowest total sugars.

Load up on fresh fruits and vegetables. Make a colorful salad – red and
yellow peppers, dark leafy greens, ripe tomatoes – part of one meal every
day. And add a fresh fruit salad as a delicious and healthful alternative
to high-fat desserts.

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Ghost Hunting Theories
Unusual Things I’ve Come Across in Cemeteries

Having both a love for the serene and artistic memorials that are cemeteries, and also being an investigator of historic ghosts, I have gone to a LOT of cemeteries after dark.

And, I’ve run into some pretty weird and unexpected things.

The Illicit –

I caught a husband and wife one time with a florist car filling it up with flowers they retrieved from graves.

I saw a man solicit a prostitute, drive her out to the edges of the cemetery, and 10 minutes later deposited her back on the road.

I always bring a trash bag because sure enough people can be disrespectful in private outdoor places. I’ve had to pick up syringes, condoms, and even bracelets from a local mental hospital.

People often leave interesting things on graves.

One time I found a deck of cards scattered, a bottle half full of whiskey, a cigar, and a picture of a pin-up girl.

At one grave, a family left cake and champagne and half-deflated balloons for an 18th birthday. A raccoon was eating the slice of cake and then knocked over the champagne and began lapping it up.

Out west, you find a lot of men in the 1800s who died before the wife. The wife’s headstone was next to his with no death date. But, 80 years had passed, so obviously she remarried. Oops.

Upon occasion, you run into hilarious names on headstones.

Overheard at a cemetery where a family was picnicking on their family member’s graveside.

Child: “Mom, what kind of sandwiches did you bring?”

Mom: “Underwood deviled ham.”

Child: (glances at the headstone). “Do you think that’s appropriate?” (glances into the basket) “Oh my God, mom! Devil’s food cupcakes?”

The spooky and dangerous –

One time I went to a cemetery to get a photo of an historic headstone for a friend writing an article. I went at twilight for lots of atmosphere. When I got there, I took the picture and started back to my car when a truck cruised through the cemetery and pulled up on the row near my car. Two men got out, music blaring, opening beers, and sitting on the hood and laughing and partying. It was now dark and I had to get to the car without them seeing me do it or they could block my path. I sneaked around the cemetery, headstone to headstone when I saw another small black figure dart behind a headstone. A shadow person! I listened and waited, hoping they would just leave. Finally, I held my key out with the unlock button ready to be hit, ran for it and got in, started the car and left. And, they got into their truck and left behind me. Sitting at the stoplight, I was nervous they were going to follow me. Thankfully, they went the other way. Phew!

One particular cemetery, every time I went and took photos of this one family gravesite (19 members), I got strange things on the photos. I brought others there with different cameras and they got it too. I looked up the history to find out that the site was a convergence of ancient canals built by a tribe that went missing long ago. And the family site? The family that built the modern-day canals. Hmmmm

At a Catholic cemetery where priests and nuns were buried, I waited while a friend went to the car for new batteries. The place was absolutely silent and empty. I heard a man’s murmuring voice speaking in Latin. I peered around the decorative wall and no one was there. At the same cemetery, my son and his friend as teens went in there to photograph in the dark, but they ran into a shadow person that hid behind the altar. They found out the altar was attached to the concrete wall. It peered out at them and they ran through the cemetery, this thing darting from headstone to headstone. Given that my son had zero belief in ghosts, it did leave him baffled and curious about the subject.

One time, I took my son to a cemetery where his grandmother was buried. I never knew her as she was his dad’s mom who died when he was young. It was getting dark and I couldn’t find her grave. The attendants told us it was time to leave, so my son asked for a picture near this statue. He could have chosen any of a zillion cool ones, but he chose this one. I was posing and I was thinking, “c’mon Betty, show me your grave. I brought your grandson here.” I took the picture and we left.

I got home and asked my father-in-law where his wife was buried. He told me the direction and it was maybe 100 feet over my son’s left shoulder.

I got the 35mm pics back from the drugstore and there on that pic was this white loop (above) that looks like a streak from over his left shoulder toward me as I was concentrating on her. BTW, no camera strap. I always remove them upon buying a camera so it’s never an issue.

People often run into Bigfoot and shadow people in cemeteries. Why do you suppose that is? My thought is that this location at nighttime doesn’t have human visitors and is usually a pathway through the woods. If you’re going to cross in the open at nighttime, it’s a good location. So far as shadow people are concerned, they often show up in parks and such. They don’t want to be seen, so likely if they want some time on our plane, they would visit such places. I have my own theory on shadow people.

Always be respectful. Most cemeteries close after dark but they are gorgeous to photograph as the sun is low in the sky and casting long shadows or coloring. Bring a trash bag and be a good citizen to upkeep these memorials and remove trash left behind.

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Lashing Out

Dealing with feelings honestly, as they arise, will avoid a build-up and control a lashing out down the road.

Intense emotions demand intense modes of expression. While there are many outlets for the feelings typically deemed positive, however, there are far fewer methods for constructively coping with anger, frustration, fear, sadness, or stress. Consequently, such feelings can cause us to believe that we are no longer in control of our emotional state. Backed into a mental corner, we may lash out at the first individual we encounter. Most of us will quickly discover that our misdirected outpouring of fury has not relieved the pressure of our pain. Powerful emotions are like the lava in a volcano poised to erupt — held in check with nothing but an eroding layer of calm. Within us lies the power to direct the flood of feeling that surges forth by channeling it into productive, artistic, or laborious pursuits.

Retaking control of our emotions at their height can be difficult because our already negative feelings can convince us that others are deserving of our wrath. But if we consciously look for healthier ways of expressing what we feel, we can both safely dispel our pain and use the energy of that pain to add value to our lives. Anger and sadness, for example, can become the inspiration that induces us to dedicate ourselves to bringing about the change we wish to see in the world. If we act rather than react, we can become effective agents of positive transformation. When we channel our frustration or feelings of stress into outside-the-box thinking and proactive exploits, we are more apt to discover solutions to the issues that initially left us stymied. And if we view fear as a signal that we need to reexamine our circumstances rather than a cue to flee, we may gain new and unexpected insight into our lives.

Channeling your emotions into constructive action can also prevent you from engaging in cyclical rumination in which you repeatedly relive the situation, event, or expectation that originally sparked your feelings in your mind’s eye. Since you are focused on a goal, even if your ambition is merely to better understand yourself, your pain is no longer being fed by your intellectual and emotional energy and quickly ebbs away. You not only avoid lashing out at others, but you also actively take part in your own healing process while honestly acknowledging and honoring your feelings.

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Ghost Hunting Theories
Russian Unexplained Mysteries

Mentally deranged leaders aside, Russia has some interesting mysteries that politics can’t exsanguinate.

Here’s some bizarre mysteries of this ancient land –

Akraim – Ural Mountains
There is no doubt in my mind that the most ancient of civilizations occurred in Russia/Siberia/Mongolia region. And, from looking at just some of the finds in Russia, it is quite remarkable and hard to ignore that perhaps as much as millions of years ago, there were civilizations way ahead of ours. The traces over the millions of years are harder to come across, but when we do, wow! From unsolved mysterious events to odd formation, megaliths and amazing technology before its time, Russia has a LOT to offer the ancient knowledge geeks.

Akraim: There are perhaps 5000 stone circles around the world. One has to wonder about prehistoric man traveling the world to build stone monuments and yet they are obviously shared knowledge. How was this possible? My proposal is the ancient ones – the giants- the “Originators” as I like to call them.

When we ask, “how could ancient man do this?” we need to answer that with a definitive, “because homo sapiens did not have this technology, it was not ours.”

“Akraim” find (above) is in the Southern Urals of Russia. It was built 4000 to 5000 years, around the same time as Stonehenge.

Source: It may seem obvious to some, but the fact that these sites were apparently constructed, deliberately, to act as astronomical observatories and even calendars of a sort, before the same expertise was achieved in the great foundational empires of antiquity, like the Egyptians and the Greeks, is seemingly strong evidence for attributing greater development and sophistication to these pre-historic cultures.

Manpupunar: 7 enormous pillars of supposed natural formation in the Ural Mountains.

The 7 pillars of Manpupunor in the same region – Ural Mountains, are considered one of the 7 wonders of Russia.

The Manpupunor pillars are believed to be a natural formation of nature like these other ones in Russia – above.They are said to be formed by ice and wind.

Dyatlov Pass: In 1959, hikers took off together in the Ural Mountains and went missing. When their bodies were found after a search, they were found in odd ways, such as having their bones broken with no external injuries, tongue missing, and bare naked. The mystery has been looked at over and over with different theories.

Dashka Stone:
A stone slab measuring 1.5 meters by one meter and over 20 cm in thickness was brought to scientists at Bashkir state university, headed by the rector, Professor, Doctor of Physical and Mathematical Sciences Alexander Nikolayevich Chuvyrov.

They obtained in 1999 a three-layer plate, which, according to Chuvyrov, was made by artificial means.
The first layer of 18 centimeters is cement or ceramic on the basis of dolomite.

The second layer of about an inch – enriched with silicon, to give a picture strength. Microhardness of slightly less than that of corundum.

Third porcelain layer several millimeters. Perhaps, in order to create diffused light, to illuminate the card.

It is noted that at the plate allegedly plotted map showing the location of Ufa elevated to the modern city Meleuz. This image is a relief, according to modern concepts, you can get it from cosmic heights. It is alleged that on the map Dashka stone marked waterworks system and channel length of 15,000 kilometers, dams, 12 dams up to a mile wide and powerful water intakes. Rhomboid are designated areas – they were far from the channels. According Chuvyrova – so runways. According Chuvyrova: those who then lived and built, either flew or used the water route, since no roads are on the map.

The map also has numerous inscriptions. It is believed that this hieroglyphic-syllabic language of unknown origin.

What the inscriptions say is currently unclear.Some researchers claim that the stone is not artificial, but a purely natural origin, and the system of cracks has nothing to do with the scheme of the rivers of Bashkortostan. A layer of one mineral over another is not something surprising. There are stones, for example, with a layer of quartz on top. There are also “Moonstone” and “solar stone” with the same system of cracks. The constancy of angles proves just natural, pure crystallographic effect.

Alexander Chuvyrov calls the age of plate about 50 million years old, but this dating is based on conventional geologic column. He thought that the plate may be ofextraterrestrial origin.

At present, extensive research is conducted on the Dashka stone at the Bashkirskiy State University and Moscow State University.

Tiny Spirals: In the Eastern Urals near a river called Narada, they found 20,000-year-old tiny spirals made of copper, tungsten, and molybdenum. They are very tiny, about 1.2 inches to 1/10,000th of an inch. They are estimated to be between 20,000 years and 318,000 years old.

Gear dating 300,000,000 years? In Southern Siberia in the Khakasis region, a truly shocking find was made. In a coal mine, a gear shift was found inside some coal, suggesting the gear is as old as the coal that formed. It was found to be made of 98% aluminum and 2% magnesium, implicating that the object was artificially made.

Tunguska: In the Siberia region in 1908, an explosion that was felt 40 miles out from ground zero. In the end, it was estimated 800 square miles of forest were obliterate by what is believed to be a space rock detonating in the sky above the forest, therefore no impact crater was found.

Almas (singular)/Almases/Almasty (plural): The Russian version of the Sasquatch is reported most often in the southern portion of Mongolia. They are not reported as tall as our Sasquatch, measuring in around five and six and a half feet tall. They are reported by witnesses a being covered in reddish brown hair and living in a feral state in the forests. Their reported pronounced brow ridges have been compared with Neanderthals.

Angry ancient figurine: A fisherman hauled in this 12-inch tall figurine dating 4000 years old. It was fossilized and believed to have been a figure of a pagan god found in a region known for ancient finds.

Giant stone megalith: It is believed this site might date back more than a hundred thousand years ago! Scientists are playing it safe by saying it could be an ancient structure by some civilization with advanced knowledge or it was done by nature. Duh! Researchers did come to believe it might be an ancient powerhouse because of the way it was constructed, vertical plates of the capacitor blocked by horizontal blocks.

Genrikh Ludvig: In the 1930s, this Russian inventor and designer of military technology, was perhaps the most enlightened man of his entire generation, perhaps even ours. He spoke 20 languages fluently, including ancient ones. He told his students of the Vatican’s knowledge of extraterrestrials, told of an ancient fiery pillar that killed off the ancient civilization, that the pyramids were energy machines, and was fascinated with the Sumerians and the Etruscan civilization. He died in 1973, and hopefully many of his notes will be reviewed and released.

Siberian Ice Maiden “Altay Princess”: From 5th century BC, this mummified lady was found in a subterranean burial chamber. This tomb was on the border of China. She was buried with food and with her horses, facing east. Her skin still showed tattoos of deer shapes. She was buried in a beautiful gown and leggings and a 3-foot tall headdress, a fur, a mirror, and deer figurines. Interestingly, DNA testing proved her to not be of Asian descent as the Altai’s in the area. For now, they are just calling her Samoyed, of Russian indigenous descent, but still no one has said if her DNA matches that potential lineage.

Devil’s Cemetery: The area where Tunguska (the infamous ground zero of a meteor event 100+ years ago), has a meadow where nothing grows called “The Devil’s Cemetery.”

(LINK) There is a meadow called “Devil’s Cemetery” not far from the village of Kova in the Krasnoyarsk region of Russia. The meadow is covered with remnants of birds and animals that for some reason do not decompose. Vegetation on the meadow is rather scarce, tree branches are charred, animals do not live here, and people who happen to come to the meadow develop headaches and unexplainable anxiety. They say that ruinous energy of the place has something to do with the fall of the Tunguska meteorite.

“My compass’s hand froze and pointed at the North only. By the evening people developed tingling sensation in their bodies, some developed toothache. Everybody noticed growing anxiety. Shortly after 9PM we approached the meadow. Ourradio froze, and we turned back.”

Conclusion

I hope I’ve given your curious minds just enough taste of Russia’s truly amazing ancient origins. We spend a great deal of focus on the pyramids, but if you look at ancient man, i.e. Neanderthal and Denisovans, we find that man was well and truly settled in this region long before we arrived to the continent. This may be the cradle of Europe’s civilization.

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Coach Gilberto Chapter 3
by Stephen Halpert

The door to Jane and Alvin Scheckel’s condo opened and the couple greeted Maria and Gilberto like long lost friends. “Come in, come in,” they said leading them into what Gilberto thought was a cramped living room with too low a ceiling. The walls were lined with bookshelves and historic prints, ranging from Lewis and Clarke’s journey to the landing on the moon.
“Let me fix you a drink. What’ll it be?” Alvin said.
Alvin, a tall slender man with a genial smile was head of the history department at Houndstooth. Jane, a pleasantly plump, cheerful woman was the school nurse. Together they had been at Houndstooth for the last twenty years.
“Beer, if you, have it?”
Alvin grinned and flipped the cap from a frosty bottle.. “Didn’t Headmaster say you were somewhat of a soccer celebrity?”
Gilberto smiled. “That was so long ago,” he said modestly.
“How about you, little lady? He said with another grin in Maria’s direction.
“A wine spritzer if you please.”
Jane looked Gilberto up and down. She turned to Maria. “He looks like Superman in a Hawaiian shirt.”
Maria grinned. “Yes, in some ways he’s faster than a speeding bullet.” She patted Gilberto’s tummy. “
Jane nodded. “Aren’t most men such little boys,”
Alvin frowned. “At least we’re sensible enough not to go blathering about ghosts.”
Gilberto frowned and raised his eyebrows. “I did hear something about a Houndstooth Ghost, but I haven’t heard any of the details.”
Jane pursed her lips and nodded. “Headmaster Long would prefer that subject was excluded from civilized conversation.”
“Poppycock, is what I call it,” Alvin said giving Jane a look that could curdle milk.
Maria smiled. “I find the subject of ghosts fascinating.”
Jane nodded. “We’ll have to do lunch, one day soon.”
“Ghosts have always,” Gilberto started to say, when Alvin came in with a short, stocky young woman.
“This is Rosemary Green,” Jane said.
“I’ve been the coach for most of the teams.” She extended her hand and Gilberto shook it. “I guess now I’ll be reporting to you when you’re not on the road recruiting students.”
He hadn’t thought about that. “I am?”
She smiled. “Headmaster wants a winning soccer team, so I guess you’ll have to scout around to bring in players.”
“More to soccer than just running and kicking a ball,” a thin, leggy woman smiled at Gilberto. Did she lick her lips or was he imagining things?
“And this is Karen Muskie,” Alvin said, introducing the tall red head, who hugged him in response.
“I hope we’ll all be playing at Camp Wigwam once the warmer weather arrives,” she said, eyeing Gilberto.
Karen smiled at Maria. “I don’t suppose you rent him out.”
Maria grinned. “Only for arctic expeditions. Gilberto loves the icy cold.”
As Gilberto sipped his beer and observed the gathering, several other guests, all houndstooth faculty came in and were served or helped themselves from the array of bottles on a shelf by one of the bookcases.
Someone rang a bell. The guests gathered at a round table set up as a buffet with platters and covered dishes.
Maria looked at him over the rim of her sparkling wine cooler and giggled. “I’m so glad to be going home with you instead of any of those others,” she whispered.
Gilberto smiled. “You’re talking about Houndstooth faculty members.”
Maria nodded. “I’m glad I wore this plain dress. I fit right in.”
“Sedate and polite. You can leave it home when we go for our next getaway.”
She smiled. “That’s all you think about. The two of us entrapped on a gigantic bed.”
He grinned. “Maria, what else is there?”
“I guess when you look at it that way. That doesn’t say much about staying in the present moment.”
He sighed. “That is the only moment I like thinking about. Seeing you going wild. Is that so bad?”
“Depends on who you ask. Some women might think it’s obnoxiously patriarchal, your wife a prisoner enslaved by your passions. Others definitely in the minority might want to know a whole lot more.”
They walked out onto the patio and looked out at the lights of Brookline.
“What makes you think I don’t mind,” she grinned? “But some fantasies are best kept quiet.”
“I wonder if Alvin and his wife have their own fantasies.”
Maria chuckled. “His wife’s the school nurse. I think her teeth glow in the dark. Did she say anything?”
He smiled. “Apparently the in crowd go to Camp Wigwam in New Hampshire. It’s horribly pricy but guests get to laze about au natural.”
“We can do that at home,” Maria said with a laugh.
“I tried telling her that but she insisted that mingling with friends in that state is the essence of being natural.”
“Are any of the others part of this?”
She laughed again, “I get the impression we’re the only ones who aren’t.”
“Think we’ll get invited back? Or is it our turn next time?” She took his hand and tugged him closer. “They’re all wanting to check us out fearing that we may not be up to their class standards.”
He shook his head. “They might all be jealous of our condo. My guess is they all live in shoeboxes, while we’ve got ourselves a mini mansion by comparison.” Gilberto put his arm around Maria and gave her a long kiss. She hugged him and sighed. “Best we go in and sample the buffet.”
The remainder of the evening was passed in polite conversation on topics of general interest, from biweekly grading periods to the options for summer student travel.
Joey and Mona were still up when they got home. They were sitting in the living room watching a horror film. Boris was sprawled beside Mona; she looked up as they came in. “Daddy, will you come with me when I take Boris for his last walk.”
Gilberto frowned. “He needs to go? “
“Oh Daddy, Boris always needs to go. That’s just the way he is.”
Gilberto reached into his wallet, extracted a five dollar bill and handed it to Joey. “Please,” he said. ” Take Boris and Mona out for some air. I’m exhausted.”
(to be continued)

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Kitty Kat’s Korner
=^..^=

How To Read Your Cat’s Body Language
By Jackie Brown

Cats are mysterious creatures. So it’s not always easy to know if your cat is feeling comfortable or nervous, but understanding the nuances of feline body language gives you an edge.

“Cats have very sophisticated body language,” says Dr. Alison Gerken, a clinical behavioral medicine resident at Florida Veterinary Behavior Service in West Palm Beach. “They communicate their emotions by positioning their ears, tails, whiskers and bodies, by changing their facial expressions and by moving their tails. Because these changes are subtle, they often go unnoticed by us.”

Dr. Gerken says a common misinterpretation of cat body language is the assumption that a cat is being “mean, evil or vindictive” when the cat is actually afraid. “By the time cats are growling, hissing, lunging, swatting or biting, they are so scared that they are panicking,” she says.

If you miss a cat’s early signals, it’s easy to assume the cat suddenly flipped a switch and became aggressive, but there is usually a long ramping up to such behaviors. The key is to learn to read these signs.

The Early Signs
Cats display signals when they first begin feeling afraid. Though fearful body language is subtle, it’s not too hard to discern when your cat is worried.

“Licking of the lips (when not associated with eating) may indicate some level of nervousness, as is tucking the tail under the body,” says Dr. Terri A. Derr, founder of Veterinary Behavior Options of Minnesota’s Twin Cities metro area. “Staring intently at something may indicate a cat is worried about it.

Feline Body Language Tips
Our behaviorists break down some common signs of fear in cats.

Most people are familiar with the “Halloween cat” pose, the cat standing tall with an arched back, lowered head and hair standing up straight away from the body (piloerect).

“Cats assume this posture when their sympathetic nervous system — the ‘fight, flight or flee’ response — is activated when they feel threatened or startled,” Dr. Gerken says. “This posture may allow them to appear bigger to the perceived threat. This is a signal that the cat does not wish to interact.”

Ears
A relaxed cat’s ears face forward in a neutral position. If a cat flattens her ears against her head, heed the warning. “You better run,” Dr. Derr half jokes. “At the very least, do NOT reach toward this cat. A cat with completely flattened ears is fighting for its life.”

Eyes
Your cat’s eye shape can change depending on how she’s feeling, providing some clues about her emotional state. A relaxed cat will have a soft gaze with open eyes. A nervous cat may squint or narrow her eyes, and the pupils may be dilated. Squinting and dilated pupils can also indicate a medical problem, so have your cat checked out if those signs continue.

Tail
Your cat’s tail position and movement can tell you a lot about how she’s feeling. “Cats may thrash their tails or thump their tails on the ground when they are angry, irritated or annoyed,” Dr. Gerken says. “This is a request to stop the interaction. Cats may wrap their tails tightly around their bodies when they are defensive, frightened, painful or sick.”

If you notice your cat sitting or lying with her tail curled tightly around her body, but you can’t see any reason why she might be feeling nervous or upset, she could be sick. Make an appointment with your veterinarian if the behavior persists.

Conversely, some cats might look away from something that’s making them nervous. Scared cats may also twitch their tails or pull their whiskers back flat against their faces. “Cats may also flop to their sides and expose their bellies,” Dr. Gerken says. “Many people assume this is an invitation for a belly rub and then are surprised when the cat strikes or bites them. This body posture is a sign that cats are fearful.”

According to Dr. Derr, cats prefer to remove themselves from a scary situation. “That’s why many cats disappear when visitors first arrive,” she says.

If your cat attempts to move away to a quiet, safe place, let her go. Don’t force her to stay and interact with new people if she’s feeling nervous, as this will almost always backfire. Respect your cat’s desire to retreat and let her come out again to investigate on her own terms.

If a cat can’t remove herself from the thing she’s afraid off, she may go from nervous and anxious to downright panicked. At this point, the cat’s body language is often loud and clear.

“A terrified cat becomes defensive; she tries to make herself smaller,” Dr. Derr says. “She crouches, wraps her tail under her or around her body and pins her ears back. The further back her ears go, the more frightened she is.”

Very scared cats may lean to one side and lash out with their claws or vocalize with a hiss or yowl, which means “Go away!”

When Your Cat is Afraid
If your cat begins displaying fearful body language, assess her environment for possible stressors and remove them or allow your cat to retreat from them. For instance, if your cat is upset when visitors or workers come to the house, let her hang out in a quiet room until they are gone.

“If you are unable to remove the stressors, it’s OK to comfort your cat,” Dr. Gerken says. “This may be petting, play or a grooming session. If your cat demonstrates fearful body language when you’re interacting, this is an indication to stop the interaction and give your cat some space.”

According to Dr. Derr, sometimes the best thing you can do to help your nervous or fearful cat is nothing. “Leave them alone, be sure they have a place to go where they feel safe, usually someplace up high where they can observe their environment easily,” she says. “They don’t want to be comforted; they want to be safe. They’ll calm down on their own and then resume normal, loving interactions.”

Need a Guide to Read Kitty’s Body Language?
The Secret Language of Cats: How to Understand Your Cat for a Better, Happier Relationship (2018); published by Hanover Square Press. $12.47 / paperback.

Cat Body Language: 100 Ways to Read Their Signals (2017); published by Collins & Brown. $8.95 / paperback.

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Georgia Nicols Weekly Horoscopes Beginning Sunday, March 20, 2022
All Signs

Oh, happy spring! Today is the Spring Equinox, when the Sun enters Aries, the first sign of the zodiac. On this lovely day, Mercury is also lined up with Jupiter, which portends positive things for the month ahead. (We like.) Having said that, there will be some tense moments this week, especially Tuesday. (“Where are my kid gloves?”) But this will mellow out by Friday when a dynamic, energy encourages us to shake off negative emotions and enjoy spontaneous fun. By Saturday, confidence and clarity is restored along with bonds of friendship and trust. Oh yes — trust everyone and always lock your door.

Aries (March 21-April 19)
It’s that time again when the Sun is in your sign for four weeks, which is your best chance to rejuvenate yourself and recharge your batteries for the rest of the year. Naturally, your focus of attention will be more personal and on yourself, and that’s exactly as it should be. You will project yourself with more forcefulness than usual, which is why this is a great time to make a strong impression on others. Because you are personally empowered, it’s best to work alone or run the show. (You’ll be less of a team player in the next few weeks.) Expect some challenges dealing with friends or groups, perhaps about money or possessions. Someone might try to thwart your goals. (Big mistake!)

Taurus (April 20-May 20)
Right now your personal year is ending because your birthday is a month away. Therefore, the next four weeks are the perfect time to keep a low profile and give serious thought to what you want for yourself in the year ahead. (Birthday to birthday.) Goals are important right now because this is a time of harvest in your life. Many cherished dreams are coming true. In addition, now you can now see clearly what is working in your life and what is not. In fact, your strong ambition might be thwarted by someone this week. If so, look for ways to match your goals with their goals, or vice versa, so that you have a win/win situation. Many hands make light work.

Gemini (May 21-June 20)
You’re heading into a lovely four-week window that will increase your popularity and heighten your interest in groups, clubs and organizations. Perhaps a friendship will assume a greater importance for you? According to the Mayo Clinic, friendships enrich your life and improve your health. However, better to be alone than in bad company! This is because your friends will influence your mind and your thinking; and it’s your mind that makes the decisions that determine your future. In this way, your friends can actually affect your entire life! Therefore, hang out with quality people. Make friends with people who want the best for you – people who have your back.

Cancer (June 21-July 22)
For the next four weeks, the Sun will travel across the top of your chart. (This is the only time all year this happens.) This is wonderful news because it symbolizes that you are in the spotlight, and that others admire you. This will happen even if you don’t do anything different or special. It’s like magic. (Chalk it up to smoke and mirrors.) Nevertheless, this influence is a reality, which means you can use it to your advantage. Obviously, now is the time to go after what you want and make your pitch. Do whatever you can to get the approval or permission from people in power to further your agenda. Make hay while the Sun shines!

Leo (July 23-Aug. 22)
In the next four weeks, do what you can to broaden your horizons. Take up a new study. Explore new and unfamiliar experiences. Meet people from different backgrounds. Grab every chance to travel or change your surroundings so that you feel invigorated by something new and fresh. Even the most trivial encounter might be stimulating. Basically, the theme for this month ahead is that you want to break free from your usual routine and go somewhere where you can learn something new. For some of you, you might be more involved with the law or legal matters. Others will be excited to explore metaphysical, philosophical and new belief systems that are either modern or ancient.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22)
Count on feeling more intense and passionate about every aspect of your life in the next four weeks. You might even notice strange compulsions surfacing. (“I want to open doorknobs. I don’t know why?”) During this same window of time, you might meet someone who causes you to do some serious soul-searching, which could force changes in your life. They might even challenge your values or make you rethink what you thought was important. You will also have a greater concern for finances, resources and property that is jointly held. Perhaps you are trying to borrow money or get financial backing? Struggles and interruptions at work, or possibly related to a pet, or even your health might arise this week. Stay chill. Jupiter will bring you divine protection.

Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22)
For the next four weeks, the Sun will be opposite your sign. In your chart, this means the Sun will be as far away from you as it can get all year. Because the Sun is your source of energy, this means that you will feel more tired than usual. Ergo, get more sleep. This polarized position of the Sun will also increase your focus on close friends and partners. The good news is it will give you more objectivity as you view these relationships, which means you will have a better chance to see how to improve the relationship. Meanwhile, parents should be aware that this is an accident-prone week for their kids. Sports accidents might occur. Social plans, including vacations might be cancelled or suddenly changed. Oops.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21)
In the next four weeks, you will be more competent, more energetic and driven to be more organized. This is timely because this week, there will be interruptions to your home or family scene, and fortunately, (voila!) you will have the energy and focus to cope with whatever happens. Basically, in this window of time, you will strive to make every action count. You will refine your techniques and sharpen your approach to be efficient, effective and productive. (Oh, you’re on a tear!) Increased activity on the home front or within your family will create some speed bumps this week. You will also be into redecorating and making things look nicer at home. You might focus on your health more than usual including your interaction with a pet. “Wanna treat?”

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 21)
Oh joy! The next four weeks will bring you happy times because the Sun will be travelling through one of the most fun parts of your chart. (Yay me!) You will want to get out and have a good time. You’ll feel lighter, happier and eager to explore amusing diversions. This is a great window to enjoy a vacation, as well as fun outings. You might be more involved than usual with children. Certainly, your attitude toward your relationships will be lighter and for some, new romance will begin. Nevertheless, conflict with siblings or neighbours might occur this week, especially Tuesday. Best to zip thy lip.

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 19)
Your attention will shift to home, family and your private life in the next four weeks. Some of you will be more involved than usual with a parent. Grab every opportunity to go off by yourself and spend some time in contemplation. Maybe memories of your past, as well as thinking about personal self-evaluation will occur. You’re keen to work hard to earn money, and you’re spending it on beautiful things as well. In fact, this week, especially Tuesday, you might have financial disputes with someone. This disagreement could be about vacations, social issues, the arts or something to do with your kids. Some will have a rocky time with romance.

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 18)
The pace of your days will accelerate in the next four weeks. Suddenly, you’ve got things to do, places to go and people to see! This same window of time will be great to learn new things or explore new avenues through reading, writing and studying. You might also be more involved with siblings and relatives. However, be aware that with Mars in your sign, you’re coming on a bit strong and this is bound to trigger conflict with others, especially at the beginning of the week around Tuesday. If this occurs, remind yourself what your long-term objective is. What’s more important? Being right or being in the relationship?

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20)
Money and finances are on your mind in the next four weeks. You might consider a new job offer or ponder moneymaking ideas? You will also be busy more than usual with your possessions. At a subtle level, you will be giving more thought to your values in life. In other words, what really matters? (So important to know.) Some angst might be triggered at the beginning of the week because of something going on behind the scenes. Or perhaps it’s going on internally in your mind? “I’m going to have a serious shower argument with myself.” (Ah yes, those shower arguments when you remember to say the perfect clever response to stun your opponent.)

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Weekly Horoscopes beginning Sunday, 20 March 2022

If you’re born within a cusp period (16 to 26 of any month); you’re advised to read horoscopes of both signs covered by that period. You’re on the border; you may have influences from houses within those signs.

Outlines are longer versions; consist of every possible detail of everyday and are based on three parts of each sign: 1st, 2nd & 3rd Decan; that is, any of three divisions of 10° within a sign of the zodiac. Even if you know or don’t know your Decan; I recommend, please read all three Decan.


Aries
Personal theme: I am!!
Fire & cardinal sign: March 21 — April 19

Your horoscope for this week:

It’s a tricky week. While you’re juggling a range of complex issues from the past, the Sun’s move into Aries, on the 20th, kickstarts a cycle of change and, ultimately, exciting growth. However, it may seem each day of the week brings yet another challenging situation. Tempting as it is to ignore these, each offers valuable insights. The secret? Take it slowly. You’ll be glad you did.

Your partner or a close friend will hint they would like to see more of you. Since you don’t want to lose people who mean a lot to you, for now at least, their wish will be your command. Your determination to please people will do your relationships the world of good. If you are out of work, jobs demanding creative skills could open up for you now. You might be offered a one-off commission and this will pave the way for similar work in time to come.

It might be your birthday month, but that doesn’t mean that all is rosy! This week you could go from breath-taking highs to lows in a flash. The difficulty is that Jupiter and Neptune align in neighbouring Pisces. This can be the most fantastic creative combination; and yes, at long last you might find a style that really suits you; but perhaps you’ll be up against costs. Whether it’s that, or dismay that things really aren’t working out as you’d planned two years ago, frustration will likely be evident; and yet: this is your time of year – when you need to show courage, bravery and to step out in front. By the end of what promises to be a super busy week, you perhaps need to display the grit and determination that’s got you through recent times. In particular, you likely need to confront someone who’s been dithering and not living. For you, it’s time to take action.


Taurus
Personal theme: I have!!
Earth & fixed sign: April 20 — May 20

Your horoscope for this week:

You’ve little control over events or, often, life-changing decisions. Initially, you’ll battle this. Soon, however, you’re discovering how well they fit with exciting, if unsettling, changes in your own life or with others’ plans. The secret? Forget analysis. It’s about pausing, then making a point of allowing events to unfold. The patience you learn will, alone, be hugely valuable. Better yet, you’ll find you enjoy going with the flow.

A get rich quick scheme will have flaws. Although you sense others are aware of it and trying to ignore the warning signals, you will worry about a friend who is dazzled by an online guru who is promising the earth. Coming to the rescue of a needy neighbour could lead to an unexpected offer. This may involve travel and since you could do with a change of scenery, you aren’t likely to turn it down.

Mid-week, Mars takes up right angle position to Uranus still travelling through your sign. This promises to be an exciting and sparkly time. Yes, you could be headstrong and yes, there is always the possibility of you doing your ‘bull in a china shop’ thing. It is likely though – and especially given the relationship of Mercury to Jupiter and Neptune, – that one of your creations is ready to be marketed. It should be all steam ahead. That art is always, always in the preparation. You may need to team up with others who know better how to deal with distribution. Fact is that even ahead of the solar eclipse in your sign at the end of next month, you should be turning a new page. This promises to be an exciting chapter in your life when you fulfil some of the dreams you had as a child. To that end, it might be a good idea to renew contact with those you haven’t seen since then and get reminders of that earlier time.


Gemini
Personal theme: I think!!
Air sign: May 21 — June 20

Your horoscope for this week:

While there’s no arguing decisions are pressing, you’re short of facts and, equally, unsure what’s best. The trick? Make tentative plans, put them into action, then begin discussing the results with those who’ll be involved. Most of all, ensure it’s clear this is about exploration. What you and others learn now will contribute to final arrangements as you move into the month of April.

You’re tired of having to drop everything as a friend expects you to do every time, they need a helping hand. You would be better off channelling your energy into things you can change such as areas of your life that could do with some improvement. Where there are problems, work on strategies to resolve these over the weeks to come. They may not totally disappear but it helps when you feel more in control.

Jupiter and Neptune are on course to form a conjunction in another of the Mutable signs. This isn’t something that happens every year. The fact that their alignment is at the apex of your solar chart, suggests you will be affected by a vision or dream of a life you feel is still yet possible. You can and likely will make things happen. You might need enthusiasm from an Aries, Leo or Sagittarius who not only has confidence that you can do it, but has a track record in making things happen. Joining forces may be no bad thing – though you might agree that Gemini often has fingers in too many pies. Focus is imperative if achievements are to be realised within the short term. To that end, you’ll likely be grateful for the aspect between Mars and Uranus mid-week that’s indicative not only of support from the individuals mentioned earlier, but also for a short sharp shock that makes it clear that if you don’t make a move now, then perhaps you never will.


Cancer
Personal theme: I feel!!
Water & cardinal sign: June 21 — July 22

Your horoscope for this week:

Only recently you were sure of your plans, both for the coming weeks and more distant future. Now, suddenly, you’re juggling options that are appealing, yet would mean substantially rethinking arrangements, some longstanding. The secret? Explore absolutely everything and, for now, say ‘no’ to nothing. True, this will require patience. Initially, focus on letting go of what doesn’t work. Plans? Be patient. Think mid-April.

No matter how long you have been dating, married or with someone, it would be to your advantage to show your independent side. A partner or close friend needs more space. You may feel they have plenty of freedom but listen to them when they say you’re clinging to them like glue and it makes them feel stifled. A sports team or creative group is looking for members. You need to get in more practice before you can volunteer.

As of this weekend’s Equinox, the Sun begins its passage over the career point of your solar chart. This, together with a rare conjunction of Jupiter and Neptune in an area for you associated with expertise, suggests others will be leaning on you and yes, considerably. On the one hand you might enjoy being thought of as the person with the magic wand that can put everything right. Yet by Thursday, you might also despair at how much is expected of you. Note that there is a Last Quarter Moon in your opposite sign on Friday. It may be that you’re coming to the end of the road with one working partnership precisely because too much is expected. You are perhaps ready for different challenge. Plenty of that is headed your way after Jupiter changes signs next month. This week is all about identifying where best to expend your energy. In particular, it might be wise to stay away from those who talk about what they want but do very little practically towards achieving their aims.


Leo
Personal theme: I will!!
Fire & fixed sign: July 23 — August 22

Your horoscope for this week:

You may not be in the mood to broaden your horizon, in terms of your lifestyle, work or future plans; but the planetary setup doesn’t just accent this, certain ideas or offers will be irresistible. For now, simply explore, at the same time considering that if plans progress, what you’d change or say farewell to. That, alone, will be informative. However, it just may lead to timely changes.

With those close to you content to cope with their own affairs, this will give you some well-deserved time to yourself. Rather than doing as much as possible you will choose the opposite. You intend to make the most of this chance to relax and you will be enjoying every minute of it. Lucky stars abound if you are single and looking for romance. You could meet someone special at a spring fair or outdoors concert.

As of this weekend, the Sun begins its journey through another of the Fire signs – an area of your solar chart associated with extending your world. It would be understandable if you thought about adventure and higher learning. Yet all this takes place against the backdrop of a rare conjunction of Jupiter and Neptune in one of the Water signs. It would be easy to get carried away. It might also be far too easy to want more than you can really afford. Thinking big seems inevitable. Yet as Mars (moving through your opposite sign), arrives at right angle with Uranus, the planet of the unexpected, you may need to face realities- and in a big way. Fact is, that though you been ready to move on for ages, it’s likely you have yet to do identify exactly what you want to move on to. Even now the time may not be quite right. Yet it is clearly coming. Mars is at right angles to the solar eclipse that comes at the end of next month. This is still clearing out time. As you prepare new ground, valuable information should come to light.


Virgo
Personal theme: I analyse!!
Earth sign: August 23 — September 22

Your horoscope for this week:

While the Virgo Full Moon, on 18 March, inevitably, brings a range of issues to a head, decisions must wait. Being patient won’t be easy; but each day’s challenges offer insights, both about what might need to become part of the past and, just as much, future options. The challenge for you, as a thorough Virgo, is ensuring plans are flexible enough you can rethink them regularly.

You hadn’t realised how much someone has been influencing you until you start looking at the facts. You might feel annoyed with yourself for having allowed an older friend or colleague’s beliefs and opinions to colour your own decisions. Now you know the truth you won’t let this happen again. A relationship is becoming too stifling. It is time to cut ties with anything and anyone who makes you unhappy.

Jupiter and Neptune are moving slowly towards a conjunction. It’s rare for them to do this in your opposite sign and at some level it might seem as though illusive music is being played on the horizon. You’ll likely be drawn to it. In business terms, this should be a magical time as you are drawn towards advertising and marketing as never before. Yet anchoring new ideas will require effort. It’s fortunate then that you come under one of the Earth signs: you know how to be practical, to make lists and work diligently through them. All of this could be exciting in the first half of the week, yet in the second half there is the danger of you losing momentum. Remind yourself that you’ve been here before; in fact, at least three times in the last couple of years. What’s needed now is to access the special kind of energy that keeps you going. To do that yes might require being irritated; sometimes a most useful fuel. As the Moon reaches its Last Quarter phase on Friday that’s a real possibility. By then, and likely annoyed by either an Aries or Cancer, you can ensure that a job gets done and on schedule.


Libra
Personal theme: I balance!!
Air & cardinal sign: September 23 — October 22

Your horoscope for this week:

Unsettling as the events currently forcing you to review several elements of your life may be, they’re also timely. In fact, the more swiftly you let go of even seemingly pivotal plans, the newer options you discover. The secret? Urgent as getting things organised is, for now, focus on learning about your options. This ensures the decisions you make will be wise ones.

If your best friend or partner is going through a tough time and you know they need you, making time just for them will help lift their spirits. Arrange a trip together, suggest a mini break or take them to their favourite restaurant. You’re thinking ahead but are the plans you are making realistic? You might feel, deep down, that some of the goals you are setting for yourself are out of reach. In which case, lower your sights and you are more likely to make progress.

The sun has now arrived in your opposite sign: an energising time; and yes, there likely is much you to be excited about. The fact that Mercury, Jupiter and Neptune are all grouped together in a part of your chart that is all about day-to-day work, suggests you will be super busy; but just how productive you will be is a different question altogether! You may remember that throughout 2021, Saturn and Uranus were at right angles to one another. That theme of trying to blend the past with the future continues. It won’t be easy to set aside old methods of behaviour and to accept new working practices. Expect an Aries to have a key in your back. The key thing here is that excited as you may be, you do need to keep one foot firmly on the ground. To that end, you might appreciate the input of an Aquarius whose overview is timely and helpful.


Scorpio & Ophiuchus
Personal theme: I desire!!
Water & fixed signs: October 23 — November 21

Your horoscope for this week:

Judging by the coming weeks’ planetary activity, timely but often unsettling changes are inevitable. You’re aware they’re necessary, but hoped you could organise things to suit your plans. The fact is, you’ve put them off for as long as possible. The good news is these are as swift as they’ll be beneficial. While, initially, going with the flow won’t be easy, it’s the best option.

You might get the impression a close friend is keeping something to themselves. Despite their reluctance to share, your curiosity will be roused. At the same time, it is completely up to them whether or not they reveal all to you. You can’t make others tell you everything and it will only cause problems if you try. Your boss may ask for a few minutes of your time. They want to have a word with you and the implication in their words will make your future look very bright.

Throughout last year, the two planets Saturn and Uranus were at right angle to one another. The latter was in your opposite sign and the former at right angles to it. You’ve no doubt been pulled this way and that: a theme continues. As is the case for all signs, we have to move forward and not cling on to outmoded ways of working. That’s not easy if you’re born under one of the Fixed signs. Sticking with the familiar is usually easier than moving forward. Yet even you may be intrigued by marketing possibilities. There is high probability of you mixing with those from very different cultures to your own. For some, approaches could be alien, yet by the end of this week, you could be enticed, enthused and possibly excited about an opportunity that will develop soon after the solar eclipse at the end of next month.


Sagittarius
Personal theme: I see!!
Fire sign: November 22 — December 21

Your horoscope for this week:

A series of changes, in circumstances and in your own plans, is as timely as events are unsettling. The secret? Get involved. The more you learn, the clearer it will be where events are taking you and how you’ll benefit. If there’s any challenge, it’s letting go of certain longstanding arrangements while still unsure what’s next. Trusting destiny won’t be easy but you’ll be glad you did.

Your desire to get on with a job in your own way could cause problems if you are supposed to be working closely with a colleague. This may not be such a good time for professional relationships. Someone who is a stickler for rules and regulations will find your independent spirit too disturbing. No matter how difficult it might be, you may have to listen to a senior colleague’s suggestions. They are on your side but they can’t openly show it.

The Sun has reached the Equinox and is now passing through the play zone of your solar chart; and yes, your research and development department could be teased into action. Prompted possibly by others who, like you, have a great sense of adventure, you should be ready to take on challenges. Recall though, that throughout 2021 the two planets Saturn and Uranus were at right angle to one another. They are not yet fully separated and the struggle between the past and the future continues. You may need to rethink your approach to health and diet and asked by an expert to take yet another approach. In this, you probably need support; which will likely come from a Gemini, Libra or Aquarius. Though true, they can lay it on too thick at times, and build a whirl-wind energy that is not always comfortable, you likely need them to help you develop an idea which over the next few months, has much mileage.


Capricorn
Personal theme: I use!!
Earth & cardinal sign: December 22 — January 19

Your horoscope for this week:

The world around you is changing, often in ways that are influencing elements of your life. While you’re not especially enthusiastic about these, you’ve long been aware that some things can’t remain as they are. The problem? It’s unclear what’s next. Stepping into what seems a void may be worrying, but you’ll soon realise how much you’re learning, even from unsettling events and sudden changes.

A recent worry will be sorted out just as you were about to give up on this matter. Being able to put this behind you will put everyone in exceptionally high spirits. Your working life is taking a turn for the better. An important meeting or interview will go a lot better than expected. Finances too will be improving. You’ve been expecting hidden snags in a money or legal transaction but now you know you can trust others who are giving you professional support and advice.

Now that the Sun has arrived at the base of your solar chart, it’s time to review assets and their management. Consider your expertise. Exactly what needs to be improved and what could be better rewarded? With Mercury, Jupiter and Neptune all grouped together in an area which, for you, is all about communication, ideas could be thrown from many different sources. Yes, it’s true that Jupiter and Neptune together can bring big ideas that aren’t always grounded in reality. Yet amongst these there should be at least one that has mileage. Yours is a sign that doesn’t normally focus too much on presentation. True, you appreciate the expertise of good marketing and advertising. Yet in other respects, this, as you know, is a smokescreen. There is much work for you still to do. With many of the issues from last year still echoing, you don’t want to be derailed if you’re in the middle of a repair or rescue job (which seems likely). You’d perhaps do well to steer clear of those who have grandiose missions but have yet to prove any ability in seeing these through.


Aquarius
Personal theme: I know!!
Air & fixed sign: January 20 — February 18

Your horoscope for this week:

Once you understand you’re in a period of exploration and, even more, experimentation, you’ll forget about carefully made plans and enjoy taking advantage of the unexpected developments coming your way. As an inquisitive air sign, you’ll enjoy what you learn, even if certain ideas or options won’t work in the long term. The secret? When others ask about your plans, tell them you’re still making decisions.

If you’re trying to economise it would make sense to steer clear of friends who have expensive tastes. They may have cash to spare to spend on here today and gone tomorrow pleasures but you will prefer to be more careful. Sharing news and views with other members of your community could lead to you looking into the possibility of setting up a new group or society. So don’t shut yourself away. Just watch your cash.

You may recall, that throughout 2021 your two ruling planets, Saturn and Uranus, were at apparent odds with one another. For most people, there was a war going on between past and future. Yes, this is part of a much longer cycle and every generation goes through this at least once – if not twice. Yet the difficulties of 2021 were extraordinary. Now, it is imperative that all signs embrace new options. The world of artificial intelligence, robotics and yes, other exciting developments is there waiting. Sticking to old rules and routines simply won’t work. You could be in the vanguard of using new options; but yes, that likely requires learning new skills. Don’t underestimate your ability to soak up new ideas – especially as Mars moves through your sign (a transit that continues until the middle of next month). A short course might suit you very well.


Pisces
Personal theme: I believe!!
Water sign: February 19 — March 20

Your horoscope for this week:

While the Pisces New Moon in early March got you thinking about where changes are needed, putting those ideas into action has been another matter. Actually, there’s no rush, often because unexpected yet welcome events are clearing the way for those changes. Now, finally, you’re beginning to recognise how they’ll fit and, even more, how timely many of those changes will be in the long run.

Listening to gossip could have unfortunate consequences. It isn’t wise to take everything everyone tells you as the truth. Yes, some rumours will provide you with useful information once you have checked the facts. Other things you hear could cause a big misunderstanding if you were to pass it on to the wrong person. There’s plenty going on at home and at work to keep you from growing bored. A practical colleague is getting results and you can’t help but be influenced by them.

You may recall that the two planets, Jupiter and Neptune, (both associated with your sign), are presently moving through Pisces on their way to a conjunction next month. This week, Mercury arrives at conjunction with each. The first contact, with Jupiter, should bring you into the limelight with many people asking you about what it is that you want to do. Let’s hope you have some answers ready! There could be impatience if your answers are less than clear (which is likely given that Mercury then goes on to make contact with Neptune the planet associated with idealism and anything but practicality). As of this Sunday’s Equinox, it might be wise to do as many rehearsals as you can. Think carefully about the questions that will be posed, and have clear answers ready if you can. Given the high probability of others needing you on their team – particularly given your insightfulness and creative talents, – you should also show that you can be practical and work to a schedule that embraces new working trends.

~CelestialPrognostication

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Every Day is Earth Day! Love Your Mother!

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Goddess Blessings!
Live Well – Laugh Often – Love Much

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High Priestess Certification and Ancient Mystery Teachings
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The Magic of Crystals
Introduction to Energy Healing
Introduction to Paganism
Introduction to Meditation
Introduction to The Goddess Tradition and The Feminine Divine
Kuan Yins Gentle Embrace Reiki Certification
A Year and a Day of Contemplation with Kuan Yin
Tarot, Numerology, Natal Charts and Dream Readings
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Herbs!!! Herbs!!! Herbs!!!
Interested in herbs and healing? Learn with GrannyMoon!
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Teach a witch a spell and she can do that spell. Teach a witch the craft and she can do magick!

GrannyMoon, Teaching the Craft for over 20 years!

“We all come from the Goddess
And to Her we shall return
Like a drop of rain, going to the ocean”
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“May the circle be open, but unbroken,
May the love of the Goddess be ever in your heart.

Merry Meet and Merry Part
And Merry Meet Again

Never forget…you are magick!

Goddess Bless!
GrannyMoon

http://GoddessSchool.com
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By GrannyMoon Posted in Pagan

GrannyMoons Weekly Feast: 13 Mar 2022

Blessed Be My Little Witch. To those who came before and those who will come after, know that the Goddess is with you always. Thank you all my dear readers…be blessed. ~GrannyMoon

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Dark Moon – Time to Rest
New Moon – Time to Begin New Projects; Birth; Attraction
Waxing Moon – Time to Grow; Increase
Full Moon – Time to be Fulfilled; Abundance
Waning Moon – Time to Banish; Decrease
Last Sliver of Moon – Time to Die; Letting Go
Dark Moon – Time to Rest Again
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Light A Candle Today!
In many different traditions lighting a candle is a sacred action. It expresses more than words can express. It has to do with gratefulness. From time immemorial, people have lit candles in sacred places. You may want to begin or end your day by the sacred ritual of lighting a candle on this gratefulness. Or you may want to light a birthday candle for a friend. One single guideline is all you need: Slow down and do it with full attention.

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Current Moon Phase: Waxing Moon

Time: From New Moon To Full (Approx. 14 Days)

Goddess Aspect: Maiden

Associated Goddesses: Artemis, Branwen, Eriu, Nymph, Epona

Magickal Attributes: Invoking Beginnings, New Projects, Ideas, Inspiration, Energy, Vitality, Freedom. Workings On This Day Are For “Constructive” Magick (Love, Wealth, Success, Courage, Friendship, Luck Or Health.)
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What’s Happening in March!?!

Herb of the Year for 2022: Blackberries, raspberries, and their cousins (Rubus ssp.) Named by the International Herb Association

Flower of the Month for March: Daffodil

March is National Women’s History Month

Celtic Tree Calendar ~ February 18th to March 17th ~ Ash

Goddess Month of Moura ~ 2/20 – 3/19

Mar. 14 National Potato Chip Day.

Mar. 15 Ides of March (beware!)

Mar. 16 On this day in 1915, Absinthe (a liqueur made from the herb Wormwood) was banned in France.

Mar. 17 St. Patrick’s Day – The luck o’ the Irish to you!

Mar. 18, Fri 03:20 AM – Full Moon

Mar: 20, Spring Equinox ~ Ostara, Northern Hemisphere,
Mar: 20, Mabon ~ Southern Hemisphere

May 1st ~ Virginia Psychic Fair, Falls Church, VA. For info go to https://va-psychic-fair-2022.eventbrite.com
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March Sunday Classes with GrannyMoon at Sticks and Stones, Fairfax, VA

Face to Face Class: 1 PM – 3 PM ~ WitchCrafting – March 6
Face to Face Class: 1 PM – 3 PM ~ The Herbal Cauldron – March 13
Face to Face Class: Noon – 2:00 PM ~ The Magick of Crystals – March 20
Face to Face Class: 4:30 – 6:30 PM – Usui Shiki Ryoho Reiki I and II RSVP Please

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High Priestess Training with GrannyMoon
http://GoddessSchool.com

The entire course takes 15 months to complete (four levels). Tuition covers lessons, assignments with instructor feedback. In addition, students may download guided meditation exercises and be eligible for Sabbats, Esbats, and retreats with the Sisterhood. The entire fee for each level is $120 (payment plan available), sixteen lessons in each level, except the last.

Ceremonial Cords and frame-able Completion Certificates are awarded as members complete each level.
Level I – Initiate of the Sisters of the Burning Branch – White cord
Level II – Adept of the Sisters of the Burning Branch- Red cord
Level III – Priestess of the Sisters of the Burning Branch- Black cord
Level IV – High Priestess of the Sisters of the Burning Branch – Green cord

You Might Also Be Interested In:
http://goddessschool.com/Paganstudies/index.html
http://www.goddessschool.com/courses/natural/naturalwitch.html
http://goddessschool.com/Paganstudies/healingarts.html

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Learn About Herbs with GrannyMoon!

There is so much to learn about herbs! In Herbalism 101, we cover 21 herbs, and you will start your own personal Materia Medica, that we will build throughout the next levels. We will cover the basic aspects of herbs. From culinary to magickal, medicinal to ornamental. As well as the many modalities of herbs!

During this course, in addition to the on-line lessons and hands-on projects that you do at home, I will be sending you articles, and information, as well as questions about your own personal use and research.

I look forward to walking this green journey with you! I love herbs and I hope that you do too or will learn to!

There are 10 lessons in each level and there is no time limit for completion. You may study at your own pace! There are no texts to purchase.

For more info or to join my class, click here!
http://goddessschool.com/Paganstudies/healingarts.html

The cost for Level 1 is $50.00 or $150.00 for the entire Healing Arts Course (1-3) which includes a free Reiki certification course when all three are ordered at the same time!
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Earth Signs and Omens in Nature Course

Learn to read the mysteries of nature! The course covers signs and omens, communication, seasonal rites, trees and shrubs, flowers, plants and weeds, herbs, plant magick, the Guardians of Nature and much more.
http://goddessschool.com/courses/earthsigns/index.html

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The Goddess School Grimoire

http://www.lulu.com/shop/sotbb-Goddess-school/the-Goddess-school-grimoire/hardcover/product-762380.html
Hardcover: $39.45
Softback: $26.95
eBook (PDF): $6.25

The Goddess School Grimoire is a collection of recipes, artwork, poetry, prose, prayers, rituals, spells, and practical Goddess wisdom put together by the teachers, students, alumni, and friends of The Sisters of the Burning Branch Goddess School. The sisterhood is dedicated to restoring spiritual balance by returning the Divine Feminine to her rightful place and by assisting women in their personal and spiritual development. Since being founded by Head and High Mother Priestess Grandmother Moon in 2000, The Goddess School (GoddessSchool.com) has grown into a large and beautiful global community of women.

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Coventry Creations
March 14, 2022 – March 20, 2022

The third week of March features a pair of Uranian aspects, a Full Moon in Virgo, and the beginning of the Astrological New Year.

The week starts with the Moon moving through fiery Leo. On Monday, the Moon makes several difficult aspects that may leave you feeling like people are getting in the way of your agenda or obstructing your path. Arguments happen easily, and you may need to carefully pick your battles. Tuesday brings us similar energy, as the Moon opposes Saturn before she goes void of course. Feelings of self-doubt may take over unless you protect yourself wisely and push away negative thoughts.

The middle of the week brings a bit of relief, as Mercury sextiles Uranus. It’s an excellent time to break away from usual routines as much as possible. Be spontaneous and explore things that fascinate you.

Besides the Full Moon in Virgo, this week features a difficult aspect between Venus and Uranus. Relationship issues may surface, especially if you’ve been ignoring the problems or holding onto your relationships too tightly. Try to reach constructive compromises that serve both of you equally.

Finally, we end one astrological year and begin another as the Sun moves out of Pisces and into Aries. Use this time to focus on your magical/intention goals for the next year.

Recommended: Protection (Blessed Herbal), Tranquility (Affirmations), Mars (Astro Magic)

Here’s what you missed on CoventryCreations.com this week…

Candle Ritual for Growing Your Spiritual Practice

Full Moon in Virgo March 18, 2022

Enter, the cycle-breaking moon. Procrastination is the biggest buster toward your success and if you really want to change that, this full Moon in Virgo has the power to shift you from couch potato to action Annie.

Astro Magic Forecast for March 2022

The bulk of the month is beginning the process of preparing for the astrological New Year, as the Sun moves into the sign of Aries on March 20th (11:33 AM EST/8:33 AM PST)

After a long and challenging winter, seeds will begin to sprout, the air will start to warm up, and the promise of a fresh start is on the way.

Spring into the Astrological New Year!
Everything Awakens in the Spring. You Can Too.

The promise of a fresh start is just around the corner as the Sun moves into Aries on March 20th. After a long winter of cold weather and personal challenges, the first day of Spring also brings the Astrological New Year.

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Llewellyn’s Spell A Day

Daylight Savings Time Meditation
MARCH 13, 2022 BY NATALIE ZAMAN

The discovery of the planet Pluto was announced on this day in 1930. Then eighty-five years later, photographs revealed a heart-shaped area on its surface.

Today, as we spring ahead and light returns to the world, chant this mantra as a reminder that light and love can penetrate the deepest darkness across time and space:

The heart of darkness
Sends forth its rays
Of love and light
To the lengthening days.

Repeat as needed whenever you need to be reminded of the presence of light and love.
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Flower Magick
MARCH 12, 2022 BY STEPHANIE ROSE BIRD

For some people, winter is grueling, with long, dark days and very cold weather. For others, it is more foggy, damp, and dreary. The advent of spring opens new windows of magickal possibilities, represented beautifully by the unfurling of new bright green leaves and flowers. Today is just the day to engage with flowers, as it is Plant a Flower Day. Narcissus is a readily available, heady-scented harbinger of spring. Moreover, its aromatic possibilities in the home are endless. Its scent has a very positive effect by uplifting the spirits. Narcissus also brings prosperity and wealth, good luck, clarity, and inspiration. In temperate zones it is still too cold to plant outdoors, but this activity is a great way for anyone to engage in nature.

Fill a three-to-four-inch container without drainage holes with tiny pebbles or small river rocks. Pack some narcissus bulbs into the container. Gently place the bulbs so they are balanced on the stones. Do not bruise or break the bulbs. Add enough water to cover the bottoms of the bulbs. Add a splash of alcohol to the water.

Breathe in the deep, floral high notes of your narcissus once they bloom and feel your spirits soar!
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Find Your Household Deity
MARCH 11, 2022 BY BARBARA ARDINGER

People all around the world have honored gods and goddesses who bless and protect their homes. Where did your ancestors live? Search back as far as you can, not just to the city your grandparents lived in but to the land where your many-times-great-grandparents lived. Read about the history of that land, about the beliefs of the people. Find the household god or goddess in your family history— a food giver, perhaps, or one who protects the hearth or the pantry, or a giver of hospitality.

Set up a new household altar in a place where you’ll never have to move it. Cast a circle that encloses your entire home (including the garage and the garden, if applicable). Invoke your ancestral deity:

Beneficent one, __ (name of deity),

As my foremothers and forefathers
honored and called to you,

I also ask for your protection
and blessing of my home.

Live with me. Bless my home.

Bring harmony, comfort, and
happiness in my home.
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Reach Out and Say Hello
MARCH 10, 2022 BY DEBORAH BLAKE

Many of us have a tendency to hibernate during the winter, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. But as the weather warms and spring approaches, now is a good time to reach out to folks you might not have seen or talked to for a while. Is there a friend or family member who has been showing up in your thoughts or dreams? Perhaps there is someone about whom you have been thinking, “I should really check on so-and-so” or “I really should stop by one of these days.” Say this spell to point you toward the people who need to hear from you the most, or to give you that push in the right direction for an impromptu visit.

Time to call and say hello,
A good day to go far and near.
Send me where I need to go,
Tell me who most needs the cheer.
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Heat In, Cold Out
MARCH 09, 2022 BY ELIZABETH BARRETTE

Spring is a season of sniffles and chills. After the long winter, everyone wants to run outside as soon as the weather warms, even if it’s nippy and raining. Some people can’t wait to start gardening, no matter how dank and soggy the ground is. That often leads to a lot of folks catching cold.

For this healing spell, brew a cup of hot tea. Echinacea boosts the immune system but lacks a pleasing taste. Add lemon (for vitamin C), peppermint (to soothe coughing), or ginger (warming) to improve flavor and effects. Hold the cup in your hands. Feel the heat and breathe in the warm steam. Breathe out, saying:

Herbs and water, brewed about,
Heat come in and cold go out!
Strengthen body, bolster will,
Drive away the springtime chill!

Drink the tea, focusing on the healing properties of the herbs. Repeat the verse one last time as you finish the cup.
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International Women’s Day
MARCH 08, 2022 BY TESS WHITEHURST

Today, light a white candle on your altar. Relax, center your mind, and say:

Great Goddess, I call on you. Lend
your light and strength to all women,
of all races, in all countries now.
May the Divine Feminine and Divine
Masculine come into complementary
balance in human culture, for the
highest good of all. Thank you.

Extinguish the candle. Next, look through your library or do a web search to choose a woman from history (recent or ancient) who inspires you, and whom you’d like to emulate in some way. Create, print out, or obtain an image of her that you like. Frame it and place it on your altar near the candle. Light the candle for a few minutes daily until the next full moon (on March 18 at 3:18 a.m. EST) while gazing at her image. Invite her powerful qualities into your being so that you can carry on the legacy of her unique expression of strength, while also making it your own.
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A Threshold Protection Spell
MARCH 07, 2022 BY JAMES KAMBOS

Use this spell to protect your threshold and keep negative energy from entering your front door. You’ll need three cloves of garlic, some salt, and a broom. First, peel the garlic cloves and rub each one with a bit of salt. Bury the garlic near your front door. Then sprinkle a small amount of salt along your front door’s threshold. Now take your broom and sweep the salt away. From your threshold, continue to sweep the salt away from your door, off your porch, and down your front steps. Sweep to the street if that’s possible. As you sweep, say:

Protect this home, garlic and salt,
I command all negative energy to halt.

This spell is good to use after a negative person has left your home and you need to restore positive vibrations. Repeat once a year or when you feel the need.

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Spring is Mother Nature’s Wake Up Call
~Donna Henes

Spring is Mother Nature’s wake up call. She sounds her bugle for reveille and the sun comes running back to us, light, and warmth on its heels. “Rise and shine,” she orders. And it does.

The Earth awakens in the solar radiance. The living energy, which has stayed hidden underground during the long deep sleep of the dark season, now shifts and starts to stir.

The dirt thaws. The sweet sap rises. Poking and peeking, it seeks the surface, the space, the air, the light. Stretching skyward, life breaks new ground.
Bulbs burst forth from the Earth, sending up tender shoots. Buds appear, looking all pink and rosy before the sun turns them green. Seeds sprout. The first early flowers explode open, exposing their delicate centers.

The Hatching of the World Egg
If the Winter Solstice signals the birth of the sun, then the Spring Equinox exclaims the birth of the earth – the resurrection of nature from the dark death of winter. The life, which has stayed hidden, in exile or underground, during the long deep sleep of the cold season, now shifts and starts to stir. Poking and peeking, it seeks the surface. The space. The air. The light. Striving, stretching skyward, life breaks new ground. Bulbs, shoots and buds burst forth from the earth, exploding open, exposing their tender green growth. The sweet sap rises.

The birth waters break. The snow melts. The skies open. It rains, it pours, it mists, it drips fertilizing fluids from the heavens. The air is damp like a baby’s bottom. The land is soaked. The mud, like mucous, like after-birth. The defrosting sodden soil is teeming, churning with every creepy crawly thing that ever slithered out of a swamp. Hordes of birds descend, drawn by the juicy feast. Animals awaken from their pregnant hibernations, skinny and starving and suckling their young. Birds and beasts, alike, set out on a concerted feeding frenzy, gorging themselves and their ravenous, insatiable, mouths-ever-open offspring.

It is as if the great egg of the whole world has hatched.
And so it has in the collective imagination and symbolism of many cultures. The myths of the peoples of Polynesia, India, Indonesia, Iran, Greece, Phoenicia, Latvia, Estonia, Finland, Central and parts of South America and Africa all describe an original cosmic egg from which the universe is born. The Latin proverb, Omne vivum ex ovo, proclaims “All life comes from an egg.” It is only natural and not so subtle to assign the birth of the world to a Great Mother Goddess who laid the egg of life. All of nature, after all, is a constant cyclical reminder of just such a fertile female force, the seed source of all generation. All life does, indeed, come from an egg.
The Egyptian goddess Hathor took the form of the Nile goose, the Great Cackler in order to lay the golden egg, which was the sun. The Egyptian hieroglyphic notation for the World Egg is the same as for that of an embryo in the womb of a woman. The Celts, too, had a Mother Goose who laid the egg of all existence. According to the Hawaiians, the Big Island was produced from the egg of a huge water bird. She was known as the Great Midwife, the Egg Mother. Knosuano was the Moon Egg of Ghana. The Druids honored the Egg of the World. In Greek Orphic tradition, The Great Goddess of womb-like darkness, Mother Night, was impregnated by the Wind, and she gives forth with the silver egg from which the earth emerges.

According to the Chinese, the first human being sprang from an egg dropped from the heaven into the primordial waters. The Chimu Indians of Peru are descended, ordinary people and heroes alike, from the original egg – the Moon. The Samoan Heavenly One, hatched from an egg whose shell pieces became the earth. Prajapati, the creator of all living things in Indian mythology, was born of a great golden egg, which was first incubated in the uterine waters of eternity. The god, Brahma burst forth from a gold egg.

In time, the egg, the symbol of life, of birth, came to signify the season of spring. For it is then that the aspect of fertility and rebirth within the cycle is so overwhelmingly evident. Clearly, the egg stands for spring. The egg, in fact, stands at spring. Actually stands up on its end at the moment of the Vernal Equinox. Stands at attention as the sun crosses the equator into the northern hemisphere. Stands in salute to spring.

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Heartwings Love Notes 1025 Tasha’s Fried Rice

Heartwings says, “Homemade is the tastiest if the cook is good.”

Restaurant food is growing increasingly expensive. I don’t blame the restaurants, however, because whenever I go to the supermarket, I spend more than I am expecting to, no matter how hard I try to be thrifty. Being sure to have good food on hand has always been important to me. I’d rather spend more money on that and save it in other ways. Our diet is primarily built around fish, vegetables, fruit, and eggs. We seldom eat meat, usually hamburg or occasionally beef hot dogs. I try to keep a low-carb diet for my health and use only small amounts of sugar.

Cooking is something I have always enjoyed so one of the things I do is to work on specific recipes over time to see how I can improve them. After many years of cooking, I seldom use recipes from cookbooks, though I enjoy reading recipes and trying new ones when I find them of interest. It’s also fun to try recipes my daughters discover or evolve, as well as send them ones I have developed. I have worked on my fried rice recipe for many years on and off.

About fried rice, the first thing I learned is that you cannot make a good fried rice with freshly cooked rice. It must be cooked ahead and then stored in the fridge to cool before you use it. There are several ingredients listed you might not have on your shelves. Fish sauce can be purchased from Asian markets or that section of your supermarket. Sesame oil makes a real difference to the taste, and I use coconut aminos instead of soy sauce because it is milder. Trader Joe’s carries both, or look on the internet. Once you are ready to make it, here’s how.

For 2 people, or double for 4 or to have tasty leftovers: Scramble up an egg without adding any liquid and cook it in a tablespoon of oil. When firm, set aside. sauté in light oil 1/3 cup chopped onion, 1/3 chopped red pepper, and 2 or 3 chopped cloves garlic until soft. Add 1 Tbs fish sauce, fish sauce, 3 Tbs coconut aminos or soy sauce, 2 Tbs sesame oil. Add 1/2 cup frozen peas. Add up to half a pound of shrimp, thawed, peeled, and cut up into 2 or 3 chunks each. Sauté until shrimp turns pink. Add up to 3 cups cooked rice and sauté, adding more sesame oil if needed. Shred up eggs and add once the rice is cooked in. Stir and sauté a little longer. Serve with additional soy or coconut amino sauce. Do follow the order, it works well.

May you enjoy both the fixing and the eating of your meals.

Blessings and Best Regards,
Tasha Halpert

PS Comments and shared recipes are always so very nice to receive. Thanks for your input. Reach me at tashahal@aol.com or for more love notes, check my website at
http://www.heartwingsandfriends.com.

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Ostara Activities

Clear a space for a garden, or start flowers, herbs or vegetables indoors. It’s too early in this climate to plant fruits and vegetables; frosts can happen as late as April in the North.

You can clear weeds, grass and rubbish from the spot where you plan a garden, or you can start seeds indoors.

Pick up litter at your favorite park or beach. Help the earth rejuvenate by getting rid of the mess.

Ritually color hard-boiled or blown eggs

Perform oomancy (divination by eggs).

Meditate on the imagery of the seed.

Meditate on the season’s flowers. Flowers are the sexual organs of plants, consider what this says to you.

Perform magick to give back to the earth. Raise and send energy to return to the Earth, our mother, some of the bounteous energy and fertility She gives to us.

Meditate on the Moon-Hare, rabbits provide an obvious symbol of animal fertility and see what comes to you about literal or creative fertility in your own life.

Honor the spring or Earth goddess or god of your choice, or a goddess or god of balance.

Light a bonfire at dawn on the Equinox to honor the light half of the year.

Meditate or perform ritual at dawn or sunset.

Meditate or perform ritual for balance in your life and in the earth’s life.

Do a ritual denoting the passing of the year’s dark half.

Use the energy of the time of year as you would the first quarter of the moon. You can use the energy of this time of year to fuel any new project or goal.

Meditate on beginnings, on the East, on air, on dawn. In meditation, note how these symbols connect organically and how you relate personally to them.

Taking a long walk in nature with no intent other than reflecting on the Magick of nature and our Great Mother and her bounty.

If you don’t do your spring cleaning at Imbolc it is an ideal time to clean your home to welcome the new season.

Offerings of food and milk are left for the fairies and other spirits who live in and around rocks and are responsible for the fertility of the land. Leave a few fruits from the last harvest for the nature spirits.

Symbolism of Ostara:
Renewed promise of life, The Union of the Goddess and the God, Fertility, and dispensing of the old and making way for the new.
Resurrection of life , The Season of Rebirth

Symbols of Imbolc:
Eggs, bunnies, new moon, butterflies, cocoons, dragons, flowers, trees.

Deities of Eostar :
All Youthful and Virile Gods and Goddesses, Sun Gods, Mother Goddesses, Love Goddesses, Moon Gods and Goddesses, and all Fertility Deities including Persephone, Blodeuwedd, Eostre, Aphrodite, Athena, Gaia, Cybele, Hera, Isis, Ishtar, Minerva, Venus, Robin of the Woods, the Green Man, Cernunnos, Lord of the Greenwood, The Dagda, Attis, The Great Horned God, Mithras, Odin, Thoth, Osiris, and Pan.

Colors:
Lemon yellow, pale green, and pale pink. Other appropriate colors include green, all pastels, Robin’s egg blue, violet, and white.

Ostara Foods:
Eggs, egg salad, hard-boiled eggs, honey cakes, first fruits of the season, fish, cakes, biscuits, cheeses, honey and ham. You may also include foods made of seeds, such as sunflower, pumpkin and sesame seeds, as well as pine nuts. Sprouts are equally appropriate, as are leafy, green vegetables.

Herbs :
Daffodil, Jonquils, Woodruff, Violet, Gorse, acorn, celandine, cinquefoil, dandelion, dogwood, honeysuckle (woodbine), jasmine, rose, tansy, violet.Olive, Peony, Iris, Narcissus, crocuses, Irish moss, snowdrops, ginger, and all spring flowers.

Incense:
Jasmine, frankincense, myrrh, dragon’s blood, cinnamon, nutmeg, aloes wood, benzoin, musk, African violet, sage, strawberry, lotus, violet flowers, orange peel, or rose petals.

Sacred Gemstone:
Amethyst, aquamarine, bloodstone, red jasper rose quartz, and moonstone

Spellwork for Ostara:
Spellwork for improving communication and group interaction are recommended, as well as fertility, balance, and abundance

Animals and mythical beasts:
Rabbits, snakes, unicorns, merpeople, and pegasus

Tarot Cards:
High Priestess

Taboos:
Ostara is a time to wear your new clothes. It was considered bad luck to wear anything old on Easter/Ostara

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Mindful Walking

Walking meditation is a simple way to connect with your spirit and Mother Earth in a very grounded way.

Many of us take the benefits of walking for granted. Each day we limit the steps we take by driving or sitting for long periods of time. But walking even a few blocks a day has unlimited benefits — not only for our health, but our spirit as well, for as we walk, we connect with the earth.

Even when walking on concrete, the earth is still beneath us, supporting us. Walking lets our body remember simpler times, when life was less complicated. This helps us slow down to the speed of our body and take the time to integrate the natural flow of life into our cellular tissue. Instead of running from place to place or thinking about how much more we can fit into our day, walking allows us to exist in the moment.

Each step we take can lead us to becoming more mindful of ourselves and our feelings. Walking slows us down enough not only to pay attention to where we are in our body, but also to our breath. Taking time to simply notice our breath while we walk, through the length of our inhales and exhales, and becoming attuned to the way in which we breathe is taking a step towards mindfulness. When we become more mindful, we gradually increase our awareness of the environment around us and start to recognize that the normal flow of our thoughts and feelings are not always related to where we are in the present moment. Gradually we realize that the connection we have with the earth and the ground beneath our feet is all that is. By walking and practicing breathing mindfully we gain a sense of calm and tranquility — the problems and troubles of the day slowly fade away because we are in the ‘now’.

The simplicity and ease of a walking practice allows us to create time, space and awareness of our surroundings and of the wonders that lie within. Taking a few moments to walk each day and become more aware of our breath will in turn open the door for the beauty of the world around us to filter in.

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Disconnecting from the Source

Sometimes we purposefully, though unconsciously, cut ourselves off from the flow and the embrace of humanity so we can avoid dealing with painful issues.

We all experience periods where we feel separated from the loving ebb and flow of the universe. These times of feeling disconnected from the source may occur for many reasons, but self-sabotage is the most common cause for us choosing to cut ourselves off from the flow of the universe. We purposefully, though often unconsciously, cut ourselves off from this flow and from the embrace of humanity so we can avoid dealing with painful issues, shun the necessary steps for growth, or prevent the success that we are afraid of achieving from ever happening. When you choose to disconnect from the source, you block the flow of the universe’s energy from passing through you. You become like a sleepwalker who is not fully awake to life, and your hopes, plans, and dreams begin to appear as distant blurs on a faraway horizon. Universal support has never left you, but if you can remember that you became disconnected from source by choice, you can choose to reconnect.

Reconnecting with the universe grounds you and is as easy as you making a concerted effort to become interested in the activities you love or responding to what nurtures or stimulates you. You may also want to make a list of the activities and kinds of experiences that touch your soul. Try to pinpoint the times when you have felt fully engaged and aware and ask yourself what you were doing. But one of the easiest ways to reconnect is simply by stating the intention of doing so.

When you disconnect from the universe, your sense of purpose, creativity, and ability to be innovative are not as easy to access. You may also experience a deep and empty sense of longing or feel devoid of ideas or unworthy of love. It’s important, however, to recognize that being disconnected from the universe is never a permanent state, and it can be reversed any time you decide that you are ready to reconnect. When you are connected to the universe, all aspects of your being will feel alive as the flow of the universe pours through your being and into your life.

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The Druid’s Garden
Daily Rituals and Personal Daily Practices

by Dana

Daily practices form the foundation of any nature-based spiritual or neopagan path. Daily practices give us a chance to dedicate regular time to our spirituality, to slow down and connect with nature, to protect ourselves from the daily energetic onslaught that is the 21st century, and to practice reverence and gratitude. Each person’s daily practices are likely to be different, and as you walk the path of nature-based spirituality, the practices may also grow and shift as you deepen your work. In this post, I’ll share my thoughts about developing and maintaining a daily spiritual practice—different options, goals, and opportunities.

Daily Practices: Core Elements
There’s a pretty wide range of things you can accomplish with daily practices. I would argue that a good set of daily practices should, at minimum, help you do the following:

Offer energetic protection for daily life
Practice connection with nature / yourself / spirit / deity
Practice energetic cleansing
Practice gratitude, offering, and reverence
Additional things you might want to include are:

Engage in daily creative practices
Practice various kinds of energy balancing
Practice stillness and focus
Offer daily grounding and centering
Divination practices

I would argue that daily practices are the gateway and foundation to everything else. If you build the foundation of your connection, balance, and focus through daily practices, then you will be able to accomplish many other goals in your spiritual life.

Also, one carefully designed practice may be able to accomplish many points above. That is, if you do daily energetic working, it can provide protection, grounding, and energy balancing. If you go out in nature, even for 5-10 minutes, you can practice gratitude, stillness, focus, mediation, and do some cleansing. So first, start figuring out what you really need to accomplish each day and then consider how you might get there.

Daily Ritual Practices
The AODA’s Sphere of Protection in a Tree The AODA’s Sphere of Protection in a Tree

Many spiritual traditions have some kind of ceremonial or ritual practice that is done daily. Given the challenges we are facing today, I would suggest to always doing a practice that offers grounding and protection at the bare minimum–this will help you in so many ways as you go about daily life.

If you belong to a druid order or other organization that has a set of core practices, you may already have one or more practices that fit this. The Ancient Order of Druids in America suggests daily meditation, a daily Sphere of Protection, and regular time in nature. The Order of Bards, Ovates, and Druids use the LIght Body exercise (this is energizing but not protective, so OBOD druids should practice something else for protection).

I use the AODA’s Sphere of Protection (SOP) as one of my primarily daily practice for grounding, balancing, and protection. The Sphere of Protection works with a seven-element system (Earth-Air-Fire-Water-Above-Below-Within). It invokes the four elements in their positive form and banishes the four elements in their negative form and also protects you. What I like about the SOP is that it not only offers me a powerful protection that takes about 5 minutes a day, it also provides an elemental balancing, which helps me maintain my stability in today’s chaos. Further, I use it to protect not only myself but our homestead and our animals each day.

The other ritual practice I use daily–at the end of the day–is a smoke cleansing practice combined with meditation. These two practices help me “bookend” my day–I’ll share more about that approach below.

Meditation
Meditation is a critical part of any spiritual path and can provide a wide range of benefits that are mental, physical, and spiritual. Most forms of meditation include breathwork and focusing the mind (which could be empty mind, focusing on something like a candle, discursive meditation). Meditation can also be movement-based (like walking meditation) or even more in-depth, like spirit journeying. You can see more details about different forms of meditation in my Druid’s Meditation Primer.

If you want to hear the spirits of nature, connect deeply with the spirit world, connect to your own creativity, have more effective rituals, and accomplish many other things–committing to a daily meditation practice is the necessary path to getting there. Meditation helps your mind become a powerful tool for any other work you want to do and is the foundation for everything else. Without meditation, you will continue to struggle to accomplish the basics because you have not trained your mind–think of this as a marathon. Do you want to run a marathon? Better practice every day and build up to it. Mediation is daily training for your mind. I really can’t stress this point enough.

Druids Anchor Spot: Time in Nature
A place to come to meditate daily–the druid’s anchor spot and a nature mandala made in gratitude

The third part of my own daily triad is regular time spent in nature. My philosophy about this is tied to something I call a Druid’s Anchor Spot (a similar practice that the bushcraft and wilderness awareness communities call a “sit spot”). An Anchor Spot is a place that you go to that is extremely easy to access (e.g. right outside your door, a 5 minute walk away) that you can visit ideally on a daily or very regular basis.

The Druids Anchor Spot practice can be as simple or as layered as you want it to be. On the most basic level, you go to your Anchor spot and spend a little time there. I like to spend time observing with all of my senses: attending to my sight, hearing, sense of smell, touch, and even taste (you might catch me nibbling on some Eastern hemlock needles, for example). I also like to take a moment to check in with the genius loci, the spirit of the land, as well as other land spirits I am in contact with. We might converse, do a short ritual, etc. Sometimes I walk around the space and other times I simply sit. I also like to set shared intentions with the space (e.g. what do we want to accomplish in the coming season?) and also do regular ritual work there. Even if I only have five minutes or there is a storm, I still make a point to visit for a few moments each day.

The other thing I do here daily is to offer some gratitude. I have a hand-grown and harvested offering blend; I share a bit of this and offer my gratitude to the living earth and the spirits. I have also built a shrine for making offerings and doing ritual work. The space continues to evolve over time–this is also a central part of my land healing practices, so in addition to simply being present in the spot, I am working to physically heal the space.

Integration into Daily Life
As described above, you can see I essentially have a triad of practices–one that happens at the beginning of the day (SOP), one after I am done with work (Anchor Spot), and one that happens before I go to sleep (smoke cleansing and meditation). These practices took a while to develop and a while to integrate into my life. I’ve had many false starts and changes along the way, so I also wanted to share some ideas for how to get to the point where you have a regular, daily practice.

Calling up the sunrise with the Sphere of Protection in early spring with the geese Calling up the sunrise with the Sphere of Protection last fall

One of the questions people often ask is–how do I actually build this into my day? My response is–how did you learn to brush your teeth? The principle is actually really similar: the goal is to create a habituated practice. This is one that you almost automatically do, and you are so used to doing it that you simply do it. That’s the end goal.

To get there, you want to think about a few things. First, consider how your overall day is structured and where it would be more seamless to build in those small moments. A daily practice doesn’t have to take a lot of time–it can take as little as 5-10 minutes and you can always build from there. Find places that you might already have habituated or required practices and see if you can add a spiritual practice where you already have that time set aside. Also think about what would make the most sense for you in terms of practices based on the structure of your day.

Another thing that I have found very helpful is to really think about the transition points of the day–what does your beginning of the day look like? What might you build in there that helps launch you into the day? Do you have or need a transition point after a certain point in the day? What about your end of the day? Do you have a place to ‘wrap up’ for the day and transition to a good Dreamtime? If you can find those key transition points, and really work them to your advantage, then that is one way of making this all happen.

Finally, I think it’s important to understand your own nature. Some people are very schedule driven and developing a daily routine is fairly straightforward. Other people are more whimsical and find it really hard to have a routine or even resist routines (I happen to be one of these people). So you really have to work with yourself and show yourself some grace as you are working to establish daily practices.

Dana’s Example
To show you how this all first together, I’ll share my daily practice. As I mentioned, these have undergone a lot of evolution and if I had a different lifestyle, I know they would look very different. I also make allowances for myself–if I’m sick, traveling, etc, some of these would obviously be adapted. But I still try to make sure I do something every day.

Beginning of the Day and Sphere of Protection Ritual. Becuase I live on a 5-acre homestead, every day, I have animal care and farm chores in the morning. Since I have this thing I literally do every day, I always do my Sphere of Protection at the end of my homestead chores. After the physical work of feeding, watering and tending the animals, I let the animals out and then I perform my SOP. It also allows me to offer energetic protection to the land and the animals–and it allows them to participate as well.

Then, I will go about my day. When I finish my work for the day, I have found that I need a good transition point for whatever comes next, and that’s where the Druid’s Anchor Spot comes in. After working, I like to just unwind a bit by walking our land, walking meditation, observing, and then spending time in my anchor spot. The time in nature is much less structured than my other daily practices. I might find myself wandering, wondering, and simply creating the time to be present with the living earth. There’s a lot of value in unstructured spiritual time.

After my time in nature, I will again go about my evening. At least 4-5 days a week, that will include spending an hour or more in my art studio or doing some writing, dedicating time to my creative practices. Then, before bed (and before I get too tired!) I will do my end-of-day meditation and smoke cleansing. I like to do the smoke cleansing at the end of the day so that I’m not dragging any difficulty from the day into my dreaming (and I do practice sacred and intentional dreaming so that matters). Thus, I very intentionally clear any stress, problems, etc, that I’ve built up through the day with the smoke cleansing (I cleanse with my own herbal sticks that I make). Then will do some meditation before winding down for the evening.

Building Up
I think in the hustle and bustle of daily life, developing these practices is really critical. Its so easy to get lost in the quagmire of modern living and all of the insanity that it brings. Like an anchor dropped on stormy seas, daily practices help you weather the storm, build your resilience and focus, and provide you with tools that can help you strengthen your own spiritual practice for years to come.

I would also say, allow yourself to shift and grow as you deepen your practice. Find something that works for you right now, in this moment. If your life changes or you have a new awareness or need something new, then by all means, change your practice to something that fits. Just keep in mind the larger goals of what you want to accomplish. For example, frequently, I also do daily divination, but right now as I’m the early stages of creating a new divination deck, I’m staying away from other divination systems and simply allowing that new deck to come through! Once the deck is a little further along, I’ll probably return to daily divination.

As we wrap up for today, I would love to hear examples of other ways that individuals have built daily practices into their lives. Please share so we can learn from your wisdom.

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There is Only Now

Being present lets us experience each moment in our lives in a way that cannot be fully lived through memory or fantasy.

It can be easy for us to walk through the world and our lives without really being present. While dwelling on the past and living for the future are common pastimes, it is physically impossible to live anywhere but the present moment. We cannot step out our front door and take a left turn to May of last year, any more than we can take a right turn to December 2025. Nevertheless, we can easily miss the future we are waiting for as it becomes the now we are too busy to pay attention to. We then spend the rest of our time playing “catch up” to the moment that we just let pass by. During moments like these, it is important to remember that there is only Now.

In order to feel more at home in the present moment, it is important to try to stay aware, open, and receptive. Being in the present moment requires our full attention so that we are fully awake to experience it. When we are fully present, our minds do not wander. We are focused on what is going on right now, rather than thinking about what just happened or worrying about what is going to happen next. Being present lets us experience each moment in our lives in a way that cannot be fully lived through memory or fantasy.

When we begin to corral our attention into the present moment, it can be almost overwhelming to be here. There is a state of stillness that has to happen that can take some getting used to, and the mind chatter that so often gets us into our heads and out of the present moment doesn’t have as much to do. We may feel a lack of control because we aren’t busy planning our next move, assessing our current situation, or anticipating the future. Instead, being present requires that we be flexible, creative, attentive, and spontaneous. Each present moment is completely new, and nothing like it has happened or will ever happen again. As you move through your day, remember to stay present in each moment. In doing so, you will live your life without having to wait for the future or yearn for the past. Life happens to us when we happen to live in the Now.

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Irish Soda Bread
It’s everyone’s favorite for St. Patrick’s Day, after all.
By Kara Zauberman

You don’t need to be a skilled baker to make Irish soda bread—heck, you don’t even need to be Irish! All it takes is a few staple ingredients and a cast-iron skillet to make this traditional Irish recipe. That’s right, there’s no yeast required and no waiting for the dough to rise. Come March, you’ll want to bake it for your St. Patrick’s Day celebration, but it’s also a delicious treat all year round. And since soda bread is a type of quick bread (similar to zucchini bread or pumpkin bread), it takes very little work to make it. In fact, from start to finish, this whole recipe can be made in just under an hour. Before you know it, you’ll have a gorgeous golden loaf to snack on while you sip an Irish coffee.

The secret to this delicious soda bread is to use a mix of all-purpose and cake flour (which gives it a lighter crumb). The texture will like a cross between a typical quick bread and a scone or biscuit. If you don’t have cake flour, check out these flour substitutes, and use a mix of all-purpose flour and a little corn starch.

Another trick: use a cast iron pan. “Cast iron gets screaming hot,” Ree Drummond says, “so it’s perfect for giving biscuits, rolls and other breads a beautiful crust.” Of course, if you’re in a pinch, you can bake the soda bread on a sheet pan lined with parchment, too. Whatever you do, be sure to enjoy it warm with a good slathering of butter (Irish butter, that is!).

Is Irish soda bread really Irish?

Believe it or not, the first people to make soda bread were Native Americans. They used a natural form of soda to help make the bread rise without the use of yeast. It wasn’t until baking soda became readily available in the mid 1800s that the Irish began baking it. That’s not to say that it didn’t become a popular recipe for many Irish families—the humble bread quickly became a household staple that’s often baked for St. Patrick’s Day.

What does Irish soda bread taste like?

Soda bread has a mild flavor, similar to biscuits, with a bit of tang from the buttermilk. In Ireland, Irish soda bread recipes are often made with currants rather than raisins (some Irish people call it “currant bread”), but currants aren’t always easy to find, so this recipe calls for a mix of golden raisins and dried cranberries to give it that touch of sweetness.

How do you eat Irish soda bread?

Soda bread is best served warm, right out of the oven, or toasted in slices the next day. You can enjoy it for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or even as a special St. Patrick’s Day dessert! It’s great on its own but even better when served with butter and jam. You can also try it with a slice of cheese and leftover corned beef, or serve it with a hearty soup recipe or beef stew—it’s perfect for dunking!

YIELDS:
12 servings
PREP TIME:
0 hours 15 mins
COOK TIME:
0 hours 55 mins
TOTAL TIME:
1 hour 10 mins

Ingredients
2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 c. cake flour (or substitute 1 cup all-purpose flour plus 2 tablespoons cornstarch)
1/4 c. sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 stick cold salted butter, cut into pieces
1 large egg
1 1/2 c. buttermilk
1/2 c. golden raisins
1/2 c. dried cranberries

Directions
Preheat the oven to 375°. In the bowl of a mixer, combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Using your fingers, work 4 tablespoons cold butter into the flour until the butter is in small bits.

In a separate small bowl, whisk the egg into the buttermilk and pour into the flour mixture. Using the paddle attachment, mix on low speed for a few turns, until the dough is barely incorporated; there will still be some dry flour in the bowl. Add the raisins and cranberries and bring the dough together with your hands, kneading until the dough comes together and there aren’t any dry bits of flour left.

Form the dough into a round and place in a medium-size cast-iron pan. With a sharp knife, cut a large X on the top of the dough (this will help it bake through). Bake for 50 to 55 minutes, until the top is golden brown and the bread sounds hollow when you tap on it.

Melt the remaining 4 tablespoons butter. Remove the pan from the oven and brush the top of the bread with the melted butter.

)0(

Coach Gilberto
by Stephen Halpert
Chapter 2

Gilberto walked into his new office and frowned. It was a very small room with a narrow wooden table, a folding metal chair and a dented, rickety metal file cabinet.
Gone was his large teak desk, two comfy leather club chairs, a ‘fridge for entertaining other Atlas executives, the long work table, a wall of maps and computer print outs.
He noticed an old-fashioned rotary phone without a visible outlet, out of date and useless.
The table had one small drawer. It seemed stuck shut. All that awaited him on the table was a student roster and some sporting goods catalogues. At least there was a window overlooking the playing fields and the nearly completed gym.
He took his phone from his jacket and called Maria. She would be back from the airport, where she had picked up Mona and Boris the Afghan killer.
“Hi,” she sounded weary. “How’s your first day at Houndstooth?”
“Just hope not to hit my head getting into this office.”
She chuckled. “That spacious, “huh?”
He sighed. “You could say so. Maybe it used to be a storage closet. But Ed Long assured me this was just temporary. Judging from the size of other faculty offices I’ll fit right in. How’s Mona?”
“Glad to be home. She and Boris are in her room watching Animal Planet. Oh, a woman named Hilda Slipkin called and invited us to a faculty party this Saturday at her and her husband’s condo. He’s Alvin Slipkin, head of the history department. They live on Beacon Street just over the Brookline line. I graciously accepted.”
He nodded. Somehow everything felt too small, especially the direction of his life. “I hope this works out.”
“You sound dubious?”
“You think?”
“Yes, I think.”
She sighed. “Gilberto major adjustments take time. Soon you’ll be outside coaching your soccer guys. That should be fun for you. Plus, Ramon will be there. It will be like old times for you both.”
A momentary memory of him and Ramon waving their silver cup amidst cheers from a bevy of excited young women flashed in his mind. But that was then. He and Maria signed off. There was a knock on his office door. A slightly portly, middle aged woman with red hair that reminded him of Lucy on tv, sparkling blue eyes, a gap between her two front teeth and a winning smile came in. She smiled. “I’m Harriet Conners your temporary secretary.”
Secretary, he thought, for what? She sat on one of the folding chairs and held a notebook, her pen poised for dictation.
He smiled politely. “I don’t have any dictation for you.”
She looked disappointed. “Oh dear, Headmaster Long told me to take care of all of your needs.”
He nodded. “How about a desk and a phone that works and schedules of athletic events plus backgrounds of all student athletes.”
She nodded. “Sounds like a plan.” Her take charge attitude reminded him of Diana Rain. “I’ll get maintenance over here to hook up a phone. I don’t know about a desk. The table is better than stacked cardboard cartons.”
He smiled. “Yes, much better than cardboard cartons.”
Another knock on his door. Ramon Gomez walked in. He smiled. “Back to school.”
Gilberto introduced him to Harriet.
Ramon looked around then briefly smiled at Harriet and turned back to Gilberto. “At least you have an office. I only got a locker. But Headmaster Long assured me it was only temporary. More to the point there’s a state soccer cup. Up for grabs, both varsity and JV. Once we field a team we can sign up, and you’ve Joey for his senior year.”
Gilberto nodded. He looked at Harriet and smiled. ” I know you’ll be a big help.”
She sighed. “Seeing that table made me think of poor Mr. Willabee.” She shook her head. “He jumped off the bridge right in the middle of graduation week. Caused quite a stir. You can imagine how poor Headmaster Long felt. All those parents and friends and then the police making inquiries.”
Gilberto nodded. “Any idea why he jumped?”
Harriet shook her head no. “Nobody knew. It was just one of those things that remains unexplainable.”
“How long ago,” Ramon asked?
“Oh, a good ten, twelve years at least. What made me think of it was that that was his work table.”
The table was scuffed, and it wobbled. There were initials carved into one corner.
“He’d sit there and make notations too small for anyone to read. But the boys loved him. He had a way with the boys.” She nodded and made a notation. “I’ll see about a real desk for you.”
His phone rang. Maria again. “I’ll make this quick. I know how busy you are. But while she was in Florida, Mona emailed a pic of Boris to a Miami talent agency. They just called and want to consider Boris for a tv series they’re planning.”
“Will Mona be in it too?”
“I’m not sure. The woman I spoke to was very brisk and seemed efficient, but she couldn’t tell me anything. Apparently, someone will be calling next week to set up an appointment to meet Boris.”
“Mona’s excited?”
“More than that,” Maria chuckled. “Right now, she’s buffing his nails.”
Gilberto chuckled. “My new secretary reminds me of you. When I asked her about getting a real desk instead of this table, she said what I have is better than putting up with cardboard cartons.”
“I’ll have to meet her. I know you’ll love it there. Just like Mr. Chips with a Latino accent.”
“Who?”
Oh, it was a movie from back in the thirties. He was a beloved teacher who devoted his life to the school where he taught.”
The idea of devoting his life to Houndstooth made his stomach lurch. He signed off, and he and Ramon left for lunch.
“You’ll be a great coach,” Ramon insisted over a tall lager. We’ll rack up championships the way we used to.”
“But that was then, and I question putting expectations like that on these kids.”
“May as well,” Ramon sounded philosophical. “That’s why we’re here.”
Gilberto frowned. Thank God he had money in the bank. “I’m afraid Atlas spoiled me.”
Ramon nodded. “Me too. But I figure God put us here for a purpose and like Rosa says, ultimately we work for God.”
“That’s what she says?”
Ramon nodded. “Rosa thinks we’re on a great mission.”
Their lunches arrived and they dug in. Gilberto had ordered a Rubin laced with Swiss cheese, hot peppers and Russian dressing. Ramon went for the fried shrimp basket.
“Our second childhood,” Ramon smiled.
“And all we have to do is win cups,” Gilberto said. “Once we’ve fielded a team. But that shouldn’t be too difficult.”
“It’s all up to God,” Ramon said. “Or so Rosa would say.”
Gilberto nodded and smiled. “I never knew He coached soccer.”

)0(

Kitty Kat’s Korner
=^..^=

DIY Kitty Cork Toys
By Annie Butler Shirreffs

I love watching my cats being mighty hunters — and looking really silly as they bat a toy around the house. I found these fun cork cat toys online and thought I’d give them a try. They’re really easy to make and the cats love them.

What you’ll need:
Wine corks (if you’re not a wine drinker, you can find these at your local craft store)
E6000 epoxy glue
Scissors
Trimmings — feathers, pipe cleaners, jute, raffia, etc.

Instructions
Steam the wine corks for a few minutes to soften them up.

Use scissors to make a hole about 1 inch deep into the corks. You might need to do a little twisting to make the hole big enough.

Twist the trimmings around each other to make a point, then roll the twisted ends in enough epoxy to make the point fine.

Apply a little more epoxy into the hole in the cork, then place the pointed ends of the trimmings into the hole.

Let the toys dry completely before giving them to your cats to play with.

)0(

Georgia Nicols Weekly Horoscope
Sunday, March 13, 2022

All Signs
This week has challenges that will affect people’s emotions. Unfortunately, it will be easy to express displeasure and overreact to things. (“Not me!”) It will also be harder to be independent and do your own thing. In addition, as the week progresses, energy will build up to the Full Moon on Friday, which happily, will be an easier Full Moon because it is the opposition of Moon in Virgo with the Sun in Pisces. (Some Full Moons are easier than others.) Without question, my advice for the week is to “go along to get along.” Patience is a virtue. Therefore, tread carefully. Be patient. Be kind. Be tolerant. And remember that what the big print giveth, the small print taketh away.

Aries (March 21-April 19)
This will be a challenging week because you might feel a bit powerless. (It will be two steps forward and one step back kinda thing, which is better than one step forward and two steps back.) It’s an axiomatic truth that there is always better and there’s always worse. Fortunately, friends will be supportive to you this week. However, you might feel competitive with someone, either an individual or a group. By the end of the week, the Full Moon on Friday might create angst dealing with pets, your health or your coworkers. But hey, the light at the end of the tunnel is on Sunday when the Sun enters Aries to stay for four weeks. Yeehaw!

Taurus (April 20-May 20)
This is a popular time for you! You are active with groups as well as younger people. Your ambition is aroused and bosses, parents and VIPs are favourably disposed to you. Having said that, you will encounter some speed bumps dealing with everyone this week. Romance will be rocky. Relations with your kids might be challenged, especially Thursday and Friday. Even though authority figures have your back, they will want you to ask for permission or forgiveness. (Oh yeah. There’s no free lunch.) Respect their authority or someone might go full Godfather on you. (Never underestimate the power of courtesy.)

Gemini (May 21-June 20)
As it will be for everyone, this is a challenging week for you, too. Fortunately, you have the edge because the Sun is at the top of your chart casting you in a flattering spotlight. (It’s important to look good at a distance.) Avoid controversial subjects like politics, religion and racial issues because this is just asking for trouble. Why even go there? (Don’t get even – get odd.) As the week progresses, you will feel pulled between the demands of home and family and the demands of your career and your external world. That’s because of the Full Moon energy. With this particular Full Moon, you can’t ignore your public persona. Smile for the camera.

Cancer (June 21-July 22)
You will find this week challenging because you’re in a freedom-loving mode. You want to travel. You want to do what you want to do. You want to go places! You also want to explore new avenues in publishing, higher education and the media as well as medicine and the law. The problem is you will meet with obstacles and delays in your attempts to pursue these opportunities. In fact, by Thurs./Fri., at the time of the Full Moon, it’s an accident-prone time for you, which means slow down and pay attention to everything you say and do. (It’s time to send out for dark chocolate and listen to “Wide Open Spaces”.)

Leo (July 23-Aug. 22)
This week you have a strong focus on money, cash flow and especially, your responsibilities for someone else that affect your financial scene. You are also gathering papers and getting ready to deal with taxes, debt and insurance issues. (This stuff doesn’t go away on its own.) Fortunately, you are royalty. You are strong and indomitable, which means you can deal with whatever is in your path. One step at a time. (Ignore that ominous sonar beep.) It’s important to be calm and patient with others because Mars is opposite your sign and this can trigger relationships glitches with those who are closest to you. Fortunately, Venus is also opposite your sign, which will help ameliorate difficulties. Make nice with everyone.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22)
Whoa Nellie! You’re in work mode, which means you will get a lot done and others will be supportive. This applies to your job, your dealings with a pet, as well as anything related to your health. (It’s fortunate that you have the energy to work; and that others will be helpful to you.) However, be aware that this week, your challenge will be with close friends, spouses and partners. Obviously, patience will be your best ally. And you will need to be patient with others as Friday approaches bringing the only Full Moon in your sign all year! (Gulp!) Stay chill. You’ve got this. Alice Walker said, “The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.”

Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22)
This might be an exhausting week for you because you’re attempting to do a lot. You’re busting your buns working hard, as well as dealing with social situations and matters related to sports and the entertainment world. (Even romance will be challenging.) Remember: You’re a people pleaser, and you try to be all things to all people, which is impossible. Ironically, if you just please yourself, you’ll cover most of the bases anyway. It easy to get hung up on priorities, especially sorting out the people in your life. Remember – when the plane hits the tarmac, coach arrives at the same time as first-class. Keep it simple.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21)
This week you’re full of playful, fun-loving energy, and your creative juices are flowing! This will trigger social situations, sports events and activities with your kids. Meanwhile, you’ve got increased chaos and activity on the home front. So, the bases are loaded. Get as much done as possible at home; and be patient with family members. Redecorating and tweaking your digs will appeal. (When you decide to get stuff done – you’re a machine!) You might find that as the week progresses, and the Full Moon on Friday approaches, difficulties with kids and romantic partners will intensify. Fortunately, after the Full Moon peaks, these same problems will diminish and sometimes they even disappear!

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 21)
Your energy is strong with respect to home, family and your private life this week. Nevertheless, you’re out there flying your colours and you’re direct in your communications with others. Fortunately, fair Venus will soften your words. Venus will also help you appreciate your daily surroundings, which is important (and a value that many people underestimate). Despite this focus on your private world, ironically, you are high viz., which means people notice you more than usual, plus they seem to know about your private life. Expect to feel pulled between the demands of home and family versus the demands of your career and public reputation. You will definitely feel this by Friday. Stay chill. You cannot ignore home and family.

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 19)
This is a fast-paced week and a squirrely one! You’ve got things to do, places to go and people to see. Short trips, appointments, errands plus increased reading and writing are some reasons you are hopping! You also have a strong focus on finances and earnings. Meanwhile, many of you are spending money on beautiful things for yourself and loved ones. Be careful this week because it is a mildly accident-prone time for you. The Full Moon energy will build slowly until Friday, and this could create arguments with others as well as accident-prone situations driving, cycling, walking and jogging. Therefore, be alert! By the weekend, a shift happens. (“What? I thought I was on days?”)

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 18)
This is a high-energy week for you because fiery Mars is in your sign, along with fair Venus and stern Saturn. If possible, any kind of physical energy will benefit you this week because it will give you a chance to blow off any pent-up steam building up within your system. (Working with electronics is also good for your electrical system as well.) Check the Moon Alerts in my daily columns so that you can confidently shop for wardrobe goodies for yourself. Meanwhile, prepare for some financial challenges this week that intensify until Friday. The good news is that after the Full Moon peaks on Friday, these challenges will mellow immediately. (Whew!)

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20)
This week there’s good news and there’s bad news. The bad news is that there is a lot of lunar oppositions taking place this week; in particular, as the week progresses the energy “against” your sign will increase until the Full Moon occurs on Friday – it being the only Full Moon opposite your sign all year. Naturally, this will create situations where you find yourself at odds with others. You might be impatient with partners and close friends. They might be impatient with you. Arguments could occur. The best way to handle this is to demonstrate tolerance, kindness and patience because after all, who wants to be miserable? No one! The good news is the Sun, Mercury, Jupiter and Neptune are all in your sign, which is a blessing as well as an empowering energy. (“The Force is strong in this one.”)

)0(

Weekly Horoscopes Beginning Sunday, 13 March 2022


If you’re born within a cusp period (16 to 26 of any month); you’re advised to read horoscopes of both signs covered by that period. You’re on the border; you may have influences from houses within those signs.

Outlines are longer versions; consist of every possible detail of everyday and are based on three parts of each sign: 1st, 2nd & 3rd Decan; that is, any of three divisions of 10° within a sign of the zodiac. Even if you know or don’t know your Decan; I recommend, please read all three Decan.


Aries
Personal theme: I am!!
Fire & cardinal sign: March 21 — April 19

Your horoscope for this week:

You’re probably not be in the mood to rely on others to deal with matters you’d handle more swiftly. The fact is, they’re better informed. What’s more, you’re facing situations as complex as they are sensitive. Understandably, you’re eager to find a quick solution; but these can’t be rushed. Once you accept that, and adopt a slower pace, things will begin to fall into place magically.

The last thing you feel like is dealing with tension between two friends or two members of the family. It this seems likely you’ll be doing your best to stop it dead. The more peaceful and relaxed your surroundings, the happier you will be. You’re quietly confident about your plans for the middle of March although you will make sure you don’t take on anything you can’t finish. If you’ve neglected getting in touch with family overseas, why don’t you make an effort now to make amends?

It would be wise not to underestimate the power of Friday’s (18th) Full Moon. It coincides with other aspects suggesting that strong emotional responses are more likely than not and that these could be powerful and indeed at some level – almost awesome. High probability is that you will be exasperated with those who’ve failed to understand the practicalities of implemented changes. These may not be working well and the ensuing chaos likely – at least to your mind, – entirely predictable. Yet you may have underestimated how much you can do so could be guilty at another level. Aries isn’t noted for being practical. If you do have a tendency to play at being superhuman, then it’s likely that you have taken on too much. In yelling at others, you might think about taking yourself to task. The art is surely to focus again on efficiency and developing what are known as atomic habits: small changes that make all the difference.


Taurus
Personal theme: I have!!
Earth & fixed sign: April 20 — May 20

Your horoscope for this week:

Since early March you’ve been trying to find a way around both tricky issues and, even more, the stubborn refusal by certain individuals even to discuss rethinking recent arrangements. For now, back off. Sudden events triggered by your ruler Venus’s clash with Uranus, planet of breakthroughs, on the 19th, will dramatically alter both circumstances and your own priorities. After that, things will fall into place magically.

There’s an urgent need to make some changes in a close relationship in order to keep in touch with each other. You and a partner may not want to part but passion is waning due to your constant squabbling. Something is causing tension between you and this needs to be resolved. The less you say at this time the better you will get on. Plan ahead and be ready for opportunities that are about to come your way.

Venus and Mars continue to travel over the career point of your solar chart. Relationships and building unions will likely take up much of your attention. It’s likely crucial that you ally with those who are diligent and who have proven record for maintaining pace and achieving goals. In the first half of the week, you may find that one of these individuals puts forward a proposal that is highly creative and which initially appears to be cutting corners. It probably isn’t and is more about smoothing the path ahead. By mid-week you should feel you’re ‘off to the races’ so that by the time you get to Friday’s powerful Full Moon, you are clear that you’ve turned a corner. That this corner will also bring increased workload, will likely not dismay you. Note that there will be a solar eclipse in your sign in just a few weeks, and that you may be ready to turn a new page.


Gemini
Personal theme: I think!!
Air sign: May 21 — June 20

Your horoscope for this week:

Last week, your ruler Mercury moved into the most decisive angle of your chart, triggering a period during which you’ve both turned existing plans into action but, equally, unexpected discussions are proving amazingly fruitful. The challenge? Making plans, but ensuring they’re flexible enough to ride out changes between now and the end of the month. The secret? Forget about discussion. Quietly ensure plans are flexible.

Neighbours are happy to gossip but you won’t join in. Eve so you are hearing what some people have to say and you could end the week a lot wiser than when it began. Your relationship with an older relative could use some work. It will take more than one apology if you’ve upset someone recently. Whatever the reason, they will want to see you mean it when you say you’re sorry. A medical matter needs to be discussed with a professional.

Considerable planetary activity in an area of your solar chart that is all about higher education and extending thinking, should be exciting. Yet yours is a sign that tends not to dwell on details. This is where you could let yourself down. In the build-up to what promises to be powerful Full Moon on Friday 18th, emotions will surely come to the surface and decisions taken. It’s important that you present a good image and that you show you’ve understood the value of due diligence and efficiency. Whilst your presentation may be prettier than that of others, you have to ensure that the content is also solid. To this end, you might want to join forces with an Aquarius – or at least allow them to cast an eye over any work before you hand it in. Their editing skills should prove useful.


Cancer
Personal theme: I feel!!
Water & cardinal sign: June 21 — July 22

Your horoscope for this week:

If your instincts are telling you that both longstanding and more recent arrangements are due for a rethink, that’s true. While some are already on your mind, those triggered by the New Moon on Friday the 18th, will be as exciting as they are unexpected. Knowing they’re coming, ensure whatever you organise is flexible enough you can rethink it several times. Final arrangements? Not until early April.

It will be interesting to see if a new work system works as smoothly as a senior colleague is describing. You will be keeping the idea of re-introducing old routines you know work well, in reserve. Professional matters keep you engrossed and you will prefer not to become too involved in a team effort. You know your own views and don’t particularly want to debate them. Even so a one-to-one chat with a superior could prove interesting.

For the next 18 months, the accent on networking is even greater than usual. Expect, in the lead up to Friday’s Full Moon, for your name to be mentioned in dispatches. You will have to consider carefully just exactly how much you can afford to take on. The fact that you have a gift in certain directions also means that you likely need to be selective about where you use it. There’s high probability of you being asked to do something for nothing – perhaps for a charity. It might also be that someone wants to pick your brains and get assistance on how to do a presentation. While they may have all the ‘right’ words, their style could probably do with improvement; and yes, you could help – particularly with youngsters presenting homework or projects. All this boils down to one thing: that you really are a power behind others. That should be so apparent by Friday. You also need to be a power behind yourself and ensure that you don’t run out of fuel by taking on too much.


Leo
Personal theme: I will!!
Fire & fixed sign: July 23 — August 22

Your horoscope for this week:

You’re in no mood to handle details, especially if they’re dull. Yet not only are such matters unavoidable, what you learn while dealing with them will open your mind to completely unexpected ideas or encounters or options you’d previously dismissed. This may not seem the ideal moment for events of this nature. However, once things come together next week, it will all be crystal clear.

There is a way to reduce tension in your household. Avoid topics you can’t agree on and suggest doing things you all enjoy. Are you single? If you aren’t sure how to approach someone you are attracted to, get a conversation going then suggest meeting up again for a drink. Be prepared to work at keeping your relationships fresh and exciting. Keeping in touch with business contacts further afield will stand you in good stead in the future.

For the next 18 months, the Lunar Node passes over the apex of your solar chart. This is both a career and a property point. There is every likelihood of you altering direction. The seeds of all of this were sewn at least a year ago. Now it’s time for action. First though, it may be necessary to undertake space clearing. Before you move forward, you need to create the path. All that should be possible in the run-up to Friday’s Full Moon. This is no ordinary lunation in that it lies at right angle to the galactic centre. This suggests powerful forces at work – that become defining moments for many. You could yet be surprised by decisions taken by Cancer, Scorpio or Pisces colleagues who choose – almost at the last moment – to swim off in directions you’d never have anticipated. This though, could help you clear your path too.


Virgo
Personal theme: I analyse!!
Earth sign: August 23 — September 22

Your horoscope for this week:

True, you’ve been facing a range of tense issues and clashes since early March. However, that confusion will only increase until the pivotal Virgo Full Moon on Friday the 18th. The trick? Make plans but ensure they’re flexible enough you can explore various options without worrying about causing problems; and be patient. By the end of March, both circumstances and your plans will be in perfect order.

Instead of wasting time on a job that is giving you one problem after another, ask for help. If you’re struggling with anything, seek the advice of people who are qualified in this area. You are versatile and talented but you’re thinking about the need for proper training and qualifications. Join a class or sign up on a training course to get the structured kind of practice you need. Some big surprises are in store.

Friday’s Full Moon is the annual one in your sign. This particular lunation is at right angle to the galactic centre and in powerful formation with Pluto. All this suggests dynamic change but obviously affecting all signs. You could be quite discombobulated by decisions taken by others and yes, also wound up. Yet you presumably know yourself well, and know how to turn down your worry volume control. You perhaps also know that there are certain individuals who talk much but deliver little. Your role may be to assist them in streamlining their thinking and actions. You could, by Friday prove yourself invaluable. In fact, with your assistance, a space clearing project should gather momentum. It’s likely also that your profile will rise and yes, perhaps even lead to a job offer.


Libra
Personal theme: I balance!!
Air & cardinal sign: September 23 — October 22

Your horoscope for this week:

As you’ve probably already realised, you and the world around you are in a period of uncertainty, combined with excitement. Be wary of getting caught in debates about potential plans. With the foundation on which they’re based shifting until well into early April, ensure both arrangements and your thinking are flexible. Until then? Relax and continue to explore every idea or option that comes your way.

There’s no reason to feel ashamed because you want more freedom. You strive to be a good friend but taking responsibility for a weaker friend or partner is starting to make you feel resentful. The administrative task behind new procedures shouldn’t be underestimated. It takes a lot of time, effort and organising to get a big undertaking right. You could be playing a big part in putting new measures in place.

You’ve likely read elsewhere that Libra has a ‘lazy sub- personality’. You’d best address tendency in the run-up to Friday’s important Full Moon. Yes, it’s time to get your act together and to consider exactly what is holding you back. You could perhaps try an early spring clean. Making efficiency and organisation top priority would likely be more than therapeutic and push you on to promising career path. In just a few weeks’ time Jupiter will move into your opposite sign and things should really take off. Having a good and sound platform would be wise. Yet distractions may be plentiful. Take care in the first half of the week, that someone who’s not 100% doesn’t drain your battery pack. A further possibility is that you could be lost in a maze of design choices. If in doubt leave it to an expert.


Scorpio & Ophiuchus
Personal theme: I desire!!
Water & fixed signs: October 23 — November 21

Your horoscope for this week:

Having invested considerable time and thought in organising plans that work for you, but that others are happy with, too, the last thing you want is to make changes. Yet with each passing day events are forcing a review and a rethink of those arrangements. Once you begin, ensure they’re flexible enough you can easily alter them, which you’ll need to do, probably more than once.

People are more likely to confide in you. A friend or workmate will reveal a secret you will find hard to keep to yourself but you will do so. If you’re wondering why, it has taken so long for them to come out with it, it’s because they needed to know you were the right person to confide in. Your boss will be unexpectedly encouraging when you’re revisiting a task you failed at recently. They can see you’re putting more effort into it this time round.

Next Friday’s Full Moon is at right angle to the galactic centre. A Full Moon marks the culmination of a phase; as when flower is at maximum bloom. This Full Moon promises to be particularly important and fruitful with ideas generated having much mileage. It’s very likely that you will be in contact with those who are either working in the field of higher education, the law, or why, who are particularly well travelled. Anticipate overseas contacts playing a critical role. Note that at the end of next month there is a solar eclipse in your opposite sign. This is part of a regular pattern and indicative of others moving off in fresh direction. This can be unnerving to a Scorpio but, if prepared, you could have safety nets in place and either move off with them, or take their place and so move yourself up the career ladder.


Sagittarius
Personal theme: I see!!
Fire sign: November 22 — December 21

Your horoscope for this week:

For weeks there’ve been hints of exciting, and timely, changes. The problem? They seem unrealistic. While you’re willing to take chances on them, others are wary, and want proof. Since that isn’t possible, at least for now, get those who’re struggling with doubts involved. That way, events themselves will reassure those who’re seeking reassurance in some form, if not solid facts.

You realise the need to put more effort than you have done in the past into family responsibilities. You can’t keep expecting housemates to clean up after you. You haven’t been there when someone needed you and now, you’re feeling awful about it. Whatever your partner and other loved ones want, you will try to please them. A youngster’s health problems could be related to a lack of happiness or contentment. Encourage them to talk.

Friday’s full Moon is at apparent right angle to the Galactic Centre. Think of this as being a Full Moon in neon lights: there is extra power. In your case, the need to reach out and contact those you haven’t seen for some time will likely be super-great. This might also be driven by the desire to let others know exactly what you’ve been doing – and thinking about – over the last 18 months. Recall that in recent years Neptune has been passing over the base of your solar chart. That can be – and usually is – a discomfiting experience. Many Sagittarius may have felt at sea unsure of where their careers are going. Yet this is also the time when you may have experienced extra ordinary ‘cosmic downloads’ and now, have plans and ideas that are fitting for the 21st century. This is the time to think about your legacy too. In this important week, extending your range of contacts and ensuring that your knowledge is passed on in the way in which you would wish, assumes increasing importance.


Capricorn
Personal theme: I use!!
Earth & cardinal sign: December 22 — January 19

Your horoscope for this week:

Being a practical earth sign, you avoid committing to plans or people until the facts are clear. However, frequent changes in arrangements and the role of others, has meant you’re facing numerous unanswered questions. The trick? Do something out of character, and make halfway commitments, arrangements you can change when circumstances do. While, initially, it may seem strange, you’ll be amazed how well this approach works.

Taking up a new work or social challenge will disrupt your family life but this is something you really want to do. Even if it means sacrificing your evenings and weekends over the weeks ahead, you will be glad you did so in the future. Your family will support you when they see how serious you are about these aims. Very soon you will have something to celebrate. Big material and emotional rewards are on the way.

You may remember that Pluto began its journey through your sign over a decade ago and leaves Capricorn in a couple of years. Throughout this time, pressure is on to learn about power and empowerment. You might need to flex some of that muscle around Friday’s Full Moon. It’s a special lunation in that it’s at right angle to the Galactic Centre. Emotions are likely to run high. It comes soon after a series of aspects that are about charity and creativity. Presentation styles may now be seen to have a value that you’ve perhaps ignored in the past. It wouldn’t be so surprising if you reached out to those who have creative genius but perhaps lack administrative experience. You may be asked to assist them. It’s entirely possible that a promotion is headed your way through obviously, much depends on your personal chart. What seems clear, is that Capricorns will receive particular attention – especially if you’re now seen to comfortably carry the responsibilities others want to give you.


Aquarius
Personal theme: I know!!
Air & fixed sign: January 20 — February 18

Your horoscope for this week:

Since late February, you’ve been juggling a range of changes, some timely, others unsettling yet appealing. The problem? The foundation on which these are based is shifting, which makes lasting commitments difficult. The solution? Regard plans of any variety as more of an experiment than anything lasting. This allows you to learn from every twist and turn – and there will be many of them.

Experimenting and trying out new ideas will be a good use of your time. There will be moments when you may have to act first and think about it later but you are alert and aware of what you are doing. Accepting a job offer will mean updating your skills and you will be happy to take this opportunity to further your talents. The success of a group venture will take you all by surprise.

Let’s hope you have the skills of a juggler. It’s very likely you’ve already taken on too much. You won’t be the only sign forced to think about administration and efficiency in the days leading up to Friday’s (18th) Full Moon. This is a special lunation in that it occurs at right angles to the Galactic Centre. Think of this as a ‘Full Moon in neon lights’. Emotions will likely rise to the surface, – with many demands made. You may feel that you’re really up against it. Yet it is possible that there is help nearby. Whilst their approach may be very different to your own, it could be that a Virgo offers exactly the support that you need. It doesn’t have to be somebody born under that sign, but certainly someone with discriminatory abilities; someone able to identify what’s important, what really needs to be done and gets on with the task. In a sense, this is a week when you may need to practice the fine art of delegating. Just ensure that you don’t expect someone to read your mind and be clear about exactly what it is that you want to be done.


Pisces
Personal theme: I believe!!
Water sign: February 19 — March 20

Your horoscope for this week:

At the moment you’re struggling with, on one hand, practical matters and, on the other, the demands of certain unrealistic individuals. Yet their support is necessary if you’re to achieve your goals. Once you realise, they’ll be difficult no matter what you say or do, you’ll forget about keeping them happy and speak frankly, giving what you’ve planned and your long-term objectives priority.

You won’t buy into the offers and new opportunities an enthusiastic salesperson is trying to sell. You can see a bogus investment opportunity for what it is. You wish a friend or workmate could be more open-minded. They can’t see anything from anyone else’s perspective and their stubbornness is starting to annoy a sensitive person like you. Still, you can’t change their opinions or attitude. It’s something they have to work on, not you.

Friday’s Full Moon is in your opposite sign and is at apparent right angle to the galactic centre. By then, you could feel pulled this way and that. Given the extraordinary number of aspects involving one of your ruling planets Neptune, in the first part of the week, it’s entirely possible that others will make quite outrageous demands on your time and your energy. By the Full Moon (18th) you could feel particularly overstretched. Perhaps this is a week to learn about how to be discriminating and to accept that you can’t do everything for everybody. Neither do you need to play a victim role or show that you’re being asked to do too much. Focus is imperative. Given the strong possibility of extending your network particularly after Jupiter moves into neighbouring Aries in a couple of months’ time, taking part in events this week that would introduce you to new ways of working and living should be useful; but yes, even this could drain your batteries. The art is in finding balance; which could presently be a major challenge.

~CelestialPrognostication

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Every Day is Earth Day! Love Your Mother!

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Goddess Blessings!
Live Well – Laugh Often – Love Much
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High Priestess Certification and Ancient Mystery Teachings
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The Magic of Crystals
Introduction to Energy Healing
Introduction to Paganism
Introduction to Meditation
Introduction to The Goddess Tradition and The Feminine Divine
Kuan Yins Gentle Embrace Reiki Certification
A Year and a Day of Contemplation with Kuan Yin
Tarot, Numerology, Natal Charts and Dream Readings
Reiki Training and Certification

Herbs!!! Herbs!!! Herbs!!!
Interested in herbs and healing? Learn with GrannyMoon!
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Teach a witch a spell and she can do that spell. Teach a witch the craft and she can do magick!

GrannyMoon, Teaching the Craft for over 20 years!

“We all come from the Goddess
And to Her we shall return
Like a drop of rain, going to the ocean”
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“May the circle be open, but unbroken,
May the love of the Goddess be ever in your heart.

Merry Meet and Merry Part
And Merry Meet Again

Never forget…you are magick!

Goddess Bless!
GrannyMoon

http://GoddessSchool.com
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By GrannyMoon Posted in Pagan

GrannyMoons Weekly Feast: 6 Mar 2022

Blessed Be My Little Witch. To those who came before and those who will come after, know that the Goddess is with you always. Thank you all my dear readers…be blessed. ~GrannyMoon

We thought that we had the answers,
it was the questions we had wrong. ~Bono

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Dark Moon – Time to Rest
New Moon – Time to Begin New Projects; Birth; Attraction
Waxing Moon – Time to Grow; Increase
Full Moon – Time to be Fulfilled; Abundance
Waning Moon – Time to Banish; Decrease
Last Sliver of Moon – Time to Die; Letting Go
Dark Moon – Time to Rest Again
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Light A Candle Today!
In many different traditions lighting a candle is a sacred action. It expresses more than words can express. It has to do with gratefulness. From time immemorial, people have lit candles in sacred places. You may want to begin or end your day by the sacred ritual of lighting a candle on this gratefulness. Or you may want to light a birthday candle for a friend. One single guideline is all you need: Slow down and do it with full attention.

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Current Moon Phase: Waxing Moon

Time: From New Moon To Full (Approx. 14 Days)
Goddess Aspect: Maiden
Associated Goddesses: Artemis, Branwen, Eriu, Nymph, Epona
Magickal Attributes: Invoking Beginnings, New Projects, Ideas, Inspiration, Energy, Vitality, Freedom. Workings On This Day Are For “Constructive” Magick (Love, Wealth, Success, Courage, Friendship, Luck Or Health.)

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What’s Happening in March!?!

Herb of the Year for 2022: Viola (violet, heartsease) named by the International Herb Association

Celtic Tree Calendar ~ February 18th to March 17th ~ Ash

Goddess Month of Moura ~ 2/20 – 3/19

Mar. 1 ~ Fat Tuesday

Mar. 2, Wed 12:38 PM – New Moon

Mar. 4 Celtic Feast of Rhiannon: Moon Goddess, Underworld Goddess

Mar. 5 ~ Navigium Isidis – Egyptian festival honoring Goddess Isis as Lady of the Moon and Ruler of the Sea; celebrated with the launching of a boat of offerings.

Mar. 8 ~ International Women’s Day

Mar. 17 ~ St. Patrick’s Day

Mar. 18, Fri 03:20 AM – Full Moon

Mar: 20, Spring Equinox (Ostara) Northern Hemisphere

Mar: 20, Mabon, Southern Hemisphere

Virginia Psychic Fair, May 1st, Falls Church, VA. For info go to https://va-psychic-fair-2022.eventbrite.com
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March Sunday Classes with GrannyMoon at Sticks and Stones, Fairfax, VA

Face to Face Class: 1 PM – 3 PM ~ WitchCrafting – March 6
Face to Face Class: 1 PM – 3 PM ~ The Herbal Cauldron – March 13
Face to Face Class: Noon – 2:00 PM ~ The Magick of Crystals – March 20
Face to Face Class: 4:30 – 6:30 PM – Usui Shiki Ryoho Reiki I and II Workshop- March 26

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High Priestess Training with GrannyMoon
http://GoddessSchool.com

The entire course takes 15 months to complete (four levels). Tuition covers lessons, assignments, and instructor feedback. In addition, students may download guided meditation exercises and be eligible for Sabbats, Esbats, and retreats with the Sisterhood. The entire fee for each level is $120 (payment plan available), sixteen lessons in each level, except the last.

Ceremonial Cords and frame-able Completion Certificates are awarded as members complete each level.
Level I – Initiate of the Sisters of the Burning Branch – White cord
Level II – Adept of the Sisters of the Burning Branch- Red cord
Level III – Priestess of the Sisters of the Burning Branch- Black cord
Level IV – High Priestess of the Sisters of the Burning Branch – Green cord

You Might Also Be Interested In:
http://goddessschool.com/Paganstudies/index.html
http://www.goddessschool.com/courses/natural/naturalwitch.html
http://goddessschool.com/Paganstudies/healingarts.html

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Learn About Herbs with GrannyMoon!

There is so much to learn about herbs! In Herbalism 101, we cover 21 herbs, and you will start your own personal Materia Medica, that we will build throughout the next levels. We will cover the basic aspects of herbs. From culinary to magickal, medicinal to ornamental. As well as the many modalities of herbs!

During this course, in addition to the on-line lessons and hands-on projects that you do at home, I will be sending you articles, and information, as well as questions about your own personal use and research.

I look forward to walking this green journey with you! I love herbs and I hope that you do too or will learn to!

There are 10 lessons in each level and there is no time limit for completion. You may study at your own pace! There are no texts to purchase.

For more info or to join my class, click here!
http://goddessschool.com/Paganstudies/healingarts.html

The cost for Level 1 is $50.00 or $150.00 the entire Healing Arts Course (1-3) which includes a free Reiki certification course when all three are ordered at the same time!
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Earth Signs and Omens in Nature Course

Learn to read the mysteries of nature! The course covers signs and omens, communication, seasonal rites, trees and shrubs, flowers, plants and weeds, herbs, plant magick, the Guardians of Nature and much more.
http://goddessschool.com/courses/earthsigns/index.html

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The Goddess School Grimoire

http://www.lulu.com/shop/sotbb-Goddess-school/the-Goddess-school-grimoire/hardcover/product-762380.html
Hardcover: $39.45
Softback: $26.95
eBook (PDF): $6.25

The Goddess School Grimoire is a collection of recipes, artwork, poetry, prose, prayers, rituals, spells, and practical Goddess wisdom put together by the teachers, students, alumni, and friends of The Sisters of the Burning Branch Goddess School. The sisterhood is dedicated to restoring spiritual balance by returning the Divine Feminine to her rightful place and by assisting women in their personal and spiritual development. Since being founded by Head and High Mother Priestess Grandmother Moon in 2000, The Goddess School (GoddessSchool.com) has grown into a large and beautiful global community of women.

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Coventry Creations
March 7, 2022 – March 13, 2022

After an extremely busy first week of March, the cosmos slows down drastically, with only one major aspect and Mercury leaving Aquarius and joining the Sun, Jupiter, and Neptune in Pisces.

The week begins with the Moon moving through Taurus. The Moon in Taurus is about self-care and pleasure, so it’s a wonderful time to go to the spa, get your nails done, or enjoy a massage. Wonderful food is also a must when the Moon moves through the sign of the Bull, so indulge in some pleasurable culinary treats you enjoy.

Midweek, Mercury moves into sensitive Pisces, and you may go into emotional overload because your receptivity to others will be on high. You may need to practice protection, ground regularly, and enact energetic shields while Mercury swims through the sign of the fishes.

This weekend, the Sun forms its annual conjunction with Neptune. It’s the time of the year to check in on your spiritual growth and look at your future spiritual goals. You may need to withdraw from others and spend some time meditating and communicating with your spiritual allies. Furthermore, you may be called upon to help someone in need. Remember to love others, but take care of yourself first.

Recommended: Moon (Astro Magic), Answers (Chakra Magic), Spiritual Cleansing (Motor City Hoodoo)

Here’s what you missed on CoventryCreations.com this week…

Astro Magic Forecast for March 2022

The bulk of the month is beginning the process of preparing for the astrological New Year, as the Sun moves into the sign of Aries on March 20th (11:33 AM EST/8:33 AM PST)

After a long and challenging winter, seeds will begin to sprout, the air will start to warm up, and the promise of a fresh start is on the way.

Spring into the Astrological New Year!
Everything Awakens in the Spring. You Can Too.

The promise of a fresh start is just around the corner as the Sun moves into Aries on March 20th. After a long winter of cold weather and personal challenges, the first day of Spring also brings the Astrological New Year.

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Llewellyn’s Spell A Day

The Witch’s Cottage
MARCH 06, 2022 BY ASTREA TAYLOR

Today, take stock of what really recharges you. As much as possible, limit your usage of electricity and devices. Whenever I do this, I imagine I’m in a witch’s cottage in the woods, with no electricity or internet. It really connects me with my body and the energy at hand.

When you’re ready to begin, put your devices away and say:

Here and now, disconnected,
I find myself better than expected.
Without a phone or any wattage,
I’m peaceful in my witch’s cottage.

Ground into your body and feel the energy around you. Do what comes naturally. Instead of watching television, read a book, make art, or take a walk. When it gets dark, light candles instead of turning on lights. Send psychic messages instead of texts. Before going to sleep, blow out the candles and think about what recharged you. Send gratitude to yourself for this fun experiment.
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Self-Care
MARCH 05, 2022 BY CHARLYNN WALLS

Self-care is important not just in your daily life but in your magickal practice as well. If you take the time to heal yourself, then you will have the energy you need to tap into later.

To restore your energy, take a ritual bath or shower. Add any scent you associate with strength to the water. The herbs and oils in the mint or citrus family are some of my favorites. Allow yourself to soak in the water and feel yourself taking in what you need from the herbs in order to remove stress or anxiety. As the bath is drained or the water from the shower is flowing down the drain, say:

As the water flows down, may
my strength rebound.

Follow up this spell with a solid night’s sleep for best effect.
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Swan Sewel
MARCH 04, 2022 BY NATALIE ZAMAN

On this day in 1877, Swan Lake debuted on stage in Moscow. The ballet tells a love story affected by elements of stability (the white swan) and chaos (the black swan). White and black, light and shadow, are part of life and are necessary for balance. Create a sewel (a charm made of string and feathers) to aid in this work. Find or purchase a black feather and a white feather (swan feathers if you can!). Tie a string to each, saying as you do so:

White swan, bring structure.
Blank swan, bring spontaneity.

Tie the strings together and say:

Bless me with the light to see
And the adventure of what will be.

Hang the sewel over your doorway or by your bed to bring the balance of swan magic to your life.
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Ancestral Magic
MARCH 03, 2022 BY DALLAS JENNIFER COBB

March is Women’s History Month, a good time to perform ancestral magic. Envision the women of your lineage: your mother, grandmothers, great-grandmothers, and beyond; your cousins, aunts, and great-aunts. Maybe you have photos of them you can place on your altar, or things of theirs, such as jewelry or dishes. As you look at them, invoke the resilience of these strong women who survived, thrived, and had children. Their strength and resilience are written in your DNA. Envision a strand of light connecting you to them. Inhale strength and resilience, then exhale healing back along the ancestral line. Incant:

I call on the brave women of my lineage
to bless me with strength, resilience,
wisdom, and joy. Let the good lives
of these women live in me always.
May I know the collected wisdom of
my foremothers and be held in their
tender care, and may I heal all genetic
wounds I carry. So mote it be.
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Dark Moon Divination
MARCH 02, 2022 BY SUSAN PESZNECKER

The dark (new) moon is a prime time for divination, with Earth’s energies quiet and pulled inward.

You’ll need a tarot or oracle deck and a dark cloth. Find the date and time of the next new moon (2:24 a.m. EDT on April 1). Work in a quiet room and wear dark clothing.

Spread out the cloth. Shuffle and/or cut your deck, pausing to see what comes to mind. You may already have a question to ask the cards, or perhaps something will occur to you. If nothing comes, proceed.

Deal one card in the center of the cloth, then lay cards at 9:00 (on a clock face), 12:00, 3:00, and 6:00.

The center card represents you. The 6:00 card is your current situation; the 9:00 card reveals emotional obstacles; the 12:00 card (full moon position) shows the situation’s future possibilities; and the 3:00 card points to obstacles outside of yourself.

Let meanings flow between the cards. Keep them on your altar until the next new moon.
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The Triple Flames of Success
MARCH 01, 2022 BY MELISSA TIPTON

Mardi Gras is a day of celebrating life’s riches, and this spell aligns with this energetic current to empower your magic. You’ll need three candles, which can be purple, green, and gold/yellow, or any color(s) you choose. Set the candles in a row on a heatproof surface.

Choose a desired magical outcome, and spend some time in meditation, really conjuring up the sights, emotions, sounds, and maybe even smells and tastes of enjoying this success.

Start by lighting the candle on the left. This candle is your present moment, and you’re setting it alight with the energy of your successful outcome. Use this candle to ignite the second one, which represents the stepping-stone stage, where the energy of your spell is weaving the threads of your magic into fruition. Finally, light the third candle, sparking the flame of your successful outcome. Give thanks, and let the candles burn down safely or snuff them out with gratitude.
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Magical Sleep Technique
FEBRUARY 28, 2022 BY DALLAS JENNIFER COBB

Sometimes insomnia can make us crazy as we lie awake at night, worrying or thinking. A lack of sleep can negatively impact our physical, mental, and emotional health. What if you had a magic spell that helped you fall asleep when you wanted to? This magical technique can both provoke and invoke sleep when you want or need it, whether you wish to get to sleep at night, go back to sleep after waking, or nap in the afternoon.

Lie down and close your eyes. Place your hands on your thighs, palms down. Begin to gently tap your fingers against your thighs for about three minutes, and become aware of your breathing. Breathe deep into your belly, and as you exhale, release all tension. Gradually slow down the tapping, and keep breathing. Notice how your breath slows, your body relaxes, and your mind quiets. Before you know it, you will be asleep. Magically.

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Heartwings Love Notes 1024: Beauty is Where You Find It

Heartwings says, “Keep your eyes open for the unexpected.”

Driving the roads of Massachusetts, I am struck by the beauty of the bare branches lining the roadsides. There is something very special about their tracery against the winter sky. March in Northern New England is still a winter month. As with most days this time of year, the roadsides are bare of snow except for the occasional dinosaur, as I call the grey, crusty grit and leaf piles that remain here and there. The trees seem to stand out more in their original loveliness.

Soon, I know I will see a kind of glow envelope the branches. I’m not sure if that is my imagination or if I am seeing the promise of leaves to come. I do know that willows seem to release a color before the leaves begin to sprout. Long ago I wrote a poem about that. It was the first time I had ever noticed that on a tree.

Spring will soon come, but for now there is the beauty of the limbs against the sky to admire. From the large doors that lead onto the porch outside my bedroom, I can also see the light glinting off the branches of trees nearby. I notice this when the sun hits them as the day progresses. It’s a fine treat. When my foot is on the gas pedal, I can’t take the time to notice details or I would get distracted and not be a safe driver.

There are other things to be noted from my bedroom besides this silvery shininess. During the later spring and summer, there is a plethora of loveliness from there or from nearly anywhere we might choose to look. In the bleaker months, however, the search for beauty needs to be a conscious act, one we might even take for a meditative practice. Making the time to do this can give us something to think about besides the sad news of the world and the terrifying stories of violence about which we can do nothing, and so we feel a sense of helplessness and grief.

Yet it does us no good to dwell on any situation we are helpless to address. My response is to send a prayer and envision light surrounding the people and places involved. There are also charities that collect items to send, and funds that can be donated to by those who wish. That only helps some against the barrage of sorrow that awaits us when we turn on the news. There is a temptation to ignore it yet then we would not know what was happening.

Sad and difficult as it is to watch and see what is going on, it is also an opportunity to recognize how blessed we are to be safe and warm in our comfortable houses. Thankfulness for that good fortune needs to be uppermost in our hearts as we look around us. The special beauty we see in the sparse landscape of the end of winter is a reminder that it is darkest before dawn. As we pray for peace and an end to the suffering, we can hold onto that spare loveliness while we wait for spring.

May you seek out and find whatever beauty there is near you.

Blessings and best regards, Tasha Halpert

PS I am always so happy to hear from readers and to know what their solutions are to coping with the sadness of the current news. Also, if you would like a copy of my poetry chapbook, Poems and Prayers, let me know. You can send me a check for $10. Ppd. and I’ll inscribe it to you.

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Trusting Spiritual Assistance

Remembering to say ‘thank you’ to our guides is important for the completion of the help they have given.

We may have become accustomed to asking for help from the unseen world — whether from angels, guides, or ancestral spirits — but sometimes we may forget to close our connection afterwards with a thank you. When we connect to these energies for assistance, it is much like a phone connection. Forgetting to close the conversation with a proper “goodbye” is like not hanging up. While that line is still connected, others can have trouble getting through, while in the meantime, batteries are being drained. Saying “thank you” is a way of releasing our concerns into trusted hands and getting out of the way so that the universe’s divine order can work on our behalf.

As spiritual beings, we may talk about “staying connected,” but our connection needs to be with our source. We can plug in and recharge, but we run on batteries in between, and every connection we make utilizes some of our personal power. Even being surrounded by people that energize us has its limits, and at some point we will feel ready to go off on our own to do what is ours to do. Instead of trying to be constantly connected, we can turn to these beings for help in a way that is more like placing an order. We contact them, ask for what we need, and then say thank you and goodbye.

Beings of light don’t require our gratitude; it is an energetic acknowledgement of trust and release that benefits us. When we bring ourselves to a sense of being grateful, we affirm that what we have asked is already done. Then we can move forward with confidence to do the things we are meant to do, while knowing that all will be well.

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The Druid’s Garden
UPG and Me: On Gnosis, Personal Gnosis, and Knowing in NeoPagan Practices

As with any spiritual path, the question of how we build knowledge, what we believe, and where that knowledge comes from is important. I think it is particularly important to druids as we have so few fragments of the Ancient Druid tradition. We are constantly asking ourselves–where can we gain knowledge from? How do we build knowledge, and from what sources?

What is Gnosis?

Entering the Dreaming (Hawthorn card from the Plant Spirit Oracle Deck)

Gnosis refers to “knowledge of spiritual mysteries.” Gnostic traditions are those rooted in the idea that knowledge can be gained through esoteric (inner) practices, such as communion with a deity, prayer, meditation, repetitive activity, dreams, and so forth, and that that knowledge is important and valued. Throughout history and in many different spiritual traditions, Gnosis was an important part of any spirituality. Seeking the mysteries on the deepest level often requires contemplation, silence, and communion with the living earth–as we have seen in monastic traditions throughout the ages. In the Gnostic traditions, this gnosis was said to be the most important knowledge one could hold and this belief transcends anything that might be provided by external sources. In other words, a Gnostic gets their messages and truths from spirit/deity above all else.

Gnosis is important to those on the druid path for several reasons. First, druidry (at least the kind of druidry I practice through OBOD and AODA) is non-dogmatic and focused on individuals’ spiritual development. This means, in AODA, for example, that druids work to hone their own personal spiritual development, spiritual expression, channel Awen, and wildcraft their druidry. These practices, which form the core of those practicing druidry (especially AODA druidry) require you to localize and personalize your understanding; and thus, are enriched by your own personal gnosis.

Most people who practice druidry use a combination of personal gnosis (inner knowing) with external knowledge seeking (outer sources). A good of this is through working with sacred plants: if you wanted to work with maple trees, it would benefit to you to read some books about maples: their ecology, their function in the ecosystem, how humans may have used them for food or medicine (such as tapping trees for syrup), and also traditional folk uses. But the key part of this is that you balance that outside knowing with your own direct experiences in nature: observation, meditation, and spirit communication. It is through these different inputs you can develop a personal spiritual path rooted in nature that also supports the development of personal gnosis.
“Continued”
https://druidgarden.wordpress.com/2022/03/06/upg-and-me-on-gnosis-personal-gnosis-and-knowing-in-neopagan-practices/

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In Touch with True Emotions

Our bellies can be wonderful monitors of our emotional health, and the truth can always be found there.

So often, emotions that we long to express get stored in our bodies instead. The space where this most often happens is in our bellies. Rather than telling people, or even ourselves, the way we truly feel, we may stuff our true feelings deep inside of us, where they take up space until we are ready to let them go. Stuffing our feelings in our bellies may feel like the “safe” response, since we then don’t really have to deal with our emotions. Yet, doing so can actually be detrimental to our emotional well-being and physical health.

One way to connect with and release your emotions is to do a focused exercise with your stomach area. Take a moment to center yourself with some deep breathing and quiet meditation, relaxing your body fully and turning off the chatter in your brain. With your right hand on your stomach, tell yourself three times: “Please reveal to me my true emotions.” Listen for the answers. Repeat the exercise as many times as you would like, allowing yourself to drop deeper into your body each time. Notice any physical response in the stomach area, whether you have a warm, relaxed feeling in the middle of your body or if you feel tight knots in response to any emotions that do come up. You may even want to write down any answers that come to you. Remember that the body doesn’t lie.

Releasing our pent up feelings from our bellies can prevent disease and allow us to live more authentic and expressive lives. Sometimes, if too much emotional energy builds up inside of us, a blowout can result that can cause discomfort. You can help to alleviate this compression by doing the same exercise and adding sound to your emotional release. The more guttural the sounds released through your mouth, the more emotions you are likely letting go. Releasing your emotions from your belly doesn’t have to be painful and hard; rather, it can be organic and effortless. It’s important not to judge whatever comes up for you. We tend to stuff our feelings in our bellies when we are ashamed of them or not ready to express them. There is nothing wrong with having feelings, whatever they may be. You can’t help your feelings; if anything, you can help yourself by acknowledging the truth of your emotions so you can set yourself free.

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Sight Versus Vision

Vision comes from within and shows us how to navigate the realms of thought, feeling, and emotion.

Sight is the ability to see the physical world while vision is the gift of seeing beyond it. Sight enables us to take the physical world in so we can participate in it with knowledge. It brings us pleasure through our eyes, which perceive the colors and shapes of all the myriad expressions of nature and human beings. It helps us feel in control, allowing us to see what is coming toward us, which way we are going, and exactly where we are standing at a given moment. We are able to read signs and books, navigate the interiors of buildings with ease, sense and perceive how a person is feeling by the expressions that cross her face.

As anyone who has lost their eyesight can tell you, though, there are things that are clearer when you cannot see the world through your eyes. One of the reasons many meditation instructors advise sitting with the eyes closed is because we automatically become more in touch with our inner world when we are not distracted by the outer world. It is in this state that vision becomes our mode of seeing. Vision comes from within and shows us how to navigate the realms of thought, feeling, and emotion. It enables us to see things that aren’t yet manifested in the world of form, and it also connects us to that part of ourselves that exists separately from the world of form.

As we age, even those of us with perfect eyesight will generally lose some of our acuity, but this loss is usually replaced with inner vision. This is the time of life when we are meant to turn inside and take what are sometimes the very first steps of a journey that cannot be traced on a map. We call upon intuition and feel our way along a path that ultimately carries us beyond the realm we can see with our eyes and into the land of spirit.

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10 GRAVESTONE CLUES TO FIND YOUR ANCESTORS
by Cathy Wallace

Gravestone clues may be just the thing you need to break through your genealogical brick walls and find your ancestors! Headstones are frequently overlooked as tools for family history research but YOU can be a gravestone detective!

Even if you know the names and key dates relating to your ancestors, their gravestones might supply surprising information not found anywhere else. Gravestone clues can help you find additional relatives, give you a sense of your ancestor’s personalities, and provide further ideas for research.

In order to locate a gravestone, you first need to find the cemetery location. This can be done by using death certificates and obituaries.

After you arrive at the cemetery, you will need to find the gravestone.

If the cemetery has not been documented yet, you could visit the cemetery office or just walk up and down the rows until you spot the right names. But wait . . . if the gravestones have been photographed with the BillionGraves app, just enter a name and/or date in the app on your phone and you’ll be walking right to the gravestone in just minutes!

This gravestone reveals the following information about the deceased:

Full Name
Parent’S Names
Birth Year
Spouse’S Name
Residence
Occupation
Relocation