GrannyMoons Weekly Feast: 16 Jan 2022

Uncertainty that comes from knowledge
(knowing what you don’t know)
is different from uncertainty coming from ignorance. ~Isaac Asimov

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

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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Receive Your Own Personal 2022 Forecast
From GrannyMoon!

A guide to help you understand the opportunities and issues you may face in the coming year!

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And More
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Please send your date of birth and I will get your
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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.

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What’s Happening!?!

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

Flower of the Month for January: Carnation, symbolizing love, fascination, distinction

January is Hot Tea Month

Celtic Month of Birch – December 24th to January 20th

Goddess Month of Hestia – 12/26 – 1/22

What’s Happening This Month?!?

Jan. 17: Full Moon in Cancer – Wolf Moon – The first Full Moon of the year is known in many cultures as the Full Wolf Moon, which is appropriate given the deep, ancient ties between wolves and January’s Full Moon. For instance, the Gaelic word for January, Faoilleach, comes from the term for wolves, faol-chù, even though wolves haven’t existed in Scotland for centuries. The Saxon word for January is Wulf-monath, or Wolf Month.

Jan. 19: Zodiac Period of Capricorn ends

Jan. 20: Zodiac Period of Aquarius begins

Jan. 24: Sementivae – a grain-oriented Roman festival

Jan. 29: Venus becomes progressive (1:45 AM, MST)

Jan. 30 – Feb 2: Roman celebration of Februalia

Jan. 31: Up Helly Aa – Scottish celebration in the Shetland Islands

Jan. 31: Disting/Disablot – The Dísablót (English and Swedish: Disablot) is the blót which was held in honor of the female spirits or deities called dísir (and the valkyries) from pre-historic times until the Christianization of Scandinavia. Its purpose was to enhance the coming harvest.

Jan. 31 New Moon 10:49 PM, MST)

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Sunday Classes with GrannyMoon at Sticks and Stones, Fairfax, VA
Face to Face Class: Noon – 2:00 PM ~ The Magick of Crystals – Jan 16
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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!
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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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Stacy Adams
coventrycreations.com

January 17, 2022 – January 23, 2022

We start the week with a powerful Full Moon in emotional Cancer. Now, the tricky part of this Full Moon is that it is closely opposed to Pluto. Emotions will be intense, and you may feel overwhelmed if you do not regulate them closely. Avoid doing things impulsively. Instead, try to pause and think things out before proceeding with any course of action.

During the middle of the week, expect a swift energy change as the Sun moves out of Capricorn and into Aquarius. This is an excellent time for you to review your social circle and purge any groups, acquaintances, or friendships that are no longer adding value to your life. It’s also a good time to get involved with any causes that you truly believe in. Your voice matters, and it is amplified when you join like-minded individuals and build bridges that ultimately create change.

The weekend starts with the Moon moving through dutiful Virgo. It’s an excellent time to work on your to do list and complete mundane tasks that have been building up. On Saturday, the Moon moves out of Virgo and into Libra and forms a beautiful trine to the Sun and Mercury. It’s a wonderful day to spend time with those you love.

Finally, on Sunday, The Sun conjoins Mercury Rx. The Sun conjoined to Mercury provides you with the opportunity to review and reflect on your life and get in touch with who you are. Life can often catch us by surprise, and before we notice we have taken a detour on the road to nowhere. Now is your opportunity to get back on track again.

Recommended Candles: Full Moon (Astro Magic), Truth Spell (Blessing Kit), Sweet Grass (World Magic)

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

Candle Ritual for Healing the Family
Full Moon in Cancer on January 17, 2022

Drama, drama, drama. This full moon is locked and loaded for lots of it. A Cancer full moon is one of the most emotionally packed moons in the zodiac. Add an opposition to Pluto and Capricorn and you have the Osbournes vs the Kardasians on steroids.

What has changed with Magic in the last 20 years?

20 years ago, the turn of the 21st century may as well have been the turn of the 20th century at the speed of change in today’s world. We quickly forget how life was a quick 10 and 20 years ago; the need to memorize a phone number and actually dial it, the need to look up directions on a map and slow down to read street signs, addressing an envelope to mail a bill payment, or even handwriting a note (legibly).

Join our Witch’s Union Facebook Group https://www.facebook.com/groups/WitchesUnionSCC and be part of something special, because you are special. You can do magic!

Follow us on Instagram @coventrycandles and Pinterest, Coventry Creations.

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January’s Full Moon: Wolf Moon And 1st Full Moon Of 2022
Posted by Bruce McClure

Our last full moon was on December 19, 2021, which was two days before the Northern Hemisphere’s December solstice. This means January’s full moon is the first of the Northern Hemisphere winter season (Southern Hemisphere summer season). And, for all of us, it’s the first full moon of 2022. Those of us in North America often call this full moon the Wolf Moon, Snow Moon or Hunger Moon.

We generally say the moon is full for a few days around the crest of the moon’s full phase. Around the world for the next few nights – January 16, 17, and 18, 2022 – a full-looking moon lights the nighttime from dusk until dawn. But, to astronomers, the moon is full at a well-defined instant: when it is directly opposite the sun (180 degrees from the sun in ecliptic longitude). That full-moon-moment will arrive on January 17, 2022, at 23:48 UTC. In North American and U.S. time zones, that translates to: January 17, at 7:48 p.m. Atlantic Standard Time (AST), 6:48 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (EST), 5:48 p.m. Central Standard Time (CST), 4:48 p.m. Mountain Standard Time (MST), 3:48 a.m. Pacific Standard Time (PST), 2:48 a.m. Alaska Standard Time (AKST) and 1:48 a.m. Hawaiian Standard Time (HST).

Where does the name Wolf Moon come from?
It’s tempting to think of hungry wolves howling outside snow-covered villages at this time of the year. The name is often said to come from Native American culture, but Indian Country Today pointed out in 2013 that the name Wolf Moon doesn’t appear on the lists of American Indian moon names compiled by Phil Konstantin, who worked for NASA, among other places. Indian Country Today wrote:

Of the 29 tribes listed [by Phil Konstantin], not one actually calls January the Wolf Moon, although the Sioux name is Wolves Run Together Moon. The Algonquin … call the January moon squochee kesos, or Sun Has Not Strength to Thaw …

The moon names tend to mirror latitude somewhat. For instance, to the Haida in Alaska it’s táan kungáay, or Bear-Hunting Moon. The Hopi in southwest Arizona call it paamuya, Moon of Life at its Height. In the Pacific Northwest it’s atalka, meaning Stay Inside. Moving farther south, the Choctaw word for the January full moon is rv’fo cusee, which means Winter’s Little Brother (as opposed to December’s moon, rvfo-rakko, meaning Big Winter).

Watch the full moon’s path
If you’re an observer of seasonal changes in the night sky, you might know the Hopi name for this moon – paamuya or Moon of Life at its Height. This name makes us wonder if the Hopi were comparing the January full moon to the summer sun. It’s a good name because (no matter where you are in the world), the January full moon does indeed take the position and follow the path of the sun six months from now.

For us in the Northern Hemisphere – where the sun is continuing its low arc across the daytime sky (albeit getting higher by the day) – the January full moon rides high in the sky. This makes it appear to mimic the path of a summer sun. If you’re in the north, watch for the high January full moon especially around midnight (midway between your local sunset and sunrise). It’ll be like a noontime summer sun. North of the Arctic Circle, this full moon stays out around the clock, like the midnight sun of summer.

Meanwhile, in the Southern Hemisphere – where it’s now summer – this full moon follows the low path of a winter sun. At midnight, the moon sits low in the northern sky, just like the noonday winter sun. South of the Antarctic Circle, the January full moon remains below the horizon for 24 hours around the clock.

Constellations and the full moon
Thinking of it in terms of constellations, the late January sun beams in front of the constellation Capricornus. The late January full moon moon shines in front of the constellation Cancer. Six months from now, in early summer, the sun will shine in front of that constellation.

Now think of the moon not in terms of its grand seasonal trek in front of the fixed star background, but just in terms of what you’ll see these next few nights. All full moons are, more or less, opposite the sun. So you can expect to see a full-looking moon in the east at dusk and early evening tonight and tomorrow. It’ll climb upward in the evening hours, and soar to its highest point at or around midnight. If you’re an earlier riser, watch for the moon these next couple of mornings, low in your western sky during the wee hours before sunrise.

A bright ring around a full moon. January’s full moon is nicknamed the Full Wolf Moon.
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Niccole Neely in Phoenix, Arizona caught this glorious full moon halo on January 27, 2021. “It was spectacular!” she wrote. Jean Speer – 107 miles (173 km) away in Tucson – caught a moon halo the same night. Here’s Jean’s photo, and here’s what makes these large rings around the sun or moon.
Bottom line: Enjoy the full-looking moon for a night or two on either side of January 17, 2022, when it brings the northerly latitudes some good cheer on this long winter night.

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Llewellyn’s Spell A Day

Spiritual Technology Sweep
JANUARY 16, 2022 BY STEPHANIE ROSE BIRD

In the days of old, we spent a lot of time spiritually cleansing our homes, especially the floors with magickal floor washes. Now we spend so much time at our desks that it’s good to charge them too.

Smudge your work area with a sage smudge stick. Light it and tamp out the flame. Smudge everything, including inside the drawers and underneath the desk and chair, and be careful to smudge the corners.

Wipe down your desk with an organic cleanser featuring lemon or pine, as both are purifying and energizing.

To the east, put an amethyst crystal. It is known to aid in communication and business matters. Amethyst will usher in prosperity and abundance. Ultimately this stone will bring peace, calm, and love to your life, and it will manifest through your workstation.
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A Pine Purification Spell
JANUARY 15, 2022 BY JAMES KAMBOS

For this spell you’ll need two small pine branches or two pine cones. Bless them according to your spiritual path. After blessing them, hold them and think of something you wish to purify in your life. Perhaps you want to clear away a habit or a situation. Next, safely light a small fire in a heatproof container, cauldron, or fireplace. Burn the branches or cones in the fire. Visualize the flames purifying your life. “See” the burning pine cleansing the issue from your life. Let the fire burn safely out. When the ashes are completely cool, scatter them away from your home. It is done.
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Transformative Magick
JANUARY 14, 2022 BY CHARLYNN WALLS

The Julian calendar is thirteen days behind the Gregorian one. That makes today the Old New Year! So, if you still need to reset and make some magickal resolutions, you still can. Transformative magick is powerful, and you can tap into that energy to make change in your life.

Take a piece of moonstone that speaks to you, and place it in a bowl or other container with some water and a pinch of salt. Set the bowl on a windowsill or near a window through which you can see the moon. The energies of the moon will be absorbed into the stone over the course of the night. Then say:

Allow me to transform and change
for my highest good. So mote it be.

Keep the stone with you daily or place it on your altar so you can continue your transformation throughout the year.
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Stick on Magic
JANUARY 13, 2022 BY LAURA TEMPEST ZAKROFF

January 13 is Sticker Day, which celebrates stickers of all kinds— from utilitarian labels to the fun and colorful ones that brighten our books, laptops, and vehicles. The date was chosen because it’s the birthday of R. Stanton Avery, who is on record for creating the first commercially viable self-sticking peel-off labels.

Besides helping us label things, mail packages, and decorate things, stickers can also be used for magical means. They can transform and beautify a surface, aiding in glamour magic. A sticker can signify ownership or membership, adding protection or inclusivity. Then there’s the fact that you’re literally affixing it onto something—which may help a certain idea “stick.” You can certainly buy pre-made stickers, but you can also get some adhesive paper and draw your own. The latter method is especially great when drawing sigils that may work best when applied to certain places or objects.
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Handy Love Magic
JANUARY 12, 2022 BY DALLAS JENNIFER COBB

The second week of January is Letter Writing Week. We hardly write letters anymore, but it’s time for a Hand-Written Love Letter Spell. In touch with the paper and pen, handwriting is personal and, like your fingerprints, distinctive.

Gather paper, a pen, an envelope, a glue stick, and decorative items such as stickers, cut-out pictures, ribbons, or dried flowers. Start with “Dear _,” and tell them what makes them so dear to you. It doesn’t have to be written to a lover, partner, or spouse. Why not write a love letter to a friend, family member, or yourself? Express love in words, channelling heart energy down through the pen and onto the paper. Sign your name and decorate with hearts, stars, and pictures. Place the letter in the envelope and seal it. Post the “handy” love letter, stamped and addressed, knowing you’re sending a personal, unique, and timeless gift—something they can hold onto forever.
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Good Numbers for the New Year
JANUARY 11, 2022 BY BARBARA ARDINGER

Let’s use numerology as we move into this new year. Today’s date is 1-11-2022.

Here’s how to add it up:
1 + 1 + 1 = 3 (day + month)
2 + 2 + 2 = 6 ( year)
3 + 6 = 9

The number 9 signifies, among other things, the end of a cycle. (After 9, we begin again with 10 = 1.) Nine also means “awakening.” Before we awaken, of course, we’ve been asleep. Consider your current life and at least one issue, belief, or habit that you’ve been “asleep” about. What do you want to end so that you can awaken to something better?

In the tarot, card 9 of the major arcana is the Hermit. This figure is very wise and can help you review your “old stuff.”

Cast your circle (if you wish), light black and white candles, and set card 9 in the center between them. Speak to the Hermit and ask for help in finding what you need to end as this new year begins. Ask the Hermit what you need to awaken to.

When you have answers, speak
both resolutions aloud:

I am ending ___.
I am awakening to _.

Let the two candles burn down safely, then open your circle and move into your awakened life.
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Brain Freeze, Be Gone!
JANUARY 10, 2022 BY RAVEN DIGITALIS

If you’ve been experiencing any sort of mental blockage or “brain freeze,” take a walk outside to meet the brisk January air at sunset. Stand in one place and focus on your breath while facing west. Close your eyes and bring to mind those mental blockages from which you wish to break free this year.

With each issue that comes to mind, take a deep belly breath through your nose and forcefully exhale through your mouth. Continue this with each thought that comes up, and feel free to do so multiple times for each issue. Multiple thoughts may come quickly.

To add an extra boost, consider taking a handful of sea salt and/or any of the herbs vervain, nettle, or clove. With each forceful exhalation, throw a little bit of the salt or herbs to the thought you are offering to the setting sun.

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Heartwings Love Notes 1017 My New Year’s Resolution

Heartwings says, “Listening when speaking can be very important.”

After claiming I wasn’t going to make any resolutions, I did make just one. When I thought it up, it seemed like a good idea, one that will be different from the usual ones made at New Year’s. Because of the nature of this resolution, it will not be forgotten, as many are, in a few weeks or so. It’s a simple resolution. It does not require me to give up anything, or even to take on anything. It utilizes something I do normally, anyway: being mindful. As well it will benefit others as well as myself, which is a big plus.

My resolution is simply this: to speak less and to listen more. As I encourage myself to pay attention to my behavior, it is simple for me to notice when, for instance, I am interrupting people before they have finished speaking. I have done this since I was a small child. As I’ve grown older, I’ve managed to curb this behavior somewhat, yet not entirely. I still have a way to go, hence the resolution. However, my resolution is not just about interrupting people, it is also about listening to myself and monitoring what I am going to say.

I remember years ago reading about a woman who was well loved by all. Someone asked her for the secret of her success, and she replied, “before I speak, I try to stop and taste the words before they come out.” I’m applying this principle to my speech. Ideally, if the words I’m going to say are pleasant, helpful, and/or kind, I will let them be said. If they are biting, critical, or sarcastic, I will change them. Of course, this is if I succeed in my efforts to hear them ahead of time.

I am not always able to be mindful. That is a goal, not necessarily an given. Still, making the effort is what’s important. Success is something to be grateful for. For many years I was all too often prone to blurting. I remember one friend telling me I had (unbeknownst to me) been highly critical of her about something, and she was kind enough to call me on it rather than distance herself from the friendship. No doubt there are others in my past who were not as kind, and that I alienated unwittingly with my careless tongue. I think it has been called foot in mouth disease.

For me the living of my life is at best a learning process, whereby I can experience the results of my actions and then decide what I wish to continue doing and what I wish to change or do over. I make the attempt to be aware of my actions and my intentions, so that I keep myself in right relationship with my two most important personal principles: practice gratitude for everything, and do unto others as you would have them do unto you if you were they. It’s vital to remember that not everyone thinks as I do, and to act accordingly.

May your resolutions be of help to you if you make them.

Blessings and Best Regards, Tasha Halpert

PS Did you make any resolutions? If you did, will you share them with me? I do so love to hear from my readers. Write me at Tashahal@gmail.com and if you’d like to read more love notes, check my web pages at http://www.heartwingsandfriends.com .

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Life’s Natural Rhythm

Slowing down and listening to your own natural rhythm can quickly connect you to the Universe.

Nature’s natural rhythms orchestrate when day turns to night, when flowers must bloom, and provides the cue for when it is time for red and brown leaves to fall from trees. As human beings, our own inner rhythm is attuned to this universal sense of timing. Guided by the rising and setting of the sun, changes in temperature, and our own internal rhythm, we know when it is time to sleep, eat, or be active. While our minds and spirits are free to focus on other pursuits, our breath and our heartbeat are always there to remind us of life’s pulsing rhythm that moves within and around us.

Moving to this rhythm, we know when it is time to stop working and when to rest. Pushing our bodies to work beyond their natural rhythm diminishes our ability to renew and recharge. A feeling much like jet lag lets us know when we’ve overridden our own natural rhythm. When we feel the frantic calls of all we want to accomplish impelling us to move faster than is natural for us, we may want to breathe deeply instead and look at nature moving to its own organic timing: birds flying south, leaves shedding, or snow falling. A walk in nature can also let us re-attune is to her organic rhythm, while allowing us to move back in time with our own. When we move to our natural rhythm, we can achieve all we need to do with less effort.

We may even notice that our soul moves to its own internal, natural rhythm — especially when it comes to our personal evolution. Comparing ourselves to others is unnecessary. Our best guide is to move to our own internal timing, while keeping time with the rhythm of nature.

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Can Cordyceps Strengthen Your Immune System?
Andrew Weil, M.D.

Cordyceps is a fungus originally found high in the Himalayas and available more recently as a tincture, liquid extract, capsule, or powder. It has long been used in Tibetan and traditional Chinese medicine for a variety of ailments, and I recommend it to boost energy and increase aerobic capacity. It’s one of my favorite medicinal mushrooms, but I don’t believe it’s the best choice if the goal is strengthening the immune system.

Western medicine has been slow to investigate natural products that Eastern practitioners have used for centuries, but there have been several scientific papers published supporting the medicinal properties of certain mushrooms. Several of them have been studied for their effect on the immune system and some even show promise as adjunctive treatments for certain forms of cancer:

Maitake (Grifola frondosa) is sometimes called “hen of the woods” due to its fluffy appearance. Studies have suggested it has anti-cancer properties, including one clinical trial that showed promise against triple-negative breast cancer. Maitake can be used in cooking or taken as a supplement.

Turkey tail (Trametes versicolor), a mushroom named for its unique shape and colors, has also been shown to boost immunity in women who had been treated for breast cancer. Turkey tail is strictly medicinal, being too tough and woody to be a culinary ingredient.

Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum), which is called Lingzhi in China, is known for its antioxidant and immune-boosting properties. Reishi can be found as tea, in capsules, and as liquid extracts.

Shiitake (Lentinus edodes) mushrooms are rich in antioxidants and vitamins. They are delicious and nutritious additions to your diet and have been shown to help lower cholesterol in the blood and reduce risk of cancer. A recent paper in the journal Nutrients reports on a novel effort to grow them over beds of the herb Astragalusto merge the anti-cancer and immune-boosting properties of these two mainstays of Eastern medicine.

Enoki mushrooms (Flammulina velutipes), also known as golden needle mushrooms, are mild in taste and have been shown to lower blood sugar, cholesterol levels, and blood pressure. They are also rich in antioxidants. They appear to offer protection against cancer.

What these mushrooms have in common is that they all contain polysaccharides, which are known for their role in boosting immunity, reducing inflammation, and even supporting natural resistance to viral infections.

A recent review published in the journal Frontiers in Pharmacology found promise in cordyceps for a variety of uses, based largely on laboratory studies of compounds found within it. The review concludes that more study is needed to substantiate claims of its role in immunity and to better understand its safety. While those investigations are underway, I recommend the other mushrooms listed above that have been shown to boost immunity.

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Parts That Don’t Want to Heal

When we choose that which is not best for us, there can be a deep-seated part of us that does not want to heal.

In almost every case, we know what is best for us in our lives, from the relationships we create to the food we eat. Still, somewhat mysteriously, it is often difficult to make the right choices for ourselves. We find ourselves hanging out with someone who leaves us feeling drained or choosing to eat fast food over a salad. We go through phases where we stop doing yoga or taking vitamins, even though we feel so much better when we do. Often we have no idea why we continue to make the less enlightened choice, but it is important that we inquire into ourselves to find out.

When we choose that which is not best for us, the truth can be that there is a deep seated part of us that does not want to heal. We may say it’s because we don’t have the time or the energy or the resources, but the real truth is that when we don’t take care of ourselves we are falling prey to self-sabotage. Self-sabotage happens unconsciously, which is why it’s so difficult to see that we are doing it. The important thing to realize is that this very part of us that resists our healing is the part that most needs our attention and love. Even as it appears to be working against us, if we can simply bring it into the light of our consciousness, it can become our greatest ally. It carries the information we need to move to the next level in our healing process.

When we recognize that we are not making healthy choices, we might even say out loud, “I am not taking care of myself.” Sometimes this is the jolt we need to wake up to what is actually happening. Next we can sit ourselves down in meditation, with a journal, or with a trusted friend to explore the matter more thoroughly. Just shining the light of our awareness on the source of our resistance is sometimes enough to dispel its power. At other times, further effort is required. Either way, we need not fear these parts that do not want to heal. We only need to take them under our wing and bring them with us into the light.

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Ghost Hunting Theories
If You Like This Abandoned Sites You Might Like These 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 list 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 carnival decide to hide in the funhouse and party after the place 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.

}0(

Gilberto Rides Again – Chapter 36
by Stephen Halpert

Pursued by their assailants, the young agent drove wildly down Newtonville Ave. Gilberto poised himself for a fight. Unfortunately, Boris had thumped into his lap, restricting anything Gilberto wished to do.
“Take the next exit,” Rain said. “Let’s decoy them and have a look.”
The sedan swerved. In the front seat, Rain took the rifle and positioned herself.
“Off the exit, slow down.” She told the young agent driving.
He nodded, took the exit and slowed. The car chasing them went into a skid, swerved, and landed abruptly against the side wall.
Rain fired two quick shots hitting a front and rear tire.
Gilberto was doing his best to keep from being smothered by the big, furry St. Bernard’s thick bulk. Despite however he tried moving Boris from his lap the St. Bernard would yawn and drool his way back onto Gilberto.
He likes you,” Rain ‘s words were clipped as she peered at damaged car.
“Leave ’em,” she told the driver. They’re punks, hired hands.”
The driver slowly drove down several blocks. In the distance Gilberto heard police sirens moving in the opposite direction.
“You just left them there?” Gilberto said.
“Would you have preferred I read them their rights, cuffed them and then turned them over to the local police?”
Gilberto nodded. “I guess it’s better this way.”
“Let’s take you home,” Rain said. “Surprise your little daughter with Boris. I’m sure they’ll bond instantly.”
“You think?” Gilberto ‘s brow wrinkled; he’d never felt so confused. He couldn’t think straight. At breakfast he hadn’t considered being involved a high-speed chase and gunplay that afternoon.
He laughed and sighed. Now that the chase was over, he couldn’t help feeling giddy with relief. “Next time I’ll bring Ramon. He’ll be better to have along than Boris.”
On their way to Gilberto’s Rain had the driver stop at Petland on Boylston Street. She jumped out. Shortly she reappeared and handed Gilberto several shopping bags. “Some dog food, A new collar, leash, toys and flavored bones. You’re all set until he starts eating you out of house and home.”
Gilberto blinked. “I guess they eat a lot.”
Rain nodded. They stopped outside his condo building. Rain helped him put the new collar and Newton dog tag on Boris. She photographed the tag. I’ll check out his ownership.” Then she clasped the leash and grinned at Gilberto. “Yes, next time alert Ramon Gomez, and have him join us.”
Gilberto shrugged. “Why have us along at all? It’s not like we’re agents like you? It’s not like we know how to handle a gun.”
She smiled softly. “You don’t have to. You’re not supposed to. You’re here because you’re both officers of Atlas. And you’re with us to witness and watch over Atlas’s interests.”
Gilberto nodded and smiled. “Thank you.”
Rain smiled one of her rare smiles and handed Gilberto Boris’ leash. “Now go and give your daughter her new pet.”
Maria was in the kitchen when Gilberto and Boris came up through the basement. She looked at Boris and grinned. “You’ve got to be kidding.”
Gilberto smiled. “Meet Boris. He’s involved in this case and I thought Mona might like to meet him.”
Maria laughed. “Wow! In one afternoon you went from ants and baby mice to Gargantua.”
Mona came into the kitchen. She peered at Boris and tears came to her eyes. “You look so sad,” she said gently stroking him. “You’ve had such a sad life. I’m so sorry. They didn’t treat you nicely at all.”
Boris slurped her cheek and Mona sighed deeply sounding just like Maria. She looked at Gilberto. “Can I keep him daddy?”
Gilberto smiled. “Sure, at least for now. Maybe for all the time but I can’t promise you that. Someone may make a stink and want him back. He’s a valuable dog.”
Mona nodded and continued stroking Boris. “So misunderstood and treated so meanly, she whispered. But I’ll take care of you and give you all the love you need.”
Boris made soft sounds and slurped Mona. She smiled, continuing to lavish affection on him. “Come into my room with me, Boris.”
Gilberto smiled. She reminded him of Maria when she was being motherly. “You need to rest. I’ve got nice pillows and blankets to cover you so you can stretch out and feel more comfortable.”
Boris seemed to understand. He nuzzled against her. As they moved down the hall Gilberto heard her say, “You’re really going to like my stuff.”
Maria smiled. “Well, you certainly solved the mouse infestation before it even started.” She grinned and hugged him. “I guess having a St. Bernard with us offers a perfect solution.”
She will have to walk him. Having a dog requires dedication.” He told her how in Rain’s sedan Boris insisted on keeping himself in his lap.
“That must have been so endearing,” Maria giggled. “Such remarkable male bonding.”
But at three in the morning, Gilberto and Maria were awakened by long loud pitiful moans coming from Mona’s room. Mona came to their bedroom.
“Please help,” she cried. “Boris is having nightmares. That’s why he cries and just wants to hide under the blanket. Someone really hurt him.”
“Just whisper to him,” Maria said. “Let your voice be very soft and loving;
continually assuring him that he’s safe, and he’ll be fine.”
“Okay Mommy,” she said.
Gilberto smiled, thinking she sounded braver than she might have felt.
“So now we have a pet who has nightmares,” Maria said after Mona had gone back to her room.”
“I guess it is what it is,” Gilberto chuckled.
“Yes,” Maria said softly. And now I want to be very close to you, kissing you and falling asleep in your arms.”
He smiled. “I wouldn’t mind getting us some ice cream. Aren’t you a little hungry?””
She looked at him oddly. “Gilberto, it’s ten minutes to three in the morning. There’s much more we could do besides eat ice cream.” She moved close to him and started kissing him. “I hope you still enjoy our special times together.”
He grinned as he began to feel his body come alive. “Of course. It’s always wonderful with you. I just thought some ice cream…”
She squirmed beside him, looking into his eyes. “Are you hungry?”
He felt her against him and whispered, “A little. But we don’t have to have ice cream.”
She propped herself up on one elbow. “This is new. You haven’t been like this before. You’re usually content just having me. But now you crave ice cream.” Her voice softened. Her hand stroked him. “But if you really want us to stop this and get up…”
He breathed harder. “No, no, its ok. Let me just kiss you.”
She squirmed even closer to him. “But I thought you wanted ice cream. And I wouldn’t want you disappointed and falling asleep hungry.”
“Don’t think that way. Just be glad we’re here together.”
She grinned. “Well, if you really don’t want to bother getting up. I just hope I make you a sufficient substitute for ice cream.”
“To be continued)

)0(

Kitty Kat’s Korner
=^..^=

Is Cat Grass Good for Cats?
By Sassafras Lowrey

Have you ever purchased cat grass? It’s an inexpensive treat that cats tend to enjoy, but why? Most of us don’t think of cats as being animals who want to eat vegetables,

“Although cats are obligate carnivores (which means they need to get the majority of their nutrition from meat and fish-based sources), they do occasionally enjoy nibbling on some green stuff,” says Dr. Jamie Richardson, Medical Chief of Staff at Small Door Veterinary.

Here’s what you need to know.

Is cat grass good for cats?
In addition to being a tasty treat for cats, cat grass can be healthy and beneficial. Dr.

“Eating certain types of grass or plants can aid cats with their digestion,” says Richardson, adding that regularly nibbling on cat grass can help relieve constipation, and assist in the removal of non-digestible materials (like furballs). It can also provide them with some nutrients, such as folic acid.

Meaning eating it can improve your cat’s overall health. It can also be a lot of fun for cats. Enrichment is extremely important to your cat’s physical and emotional health and cat grass gives cats something to explore and nibble at.

Where to buy?
From pet stores to farmer’s markets cat grass available widely available but what is it?

“Cat grass is not a specific type of plant, but typically a grass mixture,” says Dr. Richardson.

It generally involves wheat, rye, barley, and oats. In addition to being able to purchase fully grown cat grass, you can also often find seeds which you can then plant in a container of your choice and grow at home.

Not all grasses are safe for cats
As not all grasses are safe for cats it’s always a good idea to review the ASPCA’s list of toxic plants before bringing any plant into your home regardless of if you intend for your cat to eat them. This will help you ensure that any plants in your house are safe if your cat chooses to nibble on them.

Why does my cat throw up after eating cat grass?
A common concern many cat guardians bring up with cat grass is that they find their cat vomits after eating it. But as alarming as that can be Dr. Richardson confirms that it’s a common and normal occurrence.

“This is usually because they ingested the grass to help them vomit up a furball or another non-digestible item,” says Dr. Richardson.

It’s important to pay attention to how much your cat vomits after eating it.

“ If they only vomit once and there are no other concerning signs (such as lethargy, unwillingness to eat, etc.), there is not usually any reason to be concerned,” says Dr. Richardson.

But if your cat vomits repeatedly, or vomits every time they eat it you should get them checked out by a veterinarian to rule out any medical issues.

)0(

Georgia Nicols’ Weekly Horoscope:
Sunday, January 16, 2022

All Signs
The Full Moon on Monday opposes Pluto, which indicates passive-aggressive resistance to authority. Oh yeah, we’ll dig in our heels and stick to our views. (This element of opposition will smolder throughout the week.) Fortunately, after Wednesday, suddenly, things are lighthearted and happy. There’s a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow! Meanwhile, in another part of the forest, a four-week window of Aquarian energy will be ushered in this week. Protesters will be emboldened. Networking will flourish and ideals will run high. Aquarius cares about protecting the rights of the underdog. Mother Nature, however, doesn’t care what economic bracket you’re in.

Aries (March 21-April 19)
Be patient with family members at the beginning of the week. Hey, family is forever. Whachagonna do? The big news is that this week, you enter a lovely four-week window where you will be more popular. Many of you will hang out more with younger people, especially younger people you haven’t seen for a while. You might be more involved with clubs, groups and associations either in person or on-line. You will make a lovely impression on bosses, parents and VIPs right now. In fact, a romance with a boss might begin for some of you. Grab every opportunity to travel because you want to get outta Dodge!

Taurus (April 20-May 20)
This week the Sun moves to the top of your chart where it will stay for the next four weeks. This happens only once a year, and when it does, it symbolizes that a flattering spotlight is shining down on you. This is why everyone (especially people in authority) will admire you, even if you don’t do anything special. (Good lighting is everything.) Obviously, because you have this advantage, you must use it! In the next four weeks, you are perfectly positioned to advance your agenda and go after what you want. Make your pitch! Travel will also appeal. Romance with someone from afar or from another culture is likely. Be patient in disputes about inheritances, shared property and insurance issues.

Gemini (May 21-June 20)
Your world will change in the next four weeks. Many of you will travel; certainly, all of you will learn more and be eager to study or experience new environments and new ways of doing things. This window of time is also the perfect time to finish a book, a manuscript or an important paper. Romance will be particularly affectionate at this time. (Which is a good thing because with Mars opposite your sign, it’s easy to fall into disputes with those who are closest to you.) Be nice. Be patient with others on Monday when the Full Moon could trigger arguments about shared possessions or money. Steady as she goes.

Cancer (June 21-July 22)
The Moon is your ruler, and on Monday, the only Full Moon in your sign all year occurs. Naturally, you will feel this! It will heighten your feelings and possibly create friction between you and loved ones. Fortunately, this is a 48-hour influence, which is not too long to be patient. Plus, fair Venus will be opposite your sign and this softens your responses to others. Meanwhile, Mars will pump your energy to work and be productive. For the next four weeks, you’re on a self-improvement kick because you want to be the best that you can be! You can use this same window of time to finish up red-tape details about inheritances, shared property, taxes and debt. (All that fun stuff.)

Leo (July 23-Aug. 22)
Heads up! This week, the Sun moves opposite your sign to stay for four weeks. This happens only once a year, and when it does, it indicates that something is coming to a head or that there is a culmination of something. Naturally, you might encounter opposition from others. (Don’t provoke them.) This is the classic time when life is giving you a report card. You see what works; you see what doesn’t work. It’s humbling when you realize that even the King of the Jungle makes mistakes. Fortunately, you are never petty. You own your mistakes and admit them. You have lots of energy to play, have fun and enjoy competitive sports. Yay! Meanwhile, work colleagues are friendly and supportive.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22)
The energy of the Full Moon at the beginning of the week could put you at odds with your kids, as well as create problems with romantic partners. Fortunately, this is brief! This week, you enter a four-week window where you will want to get better organized. You want to get on top of your game. You want to feel that you are flourishing in a productive, efficient way. You want to feel proud about your accomplishments. By extension, you want to improve your health. You might slightly change what you’re eating. You will try to exercise more. (The whole enchilada.) Your home life is still busy and in relative disarray. Fortunately, fair Venus wants you to party, socialize and enjoy loving times with kids. That will feel nice.

Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22)
The Full Moon energy on Monday might stir up trouble with family (especially parents) because you feel pulled between your responsibilities for home and family versus your responsibilities for your career and public reputation. This tension will be brief because the Full Moon is roughly for 48-hours. After that, the good news is you begin a four-week window where fun, pleasure, enjoyment and even vacations will be a top priority! Yay! (It might be difficult to go on vacation with all the restrictions there are in the world at present.) But you certainly can enjoy yourself with some imagination. Romance will flourish! You will enjoy playful times with kids. Welcome opportunities to express your creative talents.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21)
Pay attention to everything you say and do today and tomorrow because the Full Moon energy could create an accident-prone situation for you. (Verbal as well as physical). “Did I just say that?” Fortunately, Venus is in your House of Communications, which means your words are sweet and charming. This week a new influence begins that energizes everything to do with home and family for the next four weeks. You might be more involved than usual with a parent. You might stay at home more. You might focus on home repairs. Certainly, there will be family discussions. You will also work hard to boost your earnings although, many of you will be spending a lot as well. A lovely blessing at this time is that Venus promotes warm, everyday contacts with everyone. Major bonus!

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 21)
Expect disputes about money and possessions at the beginning of the week. Fiery Mars in your sign might make you come on too heavy. (Oops!) Remember what your long-term objective is. Meanwhile, for the next four weeks, your life will be busy! Suddenly, you’ve got things to do, places to go and people to see! Short trips, increased reading and studying plus more contact with siblings and relatives will be on your menu. You will attract money to you. This same influence will encourage you to spend on beautiful things. Get more physical exercise (especially outdoors) because exercise will help you blow off pent-up steam that could be building up within you. You’re revved!

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 19)
On Monday, the only Full Moon opposite your sign all year occurs, which encourages tension with partners and close friends. Rise above this. Demonstrate grace under pressure. Venus is in your sign, which makes you charming and diplomatic. (Admittedly, some kind of energy behind the scenes might not be in your best interests. If you think something fishy is going on – it is!) This week you enter a four-week window that makes you focus on money, earnings and cash flow. You will be more interested in your possessions – taking care of them and organizing things. Respect your moneymaking ideas. Ponder deeper values: What really matters in life? Do you know?

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 18)
This week the Sun enters your sign to stay for four weeks. (This blessing happens only once a year.) This will empower you! It’s your chance to recharge your batteries! It will boost your confidence and attract important people and favourable situations to you. You’re in charge! With Mercury retrograde in your sign, you’re in contact with people from your past. Many of you are putting energy into groups or organizations because you want to make a difference in the world. Obviously, you will have countless opportunities to do this because there are so many global challenges. You have many chances to practice your magic. This is your hour!

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20)
As this week begins, be patient with kids and romantic partners because the Full Moon energy could stir up trouble. People will be entrenched in their ways. (They’re just being human.) Meanwhile, your personal year is coming to an end, but your new year won’t begin until your birthday arrives. That means the next four weeks are a time of limbo to cocoon and take it easy. Start to think about what you want for your new year ahead, which will begin with your birthday. Make some goals because goals keep you on track. They make future decision-making easier. They give you a sense of purpose. With Mars high in your chart, your ambition is aroused. Make this work for you!

)0(

Weekly Horoscopes beginning Sunday, 16 January 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:

While you can’t escape pressure to make decisions, you can ensure others understand you’re short of facts, so changes are likely. What’s more, with Mercury newly retrograde, both circumstances and your priorities are also evolving. The trick? Although a single far-reaching commitment may seem the fastest way to get things decided and dealt with, ensure decisions are tentative. You’ll soon realise how wise this was.

It can pay to let your curiosity go to your head. If something interests you, ask plenty questions. You might feel someone isn’t telling you everything in which case, don’t take the information they seem so keen to feed you, at face value. An older relative expects you to come running to their rescue whenever they need a helping hand. There are other things you have to do. You aren’t in a position to give into their emotional demands.

View this week’s Full Moon as a refuelling moment. For the last few years, there may have been many moments when you’ve likely felt almost bullied at work – or effectively disempowered. With this Full Moon all could yet change. It’s followed on Wednesday by Uranus, the planet of the unexpected, appearing to standstill. Of course, it isn’t doing – but from then it will appear to move forwards (which of course it’s been doing all along). These moments are special. Yes, they are optical illusions but they do seem to bring peculiar energy. In this instance, you could feel superpowered as it becomes clear that thanks to your creativity and vision, something that should logically have crashed on the rocks, is now saved. It might still require repair, but an all-out crash and destruction has likely been avoided, – thanks to you.


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

Your horoscope for this week:

However inspiring recently made plans may be, sticking with them won’t be easy. The trick? It’s to outwit this week’s twists and turns. Adopt that approach, and you’ll soon make unexpected progress in achieving your objectives. In the meanwhile, consider letting go of existing arrangements that are costly, increasing burdensome – or both. You’ve been thinking about this for ages. It’s time to take action.

With you wanting to accept all social and travel invitations coming your way this should be your chance to make a few new friends. You’re attracting all sorts of interesting people into your orbit. Housemates are being honest and sincere. If they have let you down in the past, they want to make up for it now and you can afford to be more trusting of others. Some people really have learned from their mistakes.

Monday’s Full Moon is special in that is likely to bring attention to the expertise that you’ve accrued in the last decade. Just two days later, Uranus, the planet of the unexpected, appears to stand still – in your sign. It’s probable that all eyes will be on you and particularly, your entrepreneurial spirit. If you’ve had thoughts about going it alone, doing your own thing, and building your own empire, this should prove a crucial week. Between last Friday and late April is the optimum time for you to work on your business plan. Yes, this will likely require assistance – and most probably by an Aries, Leo or Sagittarius but they may be more than willing to give this as they too see the real potential in your plans.


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

Your horoscope for this week:

Usually, the period when your ruler Mercury is retrograde brings irritations, important and less so. Instead, those minor errors are raising questions about matters that don’t just need to be discussed, but that will intrigue you. The trick? Explore them and if they’re of interest, consider various options while sidestepping potentially restrictive commitments. True, these negotiations will be time consuming; but they’ll justify the patience required.

An interview or meeting you have to attend will mean more to you than you are admitting to anyone. Do your best to keep family life calm and harmonious. If things get tense now, you could let nerves get the better of you. Confide in others. Reveal any worries you may have to a close friend or partner. Showcase your talents in the workplace. Some extra cash could come from being offered additional responsibilities.

It seems that there is just so, so much going on in the background: likely concerning family who are altering direction and not perhaps pleasing you in the process. Bear in mind that Monday is a Full Moon and that reactions could easily be over the top. That’s made more likely by the fact that Uranus, the planet of surprises, arrives at its station on Wednesday. You could yet be much disturbed by developments: possibly concerning neighbours. In short, it’s almost as though you’re like one of those snow globes that is being shaken. You have to weather this little storm, but know that all will settle – most likely in a couple of weeks’ time. The art is not to overreact. On the upside, your imagination is likely in overdrive and creatively you could be at your best – arguably inspired by an adventurer (or yes, perhaps a Sagittarius).


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

Your horoscope for this week:

Although the Cancer Full Moon on the 17th brings both your own feelings and pivotal changes to a head, your instincts are correctly telling you things are unlikely to go smoothly. The trick, therefore, is resisting the temptation to micro-manage those events and, instead, trust destiny. Once you do, events will begin to fall into place with an ease that’s as exciting as it is unexpected.

Someone close is suggesting changing the way you approach everyday routines. You’d rather continue with things the way they are but ignore this temptation. It might take a few days to get into a new pattern but these could be changes for the better. Your best moment will be when a loved one volunteers to help out in a few areas. This will free up your time to enable you to start a study course or interest you’ve been talking about for a while.

Monday’s Full Moon is in your sign and yes, we are at that time of year when you wonder whether not others have been listening to a word you’ve had to say and or are sufficiently supportive of your aims and objectives. That may be even more important than usual this year as two days later, Uranus, the planet of surprises arrives at its station. It’s likely that there will be a shakeup at work. A team could temporarily appear fractured. Perhaps they know this is coming. Perhaps they also know that you are an excellent advocate. They are probably unaware of just how much emotional stress this brings you; but yes, there is still every likelihood that you will be caught in the eye of drama and a storm. Bear in mind that Mercury is retrograde and that until it returns to its station degree at the end of February, much could yet change. The art is to stay cool and calm, and see changes as offering perspective which could yet yield better and positive result.


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

Your horoscope for this week:

The events between now and mid-February, when the Leo Full Moon takes place, accent decluttering both your life and, equally, your future plans. Once that’s clear, you’ll know what to focus on. True, as an impatient fire sign, you’ll struggle with the necessary slow pace. However, each day’s events will reassure you that, out of character as this easy-going approach is, it’s in your best interests.

Unexpected developments in the workplace could mean you will be changing other plans over the next few days to adapt to all that is going on. You are being presented with a rare opportunity to prove your capabilities in a different field than usual and you don’t intend to let this pass you by. There is no reason why you should not excel. A relative who is researching your family will want to share some interesting information.

Take care: Mercury is retrograde in your opposite sign, and mid-week, Uranus stations at the very apex of your chart. It does so as the Moon passes through your sign; and yes, there is strong probability of you exercising your lion’s roar. This may not be your most productive moment! True, you’ve likely wanted a change of scene and career direction for some time. ‘Throwing your toys out of the pram’ may not be the best way to get that. Given that these aspects follow-on from a difficult Full Moon affecting particularly Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn colleagues, you should take special care that you don’t sabotage discussions that have made progress in recent weeks. That said, it should be obvious to all that you are determined to move in fresh direction and that there’s no going back.


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

Your horoscope for this week:

Being a painstaking Virgo, when your ruler Mercury is retrograde, as it will be until 1 February, it’s easy to blame yourself for others’ mistakes. Now, however, even minor errors are amazingly illuminating, and will lead to worthwhile discussions. The secret? For now, stick to talking things over and exploring future plans. Bizarre as viewing this as a period of discovery seems, that’s exactly what it is.

A domestic dilemma will be costly to put right. Before you spend any money, it would be wise to seek a few opinions. A friend or neighbour who has been through a similar experience will suggest a much cheaper solution. If you need a helping hand with a concern of your own you may have to look further afield than your own four walls. Still, a more tranquil atmosphere at home as the week comes to an end will be very much to your liking. A few hours spent relaxing will feel well deserved.

Monday’s Full Moon could find any worries much exaggerated. Recall, you have a tendency to over think. Try to resist that. True, your ruling planet Mercury is now retrograde and yes, perhaps you are wondering if you’ve done the right thing. Know however that mid-week Uranus stations in another of the Earth signs. Others are likely about to alter direction. Give them time to process and don’t push the panic button too quickly. You’ve much to gain by taking things gently, learn to breathe properly and yes, now that Jupiter is moving through your opposite sign, perhaps enrol on a class where your breathing and meditation techniques can move to a new level. Note too, that now that the Lunar Node is also moving through another of the Earth signs, that you’ve embarked on an 18-month journey of learning more about the power of the mind and the art of visualisation.


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

Your horoscope for this week:

The current extensive review of various elements of your life may be as time-consuming as they are unexpected. Yet the more you explore, the clearer it will be that these matters need attention. However, there’s a secret; and that’s to discuss potential arrangements but, for now, to avoid finalising commitments. Instead, experiment. Take chances. What you learn will be profitable now and, better yet, as the future unfolds.

An argument between two friends will make the atmosphere tense whenever you all get together. It will be the smallest of issues that seems the hardest to resolve. If no one makes an effort to settle their differences you might decide to take it upon yourself to be the diplomat. A minor money problem will be brought to your attention. The most annoying thing will be the time it takes to sort this out but you aren’t prepared to leave anything hanging.

It’s time to go back over the plans that have excited you since the start of the year. It’s probable that you do have a skeleton outline, but that this needs to be worked on further. There is also the issue of partnership – possibly with somebody from another country or who works in the field of education. Either way, you have much to think about and yes, your scales could be imbalanced as a result. It’s unnerving moving from one gear to another. Yet you can do this. You’ve done it before. Though true, you could be unnerved by other people’s decisions mid-week, as the Sun moves to join Mercury in that play area of your solar chart, it shouldn’t be so hard to see an upside to events and to explore a talent that’s still under development but which could yet provide not just enjoyment, but a second revenue stream.


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

Your horoscope for this week:

It’s not that you’ve been indecisive as much as constant changes in circumstances have prevented you putting plans into action. Today’s link between the Sun and your ruler Pluto indicates events force you to take the next step, even if you’re unsure what’s best. Only on reflection will you realise the secret was doing what you believe in. After that, everything will fall into place.

This isn’t a good time to take risks. In finances and in your career the best results will come through doing things strictly by the book. This may not be as interesting or as exciting but you will feel as if you are making progress. Any personal differences you may have with an older colleague should not be allowed to interfere with your working relationship. You can learn a lot from each other if you both remain open minded.

The combination of a retrograde Mercury at the base of your solar chart, and Uranus arriving at its station mid-week in your opposite sign, suggests moments of deep unsettlement. That’s not to say that you won’t be delighted by developments. You know, perhaps better than any other sign, that time is both a great healer and that others need space and yes time again, to consider options and obligations. Overreacting is not wise as you know. Yet mid-week the moon aspects both Mercury and your Ennis and even you could put on quite a show. If you’re prone to tantrums you could throw one. On the other hand, if you’re an artist, you could display all your very many talents and put on a show to remember. As the Sun changes sign on Thursday too, yes you might feel the need to withdraw and recharge your batteries but with the knowledge, that you’ve made singular impact and perhaps.


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

Your horoscope for this week:

Usually you’ll put off tedious tasks, then tackle them all at once. Now, however, things are different. Each involves a far-reaching element of your way of living, loving or working that needs attention. However, this isn’t about bigtime changes or far-reaching decisions. Knowing that, tackle one a day, your aim being to learn from them, one by one. Soon you’ll realise what fun you’re having.

A discussion largely focused on financial matters could lead to you altering plans for the week ahead. Money you had intended to use for the more enjoyable aspects of life will now be needed elsewhere. You will be made to feel guilty for splashing out at a time when joint finances are in a bad shape. This will be a disappointment but it won’t be the end of the world. There will plenty ways to have fun that don’t cost a penny.

This might not prove the easiest of weeks. You could be challenged by someone’s emotional state on Monday and feel the need to make an awkward decision mid-week. This might even have legal implications. Going back over old ground seems likely. Midst all this, the realisation that someone is slowly accepting that they too will have to alter direction, will likely require you to show great generosity of spirit and, by Friday, some compassion. All this aside, and as Mars continues its transit of your sign through until early next week, increased energy levels should prompt you to make alterations to your domestic environment that have long term but constructive impact.


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

Your horoscope for this week:

Ordinarily you’ve reason to be proud of your ability to face and deal with even challenging facts. However, what’s coming your way is so unexpected, you won’t know what to think. Actually, that’s good, because this period is about reviewing your life and plans, but from an entirely unexpected angle. It won’t be easy at first, but soon you’ll begin seeing possibilities in those unexpected settings.

There’s nothing wrong with making the more enjoyable side of life a priority. Romance, creative interests and generally relaxing in good company will feel therapeutic. All that’s needed is for you to make suitable arrangements. In a loving partnership, be sure to put your feelings into words and actions. This will be a rewarding time for your career when some good news will be sufficient cause for celebration and possibly more for you than for your colleagues.

There are two cosmic events to negotiate this week: First is the Full Moon in your opposite sign on Monday, followed by Uranus arriving at its station mid-week. Each suggests a frenetic atmosphere – most likely caused by the realisation that work completed last week fails a quality test. Though not beyond your wit to put this right, you could nevertheless be infuriated and yes, possibly blow a gasket mid-week. That reaction might not be helpful. You would likely gain rather more by rescuing the situation using calm leadership with the proviso that there is an ‘inquest’ in February and that your role in this salvage is then acknowledged and rewarded.


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

Your horoscope for this week:

For ages you’ve been restlessly exploring ways to broaden your horizons, via new activities, passions or possibly even substantially altering your lifestyle. While nothing has clicked, suddenly you’re facing changes that, initially, you may not welcome. True, they’re unlike anything you’d previously had in mind. That’s the point. This is about looking at life, and your future, from a completely unexpected angle.

You’re determined to make some improvements in certain areas of your life. While this will be of benefit, you may also have a slight tendency to make decisions that haven’t really been given enough thought. To save yourself time and effort, try making precise plans before doing anything. Someone close is researching an interesting subject and they may ask for your help or advice. This is something you will know a lot about and you will be happy to share.

Mercury is retrograde in your sign and it could seem to some that you are altering course if not completely changing your mind. The latter is entirely possible – particularly mid-week as the Moon passes through your opposite sign as Uranus stations at the base. It’s probable that you will be forced to confront a position you’ve held for some time and accept new rules of engagement. It would be wholly understandable if, by the end of the week, you felt deflated and to some extent manipulated or coerced into taking action with which you don’t wholeheartedly agree. Nevertheless, it does appear that you will alter course but, in the process gain respect, understanding, and perhaps open a new work pathway.


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

Your horoscope for this week:

As a Pisces, you may be the only sign that would worry about the amazing ideas, offers or events indicated by the current, and coming months’, amazing planetary activity. The problem? You fear in taking advantage of these, you’d be leaving others behind. On the contrary, they’ll be cheering you on; and those who aren’t? it may be time to question their continued presence in your life.

A craving for variety and something different will take you away from your usual haunts. There could be the chance to meet one or two people some distance away or even abroad. At the same time, you may not be planning on spending much time with one particular friend who for some reason seems obsessed with an item of gossip. You have said all you have to say on this subject and you will refuse to discuss it any further.

By the time that Uranus stations mid-week, you’ll no doubt have got the bit between your teeth. Likely forced to confront a situation that’s been developing- perhaps for the last couple of years, – you may need to make tough decisions. Know that the conditions for doing so are good following Monday’s Full Moon. Fact is that many people will be reconsidering their position and long-term aims. You may remember that Jupiter has recently begun its transit of your sign. This is something that happens every dozen or so years and marks several months when the urge to expand your world is much increased. By next Friday that could be so so apparent. Indeed, you could use the second half of this week to prepare a plan. True, this will likely need much revision and the input – most probably of a Leo or Aquarius – but could nevertheless provide essential framework.

~CelestialPrognostication

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Every Day is Earth Day! Love Your Mother!

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“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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Merry Meet and Merry Part
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Goddess Bless!
GrannyMoon

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By GrannyMoon Posted in Pagan

GrannyMoons Weekly Feast: 9 Jan 2022

Freya’s Tears by Gustav Klimt

Today’s affirmation:
I gather strength from life’s storms. ~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

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, Inspiriation, Energy, Vitality, Freedom. Workings On This Day Are For “Constructive” Magick (Love, Wealth, Success, Courage, Friendship, Luck Or Health.)

What’s Happening!?!

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

Flower of the Month for January: Carnation, symbolizing love, fascination, distinction

January is Hot Tea Month!

Celtic Month of Birch – December 24th to January 20th

Goddess Month of Hestia – 12/26 – 1/22

What’s Happening This Month?!?

Jan. 14: Mercury becomes retrograde (4:41 AM, MST)- February 3rd, 2022.

Jan. 14: Thorrablot – Norse/Heathen celebration honoring Thor

Jam. 14: S.J. Tucker Concert– My next online concert will be January 14, 2022 at 6pm Central, in collaboration with the Dubuque County Library District and other libraries in Iowa, as part of their JanFanCon virtual programming! This means I get to sing my songs about the stories I adore! Get your ticket here for $5 or more, your choice:
https://onlineconcertthing.com/product/s-j-tucker-2022-01-14-0600-pm-cst/

Jan. 17: Full Moon in Cancer – Wolf Moon – The first Full Moon of the year is known in many cultures as the Full Wolf Moon, which is appropriate given the deep, ancient ties between wolves and January’s Full Moon. For instance, the Gaelic word for January, Faoilleach, comes from the term for wolves, faol-chù, even though wolves haven’t existed in Scotland for centuries. The Saxon word for January is Wulf-monath, or Wolf Month.

Jan. 19: Zodiac Period of Capricorn ends

Jan. 20: Zodiac Period of Aquarius begins

Jan. 24: Sementivae – a grain-oriented Roman festival

Jan. 29: Venus becomes progressive (1:45 AM, MST)

Jan. 30 – Feb 2: Roman celebration of Februalia

Jan. 31: Up Helly Aa – Scottish celebration in the Shetland Islands

Jan. 31: Disting/Disablot – The Dísablót (English and Swedish: Disablot) is the blót which was held in honor of the female spirits or deities called dísir (and the valkyries) from pre-historic times until the Christianization of Scandinavia. Its purpose was to enhance the coming harvest.

Jan. 31 New Moon 10:49 PM, MST)

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Sunday Classes with GrannyMoon at Sticks and Stones, Fairfax, VA

January 2022
Face to Face Class: Noon – 2:00 PM ~ The Magick of Crystals – Jan 16
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High Priestess Training with GrannyMoon
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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!
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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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Stacy Adams
coventrycreations.com

January 10, 2022 – January 16, 2022

The second week of January starts on a low note, as both the Sun and Mars aspect Neptune.

On Monday, the Sun sextiles Neptune in Pisces. Although you won’t be in the mood to get up and go, it is a perfect day to relax, chill, and focus on some alone time. It’s a wonderful day to connect with your spiritual side, do some meditation, or take a walk through the woods or a nature reserve. However, be prepared for your energy levels to plummet on Tuesday when energetic Mars squares Neptune. Mars square Neptune is a debilitating aspect that often leads to self-doubt and discouragement. Try to conserve as much energy as possible.

The middle of the week comes with a gentle Moon in Taurus that makes positive aspects to the Sun and Pluto (Moon trine Sun, Moon trine Pluto). It’s a wonderful day to pamper yourself, take care of personal responsibility, and stand in your power. Since the Moon is in Taurus, it’s an excellent day to indulge in something tasty and decadent.

This weekend begins with Mercury reversing course as he turns retrograde in Aquarius. Make sure you backup your electronic devices and prepare for communication snafus. On Sunday, the Sun makes a conjunction with Pluto in Capricorn. Expect powerful experiences and intense transformation. It may be time to consider repairing an area of your life that has broken down or reached the point of no return.

Recommended Candles: Mercury Retrograde Neutralizer (Astro Magic), Transition (Blessing Kit), Clarity (Chakra Magic).

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

Want to get the most of 2022? Time to get to work!
Don’t put off until tomorrow what you should do today!
Out with the old and in with the new! But what will the new bring? That’s for you to decide and with Capricorn season upon us, it’s time to take charge, seize the day, and carve your own path.

Astro Magic Forecast for January 2022
January 2022 Astro Magic
Happy New Year!

After November and December, January will be a piece of cake. Of course, there are some hiccups – the Sun conjoins Pluto and squares Uranus, Mars forms a problematic aspect to Neptune, and both Venus and Mercury are retrograde.
Dazzle your friends by being a Coventry Creations magic maker!
Follow our blogs on coventrycreations.com.
Find us on Facebook @coventrycreationscandles.

Join our Witch’s Union Facebook Group https://www.facebook.com/groups/WitchesUnionSCC and be part of something special, because you are special. You can do magic!

Follow us on Instagram @coventrycandles and Pinterest, Coventry Creations.

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Freya’s Tears Legend

“Freyja is most gently born (together with Frigg): she is wedded to the man named Ódr… [who] went away on long journeys, and Freyja weeps for him, and her tears are red gold. Freyja has many names, and this is the cause thereof: that she gave herself sundry names, when she went out among unknown peoples seeking Ódr: she is called Mardöll and Hörn, Gefn, Sýr.” ~Gylfaginning, Brodeur Translation

The legend of Freya and her tears of gold has inspired people for many an age. One particularly famous rendition is by Gustav Klimt as apart of the Art Nouveau movement of the early 1900s. But the tale is an old one, going back over a thousand years into the Migration Period, or as it is more romantically called, the Viking Age.

What is it about a woman so beautiful, yet so sad that she cries tears of gold, that resonates so deeply. We have all experienced sadness, and you can probably think of a time or two when that sadness has struck you down at your core. Freya weeps for her lost lover, something you to have likely experienced.

Perhaps that is the core of it, one of the most human experiences is love and loss, and if we could only cry golden tears as the Norse goddess Freya does, then perhaps we would feel more justified. Or maybe Freya represents all of our collective human loss and when she divinely weeps on our behalf how could so much love be anything but gold?

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Llewellyn’s Spell A Day

Shedding Some Light
JANUARY 09, 2022 BY CHARLYNN WALLS

Sundays are associated with Apollo, Ra, and other deities of the sun. We can use the influence of solar energy to shed light on and bring clarity to issues that remain obscured to us. This spell is best done during the day when the sun is at its zenith.

Sit outside in the full sun. If you can use some lemon incense or lemon essential oil to work with the sun energy, do so. As you inhale the lemon scent, picture the issue that you are having trouble understanding or seeing clearly. See it being surrounded by a dense fog. Lift your face to the sun and feel its warmth radiating around you and see it burning off that fog. As the fog lifts from around the issue you are dealing with, look at it with fresh eyes. Use any information you can garner in order to change your perspective on the situation.
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Midwives Day (Bulgaria)
JANUARY 08, 2022 BY STEPHANIE ROSE BIRD

Brigid is the goddess of many dominions, including fertility and childbirth, which is the focus of today, as it’s Midwives Day in Bulgaria. We will focus on Brigid as maker and one of her animals, the pure white bull.

Our work honors Brigid for looking after babies, and those either wanting to have a child or who are pregnant and ready to soon give birth. This is an offering from your heart to her spirit and familiars. If this is not right for you at the moment, gift it to a family member or friend. Goddess Brigid leads and commands ale production, and she should be feted for that too. She and her white bull love cakes, and with that in mind, let’s construct an offering.

On your doorstep, place a freshly baked cake next to a mug of ale, with a full head of foam. Around the ale, place a few coins to pay Brigid for her generosity and assistance.
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Looking Forward, Not Back
JANUARY 07, 2022 BY ARI MANKEY

Janus is the two-headed Roman god of beginnings and endings. Because January is named after him, this is a great month to work magick with him. For this spell you will need a piece of flash paper, a pencil, a fireproof bowl, and a candle.

Set up your items in a safe space and then reflect upon the past calendar year. What is the one mistake, relationship, or embarrassing moment that you’d like to leave in the past and discard going forward? When you’ve decided what that is, write it down on your piece of flash paper.

Using your candle, light the flash paper and place it in the bowl while saying:

Janus, god of beginnings and endings,
Within your fire I seek cleansing.
I now leave this bad memory behind,
Entering the new year with piece of mind!

When done, blow out your candle. No longer dwell upon what you wish to be forgotten. It is past.
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A Spell for Hibernation
JANUARY 06, 2022 BY SUSAN PESZNECKER

Avoid the winter blues by embracing hibernation. For this spell, don comfy clothes and fuzzy slippers. Have dark chocolate or a cup of hot chocolate ready. Set a blue candle in a dish of crushed ice—blue for the winter blues and the subtle blue of ice and snow. Sit before the candle on a comfortable couch or chair, wrap yourself in a blanket (again, fuzzy is good!), and repeat:

As the depths of winter near,
May I sleep deep like the bear.
Curling up in dark embrace,
Nurturing soul with calm and grace.

Meditate for a moment on the quiet benefits of winter’s cold depths. Imagine yourself slowing down and feeling the patient rhythm of the season. Munch the chocolate or sip the cocoa, feeling it sustain you. Blow out the candle and place it on your altar. Each morning, light the candle for a moment and pause, considering how you will embrace winter’s rhythms that day. Blow out the candle and carry on.
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Chakra Clearing Spell
JANUARY 05, 2022 BY DEBORAH BLAKE

The beginning of the year is a good time to do all sorts of cleansing, clearing, and balancing spells. One that is particularly useful is a chakra clearing spell. Chakras are the energy centers of the body, and are vital to the flow of physical energy. Because they are connected to emotions as well, when the chakras are blocked, you can feel sluggish, unhappy, and out of balance.

The seven chakras are located at the root (base of the spine), sacrum (lower abdomen), solar plexus (belly), heart, throat, third eye (middle of forehead), and crown (top of the head). Each chakra is associated with a color in this order: red, orange, yellow, green, light blue, dark blue/ purple, and violet or white.

To do this spell, sit quietly and visualize each chakra, starting at the bottom. See it glow with color and strength, and say this spell for each of the seven in turn until you feel them clear and the energy moving freely:

Chakra strong and chakra clear,
Bring me energy for this year.
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Grow Your Wealth
JANUARY 04, 2022 BY TESS WHITEHURST

Magically clarify and bless your financial goals today so your savings account will grow throughout the year. Put a little potting soil in the bottom of a pot. Crumple up a dollar bill into a loose ball and hold it in both hands. Close your eyes and bring to mind the amount of money you’d like to have in your savings account by the end of the year. In your mind’s eye, imagine checking your account and seeing this number. Feel the joy of having already accomplished your financial goal. Place the dollar in the pot and put a little more soil on top. Then pot a jade plant on top of the dollar. Once the jade is potted, water it. Choose to be open to creative ideas for earning and receiving money. Also vow to take continuous action toward earning the money you desire. As you care for your jade plant throughout the year, know that money is constantly coming to you, from both expected and unexpected sources.
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Magical Snowflake Window Art
JANUARY 03, 2022 BY ASTREA TAYLOR

Window art is a great way to create a screen of privacy and protection between your home and the outside world. For this spell you’ll need paper, scissors, and tape.

Start with a square of paper. Trace the four corners with your finger and speak your intention aloud. Fold the paper to create a triangle. With every fold, imagine the power of your intention doubling. Fold the paper again to make a smaller triangle. Fold it again to make a triangular crease at one-third
of the triangle. Repeat from the other side to create a tiny triangle with two “tails.” Cut the tails off so the edges are smooth. As you cut shapes in the folded paper, say:

With every cut, I call to me
Protection and privacy.
It’s a fortress, you can see.
So move along, good day to thee.

Once you feel the paper will convey your meaning, open it up and envision it working. Tape your magical snowflake up in a window.

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How Our Foremothers Coped with Sore Throats
by Susan Wittig Albert, https://susanalbert.com/all-about-thyme-january-2022/

Good for the throat: Honey, sugar, butter with a little salt, liquorice, to sup soft eggs, hyssop, a mean [moderate] manner of eating and drinking, and sugar candy. Evil for the throat: Mustard, much lying on the breast, pepper, anger, things roasted, lechery, much working, too much rest, much drink, smoke of incense, old cheese and all sour things are naughty for the throat. —The Kalendar of Shepheardes 1604

Sore throats must have been high on the list of family ailments, because every home medical manual offers several herbal remedies. Here are a few of Great-Grandmother’s favorites.

Apply a poultice:

The pulp of a roasted apple, mixed with an ounce of tobacco, the whole wet with spirits of wine, or any other high spirits, spread on a linen rag, and bound upon the throat at any period of the disorder.—The American Frugal Housewife, by Mrs. Child, 1833

Simmer a syrup:

Take of poplar bark and bethroot [lamb’s quarters, Trillium pendulum], each 1 lb.; water, 9 quarters; boil gently in a covered vessel 15 or 20 minutes; strain through a coarse cloth; add 7 lbs. loaf sugar, and simmer till the scum ceases to rise.—Family Hand Book, 1855

Suck on a candy:

Horehound lozenges are good for a sore throat. A Dictionary of Every-Day Wants, by A. E. Youman, M.D. 1878

Take a snack to bed with you:

Water-gruel, with three or four onions simmered in it, prepared with a lump of butter, pepper, and salt, eaten just before one goes to bed, is said to be a cure for a hoarse cold.—The American Frugal Housewife, by Mrs. Child, 1833

If all else fails, try a hot toddy and a cuddle:

Before retiring soak the feet in mustard water as hot as can be endured . . . . On getting into bed take a hot camphor sling. [A hot toddy made with brandy or rum, honey, and tincture of camphor] Rub the bridge of the nose between the eyes with a little oil. Cuddle in bed and sleep it off.—Healthy Living, 1850-1870, compiled by Katie F. Hamilton

And for an up-to-date review of science-supported herbal remedies, go here.
https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/318631#marshmallow-root

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Heartwings Love Notes 1016 Cooking with Circumstance

Heartwings says, “Making do with what you have is a thrifty way to live.”

The Christmas season was very busy for us, though as I look back, wonder how the days were so full. I even had help. A dear friend helped Stephen wrap our presents, a blessing, as my hands are not as dexterous as they used to be. And I do move more slowly, taking more time to do everyday tasks. Still, each day was so full that I didn’t get any Christmas cards off! I did send some internet cards. In them I explained to the folks who sent me cards why I didn’t reply. As well, I told them how much I appreciated the cards I did receive.

I also did very little shopping for groceries, and what I did was often on line, with delivery. The spread of covid makes me reluctant to leave my home. I have memories of my mother getting groceries delivered when I was little, and my children of course do not, because it went out of style many years ago. Now it is back, and who could have predicted that would happen? However, navigating the websites to figure out how to get what I want, as well as get things delivered properly has proven to be a learning experience my mother was fortunate not to have to deal with.

I find that I am doing more cooking from scratch because I’m home to do it. I’ve always liked to cook so that’s not a problem. I’m also using up some of the items in my pantry I’ve had for a while, which is all to the good. I soon need to take the time to clear my pantry shelves and look for items that may have gone into hiding under other items. Too, the shelves in my pantry are open and things may have fallen down behind them and need to be retrieved.

Today I made a really good new rice pudding I hope you’ll try. Here is the simple recipe:

Coconut Rice Pudding
¾ cup uncooked white rice
1 ½ cups water
2 ½ cups coconut milk, divided
½ cup sugar
½ tsp orange zest, vanilla or cinnamon
¼ tsp salt
1 egg
1 cup chopped or mixed dried fruit, chopped dates, or raisins

Method: Combine rinsed rice and 1 ½ cups water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, cook for 20 min. Stir in 2 cups coconut milk, sugar, and flavoring. Bring heat back up to boiling, then lower to simmer. Cook 20 min or so, until creamy, stirring frequently. In a smaller bowl stir together and beat ½ cup milk and 1 egg. Fold into rice mixture and stir well, cooking for 5 more minutes. Pour into a bowl and add flavorings and fruit, except if pomegranate, hold until serving. Refrigerate several hours or serve warm. It’s even better the next day.

May you find much to be grateful for as you use up what you have.

Blessings and best regards, Tasha Halpert

PS I do love to hear from my readers. If you have stories to share or recipes, please write to me at tashahal@aol.com and for more love notes and other fun things, visit my website at http://www.heartwingsandfriends.com.

January Couplets by Tasha

Snowflakes drift in January air,
clothing branches that are bare.

Sparrows seeking berries, seeds,
Flutter to fulfill their needs.

Winter branches reach to sky,
Dancing as the clouds sail by.

Breezes brisk say wrap up tight,
Singing songs of winter bright.

January brings a chill,
Much of nature’s sleeping still.

Yet each day brings moments more,
Stretching longer than before.

Winter sun is cherished now,
Hope it keeps away the plow

January days will pass,
Underneath the snow is grass.

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Walking Through Your Fear

Frequently, in walking through our fear, we discover that the strength of our fright was out of sync with reality.

The situations, activities, and individuals that frighten us remain static. Their relative intensity does not change. Fear, on the other hand, self-magnifies. It is when you are afraid and envisioning all that might go wrong that the energy underlying your fear grows. A tiny flicker of anxiety can easily develop into a terror that manifests itself physically and eventually paralyzes you into inaction. Though frequently, in walking through that fear, we discover that the strength of our fright was out of synch with reality. And we learn that doing what frightens us can lead to great blessings. Confronting your trepidation head-on will help you accept that few frightening scenarios will ever live up to the negative disasters that we sometimes play out in our minds.

Though fear is literally an evolutionary gift meant to sharpen your senses and energize you during times of great stress, it can nonetheless become a barrier that prevents you from fulfilling your potential by causing you to miss out on rewarding, life-changing experiences. During the period before you face your fear, you may have to deal with a barrage of negative thoughts and emotions. Walking through it, whether your fear is public speaking, taking part in an activity that makes you nervous, or asserting yourself when the odds are against you, may be equally as difficult. But once you have emerged unscathed on the other side, which you will, you will likely wonder why you assumed the worst in the first place. As you spend time worrying about what might happen, it’s good to know that your fear probably won’t happen at all. It may feel like a great weight has been lifted from your shoulders, and you will likely feel a sense of passionate pride. Walking through your fear can mean taking risks and can require both practice and patience. Since it is challenging to act when you are gripped with fear, start small.

Each step you take into fear will strengthen you and help you confront future fears with poise, courage, and confidence. You will also find that when you are willing to stare your fear in the face, the universe will always offer you some form of aid or support. When you see the heights of accomplishment and personal evolution you can attain when you walk through your fears, your faith in yourself will grow, allowing your next step to be easier.

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Nostradamus Predictions for 2022
By The Alchemist.

Another year is about to end, and things are getting weird again. Covid madness is again the most notorious topic. Restrictions rise again, and people are trying to cope with an inhuman way of living. At the same time, poverty and wars threaten to destabilise an already troubled world. But, hope shines anew as more people are awakened, charging magical currents, and shifting global consciousness. Let’s dive more into Nostradamus Predictions for 2022.

Nostradamus and Astrology
We have predicted a change like no other in our predictions for 2020. And we still predict that this weirdness will last, but will also give birth to hope. Right now, Jupiter in Pisces will make his best to bring all kinds of blessings and – at last – the good vibes we so desperately need!

But let’s focus on the most famous astrologer of all time. It seems that Magical Recipes Online‘s Mage and Alchemist are not the first who predicted this madness. Michel de Nostredame, born in December 1503, also known as Nostradamus, was a popular French astrologer, seer and physician. He is best known for his book Les Prophéties, a collection of 942 poetic prophecies about future events.

Nostradamus Predictions for 2022
Although poetic, his prophecies, most of the times, make perfect sense. Nostradamus wrote what he had seen in the stars and the astral plane – probably parallel universes, too. Sometime spirits give cryptic messages. At the same time, he was an Astrologer (!!!) in medieval dark times, in the royal court, surrounded by fanatics! So yes, we can excuse some poetry from this powerful seer! So let’s see some of his predictions!

Meta-universe, Artificial intelligence and the Matrix?
“The Moon in the full of night over the high mountain /The new sage with a lone brain sees it /By his disciples invited to be immortal/Eyes to the south. Hands in bosoms, bodies in the fire.”

Elon Musk is already awarded as Time magazine’s Person of the Year. He is a pioneer for Artificial intelligence and he also believes that we already live in Matrix! Moreover, he is the one who invests billions on high-end technology which can stimulate the brain of people with impaired vision or mobility!

Poverty rising and Starvation
“So high the price of wheat/That man is stirred/His fellow man to eat in his despair.”

Expensive energy, products, delays, empty market selves… We’ve already experienced an increase in the price of energy, gas and of many, many products in the Super Markets.

Death of a King (or like a king)
“The sudden death of the first character, he will be changed and they will put another in his kingdom.”

This, of course, signals the sudden death of a VERY important figure of this world. Some assume Joe Biden, or Queen Elizabeth.

Global Warming
“Like the sun, the head will seal the shining sea. The live fish of the Black Sea will almost boil.”

The famous astrologer predicted Global Warming, probably as a result of an unparalleled Solar Storm! Either way he’s spot on right?

European Union’s Downfall?
“Sacred temples of the Roman time, will reject the foundations of their foundation.”

If not downfall, this certainly talks about a deep institutional change within Europe! Will the start of Brexit have a domino effect?

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Cannabis For Migraines?
~Andrew Weil, M.D.

Is it true that cannabis can treat migraine headaches? Do you have to smoke it? How effective is it?

We know from a number of studies that some people with migraine use cannabis to reduce their pain. The most recent data suggest that cannabis is indeed effective for migraine pain, with inhalation being the most effective means of consumption.

One 2020 study looked at self-reported data in the Releaf phone app by those who had consumed cannabis in a joint, pipe, or vaporizer to evaluate its effect on migraine pain. In that study, 699 individuals recorded 1,910 occasions of cannabis use for migraines (280 people) or headache (493 people, some of whom also indicated migraine pain). The vast majority of these people (94%) reported at least some pain relief after using cannabis. The best results were reported by younger participants, by those who consumed cannabis by smoking joints, and by those who used a product with a THC level at or above 10%. Interestingly, higher CBD levels in a product were associated with less significant pain relief.

A similar study of data saved in the Strainprint app by patients using medical cannabis for headache and migraine found that inhaled versions reduced the self-reported severity of these episodes by approximately 50%, although that report noted a drop in effectiveness over time.

We know from an earlier study published by the University of Colorado School of Pharmacy in 2016 that cannabis appears to reduce the frequency of migraines. Researchers looked at its effects of cannabis use on 121 migraine patients who had been referred by their physicians to medical marijuana dispensaries in Colorado. They found that 85 percent of the patients reported getting fewer migraines during treatment: an average drop of 10.4 to 4.6 episodes per month. In addition, 12 percent of the patients said that using cannabis at the onset of a migraine often aborted the headache.

Most of those patients used more than one form of cannabis on a daily basis and reported the best success with inhaled forms. Fourteen patients reported unwanted side effects, most often sleepiness. Two said the effects were too strong, but they were using edible products, which are more commonly associated with adverse reactions.

That study followed a report published in May 2015 by Eric P. Baron, D.O., of the Cleveland Clinic’s Neurology Department. Dr. Baron reviewed the history of the medical use of cannabis with a focus on migraine and other types of headaches. In his analysis of 38 previously published randomized controlled trials, he found that 71 percent of the studies concluded that “cannabinoids had empirically demonstrable and statistically significant pain-relieving effects,” while 29 percent did not. Dr. Baron’s report concluded that we need more clinical trials to explore the potential of cannabis in the prevention and treatment of migraine and other types of headaches. Such clinical trials remain difficult to develop and conduct in the United States, however, given differences between state laws that may permit cannabis use and federal law, which prohibits it.

In 2007, researchers at the University of Perugia in Italy reported that individuals with chronic migraine had significantly lower levels of two cannabinoids that occur naturally in the body compared to age-matched controls. This difference may explain why some people are susceptible to these headaches and why cannabis appears to help prevent and relieve the headaches.

I am hopeful that researchers will develop effective ways to deliver the pain-relieving benefits of cannabis without the drawbacks of smoking.

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Sharing Grief

Grief is part of the human experience, and sharing our vulnerability helps create truly close bonds.

When we experience something that causes us to feel shock and sadness, we may feel the urge to withdraw from life. It may seem like remaining withdrawn will keep us protected from the world, but during these times it is important to reach out to those trusted and precious people who care about us the most. Even with our best information and reasoning, we never know when someone else’s experience or perspective can give us additional information that we need. The universe speaks to us through many channels, and when we open ourselves up to receive its messages, we also receive nurturing care from a loving partner in life’s journey.

Grief is part of the human experience, and sharing our vulnerability is what creates truly close bonds in our relationships. Opening ourselves up in this way gets to the core of our being, past all of our defenses and prejudices. When life seems to crack the outer shell of our world, we are both raw and fresh at the same time. It is then that we discover who is truly willing to walk with us through life. We also see that some of those sent to us may not be the ones we expected to see. Regardless, we learn to trust in the universe, in others, in our own strength and resilience, and in the wisdom of life itself.

Sharing grief allows us to ease our burden by letting someone else help carry it. This helps us process our own inner thoughts and feelings through the filter of a trusted and beloved someone. We may feel guilty or selfish, as if we are unloading on someone who has their own challenges. Although, if we think about it, we know we would do the same for them, and their protests would seem pointless. Remember that not sharing feelings with others denies them the opportunity to feel. We may be the messenger sent by the universe for their benefit, and it is on this mission that we have been sent. By sharing our hopes and fears, joys and pains with another person, we accept the universe’s gifts of wisdom and loving care.

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Is Yoga Good For The Brain?
Andrew Weil, M.D.

New research does suggest that practicing yoga affects some of the same structures in the brain that are enhanced by aerobic exercise. An investigation from the University of Illinois published in December 2019 reviewed earlier research on the links between yoga and brain health and found increases in the volume of the hippocampus, a brain area involved in memory processing. In addition, the amygdala, which contributes to emotional regulation, was larger in people who practice yoga compared to those who don’t. Other areas of the brain, including the prefrontal cortex and cingulate cortex also tend to be larger or more efficient in yoga practitioners. The studies reviewed used brain-imaging techniques such as MRIs, and they all focused on hatha yoga, which includes body postures, breathing exercises, and meditation.

Researcher Jessica Damoiseaux, of Wayne State University, noted in a press release describing the study that the prefrontal cortex “is essential to planning, decision-making, multitasking, thinking about your options and picking the right option.”

Five of the studies the researchers reviewed looked at volunteers with no yoga background who engaged in one or more sessions per week over 10 to 24 weeks. The investigators compared brain health among these individuals at the beginning and end. The other studies measured brain differences between people who already practice yoga regularly and those who don’t.

In addition to the beneficial brain changes seen, they found that people who practiced yoga performed better on cognitive tests and measures of emotional regulation than those who didn’t.

Study leader Neha Gothe, a professor of kinesiology and community health, commented that since yoga is not aerobic in nature “there must be other mechanisms leading to the brain changes” but “so far, we don’t have the evidence to identify what those mechanisms are.” She said she suspects that “enhancing emotional regulation is a key to yoga’s positive effects on the brain. Studies link stress in humans and animals to shrinkage of the hippocampus and poorer performance on tests of memory.”

The findings of the new study tell us even more about yoga’s positive effects and its potential for expanding the brain and improving its function. We’ve long known that yoga can improve muscle tone, flexibility, and balance as well as feelings of calm and emotional and spiritual balance. It is one of the best forms of nonaerobic exercise.

Andrew Weil, M.D.

Source:
Neha P. Gothe et al, “Yoga Effects on Brain Health: A Systematic Review of the Current Literature,” Brain Plasticity, December 26, 2019, DOI: 10.3233/BPL-190084

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Facing Fears in the Scariest Campgrounds in America
From Ghost Hunting Theories

Camping has made a second comeback with folks wishing to have some space and time with nature. But what if you’re a curious-minded person who likes a little adrenalin rush? Well, I’m going to give five scary campgrounds you might want to try out and some very real ways at each one to face your fears. Do you dare?

Fernwood Campground
Big Sur, California
It has the right setting to be unsettling, as Fernwood was supposedly built atop of Native Land that was taken over for public use. A Native man in a corn mask is said to wander the property among the cabins and tents, an apparition from the past history of the land.

This is a picturesque forest to camp at with lots of facilities including hot showers, a fire ring and picnic table for each camp.

Scare: You won’t feel like you’re all alone in the woods, but you will feel how ancient the land and trees are. In a location like this, with a supposed apparition wandering around, I’d suggest you push your limits of tolerance by setting up a folding chair near the cabin area between 2-3 am when the Native ghost is seen wandering.

El Cosmico
Marfa, TX
It’s hard to have missed hearing about the Marfa lights. This strange and unexplained phenomena in Marfa, Texas has made for some curious lookie loo’s and a great lookout spot near the highway to allow for people to just go gaze. Yes, the lights show up that much!

You can rent a safari tent, trailer, or Yurt. They also have room for self camping. The good news is you’re right near the viewing area. Imagine the creepiness of knowing that this strange phenomena is happening in the area?

Scare: Try some communication with the lights. See if you can will the lights to come and go. It is a good experiment to see if we have any psychic connection to the source of the lights, whether we can predict them or send a message to will them. If you want, video the lights and tell the lights out loud when to “light!” See if there is something to it. Try turning your flashlight on and off three times rapidly, then wait. See if you can get reciprocation as a sign of interaction.

Calico Ghost Town
Yermo, California
The campground has facilities for rigs, tents, electric, restrooms, etc. What is exciting about this one is the ghost town’s reputation for ghosts.

The town once produced silver, not far from Barstow. It was inhabited by many foreigners employed to work there. But, the silver market fell and the town emptied out at the turn of the century.

It is said that the couple that once ran the store still haunt the place and spooklights are seen at night.

Scare: Spooklights are interesting things. They look like a lantern light but when you go to chase them, you can’t seem to find their source. I wouldn’t want to amble around in the desert chasing them, but I would consider making a little communion with any ghosts in the town. You might consider a Ouija board session if you are comfortable with that tool.

Otherwise, I would suggest you plant yourself in a good spot to see much of the location and wait it out. It can take hours for ghostly specters to show themselves and you need to get used to the normal shapes and bits of light in the location in order to really make out a form. Consider bringing a camera that can zoom well or binoculars to view the town from a distance that is not disturbing for any activity.

Another option is to hit the cemetery near sunset. Shadow people show up a lot in cemeteries, especially just after dark or when it’s turning dark. They may peek out around headstones or trees. You will likely first feel a strange foreboding and see something from the corner of your eye – turn your head slowly. If you turn too quickly, they seem alert to the movement and rush off.

Freetown State Forest
Southeastern Massachusetts
Of all the locations, this one is probably the most scary because it is smack dab in an area known as the Bridgewater Triangle that is super high strangeness; UFOs, poltergeists, orbs, spooklights, cattle , thunderbirds, and more.

Scare: There are a lot of potential ways to face your fears in this region, but given that there is also a fairly high count of people missing here, be sure you are equipped for the situation with GPS and a phone that is charged. If you are keeping some of your friends/family at the campsite, consider a walkie set. I would personally give spooklights a chase here and see what I can find. You need to get into the woods, turn your light out, look around. See if you find any odd lights to investigate. Don’t do it alone. That would be dangerous and dangerous is different than scary. Differentiate the two.

Conclusion
Anywhere you camp, there are plenty of chills and thrills, whether it’s fear of the bears or Bigfoot lurking around, UFOs in the dark night sky or ghosts wandering the pathways. It becomes even more spooky when you sit in absolute darkness and just listen and let your imagination run wild, or perhaps form a campfire and sit around it telling stories. Have an end-of-summer sojourn into the spooky woods and scary wilderness. A little darkness and silence might bring your imagination to life and it just might keep you up all night long.

Enjoy!

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Gilberto Rides Again Chapter 35
by Stephen Halpert

Gilberto woke early. He turned on the morning news. He was shocked to hear that the fire chief determined arson had destroyed the Atlas building. It wasn’t old wiring or even a short circuit but a clear case of arson. The fire chief said that it was sloppy work and that the perpetrator didn’t even try to cover his tracks.
Gilberto scratched his head. Could Sara Midgley have gone mad and destroyed the focus of her corporate ambition? But why? It made no sense without a clear reason.
His phone rang. It was Ramon.
“Did you hear? Arson!”
“Yes!”
Long pause, then Ramon said. “But who?”
“Good question. There’s must be something we keep missing.”
“Whatever you say,” Ramon said. “Personally, I think it’s foreign. I think Buzz stepped on the wrong feet and someone kicked back.”
Gilberto frowned. “Ultimately, something like this was bound to happen. He made so many ruthless acquisitions.”
“Someone from the past then? Ramon said. “Someone he kicked and left for dead is now taking revenge?”
“But Buzz’s dead,” Gilberto said. “Whoever’s behind this has an ulterior motive that’s eluding us.”
Ramon sighed. “And that’s what’s right before our eyes?”
“Must to be, otherwise nothing makes any sense.”
Ramon smirked. “Since when does anything make sense anymore.”
“True,” Gilberto said. “I’m calling Smith. I’ll check in with you later.”
“Include me,” Ramon said. “If there’s a fight, I want in.”
Gilberto chuckled. “Yes.” Just like our fights for the cups back in the days when Karibe was our goalie.” He hung up and dialed Smith.
Smith answered and listened attentively. “I fully understand the way you feel. I’m sending Rain after you. It’s time for some intervention.”
Gilberto wasn’t sure what he meant by that. “Okay,” he said.
“Very off the record,” Smith said. Our best memories we shield from our grandchildren and our wives.”
Gilberto nodded. “Understood.”
“She’s on her way.” Smith hung up. Five minutes later he heard her beep and after kissing Maria, he hurried out the door.
“Be ready to rock and roll,” Rain said as he climbed into her dark sedan. A young agent was driving. Gilberto saw a rifle case.
“Back to Newtonville,” Rain said. “Many calls made from there. We may be looking at a cell operating against American interests. Atlas could be a small cog in a bigger movement. Atlas distributes worldwide. Suppose that supply chain it offers is slowed or broken.”
Gilberto frowned. “Atlas has some military contracts. Big deliveries to bases across the country.”
“Gum that up and our country could be put at risk. We’re dealing with national security.”
“Russians? Chinese? North Korea?” Gilberto asked.
Rain shrugged. “Hard to tell right now. But we’re monitoring two hot phones. And I want us to take a look see.”
From the Pike they drove along the Charles River until Gilberto saw a small row of ranch houses. “You can’t just barge in there without a warrant, can you?”
“Says who?” Her voice was soft, patient. “Gilberto all that matters is the ultimate success of the mission. If elimination proves a necessary response. Then so be it.”
He nodded. He sensed a touch of ruthlessness in the edges of her voice.”
She sighed. “But I’ll make every effort to play nice,” she grinned. “By the book.”
He nodded. “Good to hear.”
“For as long as I can,” she said. “I’m defending America. Simple as that.”
The driver passed the small row of houses, turned a corner and parked. Gilberto noticed he had the same listening device he had seen earlier.
He parked the sedan a block away, outside a gas station and convenience store.
“Let’s take an old fashioned walk,” her voice gentle, her arm in his. “Just a romantic couple taking a stroll,” she whispered.
Then she laughed, swayed and gently touched his cheek. Still embraced they stopped at the front door of a small ranch with old shingles. The windows were murky. It appeared dark inside. A late model blue Toyota hatchback sat in the driveway.
Continuing to hold her arm around him Rain knocked three times. No answer. She took a key and slid it into the keyhole. Two turns and the door quietly opened.
“Hello,” she called out. “We’re here. Are we on time for the wedding?”
They heard a creak in the ceiling. Someone might well be moving about upstairs.
Sounding slightly exasperated Rain called out. You’ve got to be home. Weren’t you expecting us? We drove all the way from Chicago. I know you’ve got to be home.”
She signaled to Gilberto follow her. They moved from the foyer to the living room. Empty pizza boxes and cans of soda sat on a coffee table. The couch and chairs were worn. That’s when they heard a dog’s bark, then its footsteps coming down the stairs.
Rain motioned Gilberto to the other side of the room. She drew a small sinister pistol.
A large fluffy Saint Bernard lumbered into the room, wagging its tail. It rubbed against Rain. She petted it and carefully removed its collar. The nametag read Boris, with a Newton license tag.
“Hello Boris,” Rain said. “Aren’t you lovely.”
Boris wagged his tail and drooled a friendly doggie smile.
Rain examined the collar. “It has some sort of tracking device. Such a beautiful creature. They started upstairs, Boris following after them. The small rooms were empty; no furniture, clothes, nothing except a thick pad where Boris must have slept.
Outside Boris the Saint Bernard sniffed, relieved himself, and returned to them. For all intent and purposes the blue Toyota was empty. Rain removed the dog tag from the collar. They climbed back into the sedan, Boris beside Gilberto in the back seat.
As they passed the Charles, Rain had the young agent slow to a stop. She opened her window and threw the collar into the water.
Boris yawned and gave Gilberto a friendly lick.
“Maybe your daughter would like Boris,” she said.
Gilberto smiled. “‘Better for her than ants and a pet mouse. A while ago she had a little terrier who died of heartworm.”
Rain nodded. “I’ll check out his tag. See if we can determine his owner.”
Boris yawned and put his chin in Gilberto’s lap. He closed his eyes and snored softly.
“Company,” the driver said. “Green Ford. Picked us up shortly after we left that house. Kept its distance, now it seems to want to engage.”
The driver picked up speed. The green Ford gained on them. Rain opened her window, reached for the rifle and positioned herself.
(To be continued)

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Kitty Kat’s Korner
=^..^=
Family Cat Accidentally Donated To Thrift Store With Old Recliner
By Ben Hooper

Jan. 5 (UPI) — A cat was reunited with its Colorado family after being accidentally donated to a thrift store along with an old recliner.

Denver Animal Protection said personnel responded to the Arc Thrift Store in Denver when employees discovered there was a cat hiding inside a recliner chair that had been donated earlier in the day.

DAP was able to extract the feline from the chair, but employees found the animal’s microchip information was out of date.

Luckily, the family that donated the chair had discovered the cat was missing and went back to the thrift store to see if the feline had stowed away with the seat. The store directed the family to DAP.

The cat, named Montequlla, was not injured and was reunited with her family.

)0(

Georgia Nicols Weekly Horoscope
January 09, 2022

All Signs
This week vague reasons allegedly for the common good will be used to justify acts of insurrection; while the real motive is greed and power. (Ah ha!) Neptune at odds with Mars indicates manipulation by others. Hey, when issues are fuzzy, or you suspect you’re being played, remember: you are responsible for your own decisions. You are responsible for your own actions. You are your own person. As long as you come from a place of kindness, honesty and a genuine desire to benefit – that’s all you can do. In fact, if you can do that, bravo! Personally, I’m lucky. Where I live, it’s so laid back, if someone waves a knife, it has butter on it. Hot tip: You can click http://www.againstmalaria.com and buy a mosquito net for $2 and save the life of a child in Africa. Hello? Two bucks? The life of a toddler? No brainer. Start this year with the highest good.

Aries (March 21-April 19)
There’s good news and there’s bad news. The good news is that with the Sun and Venus at the top of your chart, you are admired and respected. People see you as talented, capable and on top of your game. (Regardless of what’s really happening.) In fact, a romance with a boss could blossom. (Old bosses, parents and people in authority from your past are emerging out of the ether.) The bad news is you might become a victim of propaganda and fast talk by persuasive people who want your support. Don’t believe everything you hear. Think for yourself. Someone might try to talk you into agreeing with them. If you think something fishy is going on – it is!

Taurus (April 20-May 20)
Keep your wits about you this week. You might make travel plans for the future, especially plans to recoup a cancelled trip. Why? Mercury goes retrograde this week and it loves to replay the past. Don’t be unwittingly seduced by propaganda that is not true. It might appear to be for a good cause, which seduces you to support it. But is this the real truth? It’s important to know. “You take the blue pill… You wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill …and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.” Go forward with plans for travel, further education and exploring opportunities in medicine and the law. Think carefully about everything else.

Gemini (May 21-June 20)
This week is full of positive energy; and yet, it’s prone to possible deception, dupery and dissimulation. To say nothing of the hyperbole of alliteration. (Ah, never miss a chance to feed the soul of a wordsmith.) To get right down to it, on the one hand, gifts, goodies and favours from others will come your way. You might get a loan or a mortgage. However, on the other hand (yes, you have different rings) you could be the victim of some double-dealing. Someone might cloud an issue or veil the truth. They might trick you to get something from you or your share of something. (Wow, keep your eyes open!)

Cancer (June 21-July 22)
Relations with partners, close friends and members of the general public are blowing hot and cold. One complication could be that old friends and ex-partners are back on the scene. (Could be a sticky wicket.) Relations with others are warm and bonding; however, there is a chance of confusion, veiled facts and misperceptions. “Natasha?” “Heathcliff?” “No, it’s Boris!” Be certain of your facts before you agree to anything important, especially when discussing matters with those who are closest to you. Remember, often when we are fooled, we are really fooling ourselves.

Leo (July 23-Aug. 22)
You’re ready to work hard and party hard. A great balance if you can swing it. You want to be productive and accomplish a lot. You want your efforts to count, which is why you want to be efficient. (You’re making lists.) Meanwhile, some of your ego is tied up in creative projects, socializing with others and dealing with kids. But somewhere along the line, an element of confusion might make you question yourself. You might even question your good impulses? Don’t let others make you lose faith in yourself. You are Leo the Lion – King of the Jungle. (And it’s a jungle out there.)

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22)
This week you seek a balance between social occasions, sports, fun times with kids and dealing with old flames who are back in your life – versus – dealing with increased chaos at home and within your family. Oy! Conflict at home might drive you to seek fun escape with others. Your challenge will be to make sure that in both areas (home and family as well as your social world) that people are being straight with you. The truth is someone might be dealing from the bottom of the deck. You are perceptive! You’re the most observant sign in the zodiac! Keep your eyes open and trust your intuition.

Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22)
Your focus on home and family continues. Some are entertaining, or redecorating and tweaking your digs. (You love to do this and you’re good at it.) You will socialize with your safe cabal of friends and family. Mercury will go retrograde this week and attract relatives and family back into your world, especially people you haven’t seen for a while. Be aware that the confidence with which you will assert yourself this week (and you will be confident in conversations with others) might be unsettled for some reason. You might wonder if you’re losing your touch. Relax. This shaky feeling will be gone before you can say creme brulee.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21)
You’re busy! Fortunately, you find it easy to be charming, which is why people want to see you. This week is peppered by disruptions, delays, transportation problems, missed buses, confused communications and missed appointments. They are minor aggravations, but frustrating! Don’t worry, you’re not losing it. What’s happening is Mercury is going retrograde in the part of your chart that deals with ground transportation, daily communications, and your daily habits. On top of this, confusion and possible deception about money, cash flow, earnings and possessions might cloud things. It’s all a bit maddening but this is nothing you can’t handle. Entertain loved ones.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 21)
You have strong energy this week because fiery Mars is in your sign. Naturally, this indicates a time of great activity in your life, when you will work hard to further your own interests. This is why you won’t hesitate to assert yourself among others. Because you will be more proactive and much more of a fighter for your own rights than usual, relations with those who are closest to you might be sensitive. Meanwhile, personally you are focused on money, cash flow and your possessions. No question. How is it then that something will happen or someone will say something that makes you question your right to do what you want to do? This is unnerving. Fortunately, it’s a passing thing.

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 19)
You feel cocky and confident with the Sun, Mercury and Venus in your sign. The Sun boosts your confidence and attracts good things to you. Venus makes you charming and sociable. Admittedly, Mercury goes retrograde this week, which will create silly errors, mixed-up communications, misplaced items, traffic problems, transportation glitches as well as machinery breakdowns – including computers. No! Unfortunately, yes. But the challenges of Mercury retrograde are never big. They’re just irritating. Your greatest challenge week will be self-doubt and a shaky confidence. Something going on behind the scenes makes you nervous. The truth is it has no basis and will be quickly gone.

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 18)
Friendship is important to you, and indeed, you are a good friend to others. However, this week it seems like so much is going on behind the scenes. Financial matters look strong. Likewise, you are confident as you have set off on a new path in the last year. But privately, something requires your attention. For some of you, it’s a secret love affair. Others might feel challenged or downcast or disappointed by dealing with a friend or a group. You might feel that people question your integrity. (This would be a blow.) More likely, someone is feeding your insecurities. The thing to know is that this dark cloud on your horizon is gone in a week. Courage!

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20)
Many people are making demands on your time right now. They want to see your face. They want to connect with you. They want your advice and they want your company. On top of that, suddenly, old friends from the past and people from organizations from the past are coming out of the woodwork. You’re more involved with creative, artistic people, as well. While this is going on, privately, your ambition is aroused and you want to make a name for yourself. Natch! It’s the beginning of the year and you intend to sparkle! (And of course, you will because Jupiter is in your sign for the first time since 2010.) Don’t let anyone rain on your parade. Things might happen that make you question your success. You might be afraid you’ll be “found out.” (I’m navel lint!) These insecure feelings will be gone in a week

)0(

Weekly Horoscopes Beginning Sunday, 09 January 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:

Epigram: The combination of errors and unexpected events you’re facing may slow your pace and, worse, force a review of tedious details. Tempting as it is to rush through these, take them in stages. First, delve into their source. While this could reveal your own carelessness, you’re likely to discover others’ as well. However, rushed you are, invest time in these. The resulting discussions will be amazingly informative.

You’re determined not to run into problems you have had in the past year. This may mean you and the company you work for may have to be self-sufficient. Instead of having to rely on others to provide certain services you will be working on ways to bring these in-house. Your plans are aimed to bring the maximum benefit with the minimum of cost. The more flexible you are the more progress you will make.

There are decisions to be made. You might also know that there is a real danger of a team fracturing – or pulling in different directions. It might help to hold the thought that Mercury, the planet of potential teamwork and communications, turns retrograde on Friday. Review will be necessary and that could be a good thing. Others may not yet show either their true colours or, rather better, their hidden talents. Priority should be given to determining their plans. It’s very likely that these are much altered. The more you discover and discuss these, the better placed you will be to build the perfect team for your plans. Viewed as a long-term project, this could prove a super successful time when you mirror support. Consider all meetings and discussions as future investments.


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

Your horoscope for this week:

Epigram: For months, if not years, you’ve stubbornly avoided rethinking, if not substantially altering, certain elements of your life. Now, finally, you’re recognising this isn’t just inevitable, it’s in your best interests. The challenge? You’re still trying to do the minimum. The secret? Take that first step. Once you’ve done that, you’ll recognise the promise even dramatic shifts hold and wonder why you waited so long.

An event is postponed. You have more time now to make sure that when it does go ahead, it will be even better than planned. Look on this as an opportunity not a problem. Colleagues seem to be in a mad rush. You may have to shout to make yourself heard. It doesn’t make you comfortable to work in such a chaotic environment. An older relative will be frustrated after losing something they need. They will expect your help to find it.

Others want to know where you stand and what you are now aimed towards. There is a solar eclipse in your sign at the end of April. That degree is accented next Friday when Mercury will be at exact right angle to it whilst also turning retrograde. It’s likely vital that you make and keep accurate notes of any meetings held mid-week as words could come back to haunt you. You also need to know where you stand within a team and who is with you for the longer term. You should also consider Plan B’s and who would step in if things go awry. With your ruling planet still retrograde until the end of the month, you have ample opportunity to refine and develop a craft, talent or skill. Indeed, by the end of the week, you could astound others by showing a flare in an area to which they were unaware you had any interest. They may now need time to assimilate this new information.


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

Your horoscope for this week:

Epigram: Although many believe the period when your ruler Mercury is retrograde is a source of problems, actually it’s as much about breakthroughs. Although this cycle begins Thursday the 14th, and lasts until 4 February, ironically, you may already be experiencing the exciting twists and turns and, often, unexpected events this brings. The secret? Embrace changes but, also, double-check facts and be ready for surprises.

Events are varied and will keep you on your toes. It doesn’t matter if things don’t go according to plan. Half the fun is the challenge of having to sort out minor difficulties. It helps that you aren’t taking matters too seriously for there will always be a funny side if you look at it. Someone close is preoccupied with a personal matter they don’t want to discuss. You respect their wishes but would love to be able to help.

Your aims, ambitions and desires have no doubt expanded. You need a bigger window on the world, more opportunity and yes, probably great interaction with those who live and work far away. Now you need to articulate these desires. Taking time to put together a coherent list would be wise in the first half of the week but save selling it for the second half. Note too though, that Mercury turns retrograde on Friday. It may be that there are many adjustments yet to be made. Expect others to challenge your apparent ability to multitask. They likely want to know that you’re focused on a goal (i.e., that you won’t be distracted!) and that you are clear as to how it can be achieved. That may be this week’s cosmic challenge.


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

Your horoscope for this week:

Epigram: You’re in a cycle that’s about spotting, discussing and finding new approaches to misunderstandings, past and present, and obstacles in your own life. Once you understand that, you’ll tackle issues one by one. Some will be easily resolved, others tricky. However, you’ll learn from each, even those that seem unimportant. True, dealing with a few will require patience. If so, the results will be worth it.

You will get more out of the days and you will get along better with workmates and neighbours if you accept you live by a different set of values to those around you. Take note of the fact you’re unlikely to alter someone’s ideas no matter how hard you might try. With so many possibilities for pleasure opening up for you later, be certain you don’t waste time and energy on trivial matters.

From this Sunday’s (9th), Quarter Moon through until the Full Moon in your sign on January 17, you can do so i.e., much to push your career forward. Yes, you will likely need support – but isn’t that always the case? This though, seems to be about working within a team and is a recurrent theme for all signs. Fractures and disagreements are probable after Mercury turns retrograde at the weekend. It would be wise not to rely too much on what is agreed this week and accept that refining and reorganisation will be necessary. It’s very likely that someone who has yet to appear as a leader or who is willing to take responsibility, has yet to appear on the scene. (Though agreed, that person could yet be you!). What’s important for all Cancerians, is to be reassured that your interests aren’t ignored and that others are aware of which jobs you really enjoy.


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

Your horoscope for this week:

Epigram: As much as you enjoy creating happiness for others, suddenly events are forcing you to give priority to their needs and a tricky range of duties. While you could seek shortcuts, you’ll soon realise you’re not only learning from the resulting efforts, this is leading to frank discussions about arrangements you hate but have felt stuck with. You’re exploring better ways of handling these.

A domestic matter will cause some tension mainly because you can’t agree on how to sort this out. You have plenty to say but be prepared, too, to listen to others. If someone is being too stubborn to listen to you, point this out to them patiently. This should lead to a suitable compromise. Someone close has had some bad luck and you will be determined to help them get back on their feet. Whatever happens, your efforts will be sure to bring a smile to their face.

Yours is one of the Fire signs, and it seems that you’re always ready to burn. Yet others can dampen your spirits. In the lead into the Full Moon on 17th, Cancer, Scorpio or Pisces colleagues could effectively pour water on your plans. Rising above this may be something of a challenge. Note too, that on Friday, Mercury turns retrograde in your opposite sign. However, determined some of these individuals appear to be in the first half of this week, hold the thought that they could yet change their mind. You can’t at this moment rely on anything – which may not be a bad thing. It could be that valuations are incorrect, or that there are other matters quite beyond your control that hold things up. The slowdown process could actually be valuable. One of the things missing from Leo is good thermostat control. You can’t acquire this overnight but knowing that it’s needed would be a good start! The art this week is not to overreact to events beyond your control but instead to observe your reactions and modify them as necessary.


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

Your horoscope for this week:

Epigram: Tricky as recent discussions about persistent issues were, you achieved more than you dared expect. However, this was just the beginning. On Thursday your ruler, the ideas planet Mercury, goes retrograde, exposing yet more issues. View this as an amazing opportunity delve into these yourself and brainstorm with others and you’ll be amazed how much you enjoy this exciting cycle of growth, discovery and change.

A complete clear out in the home or workplace will need more than just your own efforts. You could do with some help but it will take a lot of persuasion to get others to support you. Despite them looking as if they have nothing to do, they will conveniently have other matters to attend to. After a joint effort even, others will agree that the results have made all the hard work worthwhile.

You may remember that Mars is passing over the base of your solar chart. Mars is the energiser i.e.; it fires things up. Yet there are times when this can get out of control. Yours is a sign with a justified reputation for multitasking and for versatility. Yet it may be that you really have taken on too much. Your ruling planet, Mercury, turns retrograde on Friday and there is every likelihood that you will have to go back and redo matters or cope with others altering direction. Rather than be in permanent flap worrying as to what comes next, the art is surely to examine closely options available, keep copious notes of any meetings and connections and, if possible, align with an Aquarius whose approach to challenge, though very different to your own, proves super helpful. In fact, this joint force could yet become a partnership.


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

Your horoscope for this week:

Epigram: There’s a difference between knowing plans need to be discussed and issues settled, and ensuring these are dealt with soon. Between tricky planetary activity and the Full Moon, on the 17th, even simple plans will change, probably often. The trick? Focus on organising arrangements that are flexible, then back off and allow events to unfold at their own pace. The outcome? Be patient until the end of month.

Travel plans look more positive than they have done recently. Even so if you’re taking or planning a group holiday you may need to take charge. Others aren’t making too good a job of keeping things simple and organised. Trust your instincts. Let your intuition guide your action. A diet low in fat and high in protein could make a difference if you admit to having been indulging too much in food and drink.

Mercury moves through the research and development area of your solar chart, and you could, as of Monday, be off to the races. Full of ideas, and inspired by possibilities, you could make real headway. That said, there is the potential to hit something of a brick wall on Friday as Mercury reaches its retrograde station just a couple of days ahead of an important (for Libra), career-accenting full Moon. True, it could be family matters that stop you in your tracks. It might also be that something you’ve written which hasn’t been sufficiently well edited, comes back to haunt you. There is also the strong possibility of being involved in an educational programme. It may be that others want to pick your brain. Career wise it seems likely that you are set to launch yourself on new platform and could, yet excel if you don’t move too fast too soon.


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

Your horoscope for this week:

Epigram: Having sidestepped decisions involving perplexing situations, you’ve lots of energy and not much to do. First, focus on decluttering excesses in everything from your schedule to your possessions. This may be challenging but will prove unexpectedly informative. Next, note what and who adds to your life. This is preparation for the Sun’s encounter with your ruler Pluto, on Sunday the 16th, and the accompanying life-changing events.

Tact and diplomacy will be necessary if you want to get anything done. Some people seem to think you will automatically go along with their suggestions but this isn’t what you want to do. What’s more you can’t help feeling you are being pulled in separate directions. A phone call received at work or at home will request your presence in another place. This won’t be easy to arrange when you had already made other commitments you can’t get out of.

Following on from what you learn between Tuesday and Friday, it will surely be necessary to take stock. A valuation may not be as you hoped and rethink may be necessary. Bear in mind that Mercury turns retrograde at the base of your solar chart but will return to these degrees in a few weeks’ time. In short, all is far from lost. What’s arguably important is that you assess, reassess, and rethink exactly who you want to team up with and why. Property and travel issues are likely to dominate. You may also find that it’s someone who feels threatened and who as a result, doesn’t behave wisely, who creates the biggest fuss. Given your extraordinary sensitivity and desire to assist, you will have to take care that this person doesn’t drain limited resources when you really need to concentrate on your own future.


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

Your horoscope for this week:

Epigram: For ages you’ve known you’d have to review how you use everything from your time and money to your ideas, but something’s always interfered. Suddenly, increasingly pressing matters require thoughtful and lasting decisions and you feel overwhelmed. The trick? Seek guidance from those whose experience and wisdom you trust. Then comes the biggest challenge, actually taking advantage of their advice. Do it. You won’t regret it.

A heart-to-heart conversation will clear away a recent misunderstanding and you feel relieved you are able to talk openly once again. You can see the funny side of all the flared tempers and sulks but you might still decide that if a similar dispute crops up again in the future you will try to sort it out more amicably. You aren’t convinced it will be as easy to start a new work project as your boss is making out.

Don’t be surprised if you lose a little momentum. You will pick it up. It may be that the cosmos has put you in some kind of traffic queue. The pause moment might actually be useful in that this could give you the space to consider an alternative route. Next week, both Mercury and Venus will be retrograde and yes, it’s likely that you will need to turn back and reconnect with those who’ve felt a little left behind. Don’t underestimate the value of the information you have yet to impart. What might not seem important to you, is likely critical to others. It might also be that the shape of a team has changed so much, that you have the opportunity to assess the new creative zeal now available. All is far from lost: you just need space and time to consider your next move.


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

Your horoscope for this week:

Epigram: Once you begin basing decisions on feelings more than fact, you’ll exchange worries for confidence. Take that approach and you’ll soon be able to relax and enjoy the amazing, if often totally unexpected, events, ideas or offers coming your way. Risky as this seems initially, you’ll soon realise it’s not only the best, but the only, way to approach this exciting new cycle of your life.

After a busy start to the week, the end will be less strenuous. Don’t fret over what does not get done earlier as there will be plenty of time to catch up with neglected chores. From Thursday you might even enjoy the chance to sit with your feet up whenever the mood takes you although you won’t want to waste all your time doing nothing. You’re cautiously optimistic about the outlook of an experiment being trialled in your neighbourhood.

You won’t be the only sign needing both space and time before you move forward. Fact is that Mercury is apparently slowing down and will turn retrograde on Friday. Next week both Mercury and Venus (the latter moving through your sign) will both be retrograde. Many people will likely want to either turn the clock back or at least go back to where they felt they were couple of weeks ago. Yet the other planets are moving forward. So yes, that push-pull tension that’s been around for so long will likely be very apparent; and yes, your exasperation with those who’ve failed to deliver will once again be great. The art is perhaps not to be too disappointed or to be lured by false promises. This would surely be a good time to assess marketing and design skills. It may be that you’ve yet to successfully show just how much you’ve achieved in the last decade (since Pluto arrived in your sign); but yes, it’s perhaps also true that you require professional assistance to polish your CV and general image.


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

Your horoscope for this week:

Epigram: A total reorganisation of your way of living, working, loving – or, possibly all of them – has long been on your mind but you haven’t known where to begin. Events between now and the pivotal Aquarius New Moon, on 1 February, lead the way. The secret? Explore every option but avoid committing until you’ve encountered all these exciting ideas and the people that come with them.

Extra responsibilities are being pushed onto you whether you like it or not. These will have come with little in the way of warning. Forget those worries you have had about not being able to cope. Not only will you manage admirably but anyone working with you will be doing their best to cooperate. Keep telling yourself that all is going to turn out right in the end. Someone you feel very close to has some interesting news to share.

Mercury is moving through your sign but its movements are barely perceptible presently. It arrives at its retrograde station on Friday. It stations on a degree linked to the solar eclipse on April 29. It may be that decisions taken this week will have full effect then and that this is the optimum time for you to enrol on a course or in some way improve your present position. Yes, a relationship could be involved and yes, a trial period may be necessary. Yet there is much to be gained during Mercury’s retrograde phases. That this one coincides with Venus (also retrograde) suggests that the next coming weeks will be superb for investing. Primarily, you need to take care of you and then you can take care of others. It’s likely that a team is not yet gelling in the way that you would wish. It may be that it’s simply the wrong team! And yes, you might question your role and even if you want further involvement. Losing impetus is probable. What you likely need is to be inspired – unusually -by someone who’s Earthy, (Taurus, Virgo or Capricorn) practicality helps guide you through a maze of possibilities.


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

Your horoscope for this week:

Epigram: Long ago you realised certain individuals have a talent for manipulating you into shouldering what are really their responsibilities. While you’ve learnt to refuse them, the current planetary setup combines your affection for drama with feelings of guilt, especially in situations where others are struggling. True, the matters in question aren’t your responsibility. Despite that, you’ll be tempted to say ‘yes’. Think twice about that.

You’re tempted to neglect a few responsibilities when something else that seems far more appealing comes along. If you cut too many corners this could make more work for you or someone else later in the month. They won’t be happy and you will feel annoyed with yourself for having been careless. That’s why you should give everyday chores the attention they need. Don’t worry, there’ll still be plenty of time for fun activities. You can balance work with play.

You probably know that you have a reputation for losing things – making it imperative that you focus as carefully as you can. Should you mislay anything, it will likely be some time before it’s found. That’s because as of Friday, Mercury turns retrograde where it joins Venus already in that state. It could take a couple of weeks before items are found. On the plus side, and perhaps because you will be searching for things, you could retrieve items and information that have been long-lost but which could yet be recycled. Remember that Mars is continuing its journey over the apex of your solar chart. Though your energy might be scattered, it’s nevertheless there. Take care that in frantic moments you don’t damage items or relationships that still have value. At another level entirely, your presence within a group should make all the difference to the group either splitting up or re-gelling and finding new path.

~CelestialPrognostication

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By GrannyMoon Posted in Pagan

GrannyMoons Weekly Feast: 2 Jan 2022

Your greatest gift to your family and friends is yourself –
your relaxed, happy, and fully-present self. ~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

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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Receive Your Own Personal 2022 Forecast
From GrannyMoon!

A guide to help you understand the opportunities and issues you may face in the coming year!

Relationships
Health
Career
And More
10.00 Donation on PayPal!

Please send your date of birth and I will get your
reading to you within 24 – 48 hours!
GrannyMoonsMail@yahoo.com

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Current Moon Phase: January 2nd – New Moon
The first New Moon of 2022 is today, January 2nd! Over the coming days the skies will be dark and Moonless but this weekend the Moon will be in a Waxing Crescent. This phase and can be seen in the western horizon at dusk.

Goddess Aspect: Maiden

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

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

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What’s Happening This Month

Celtic Month of Birch – December 24th to January 20th
Goddess Month of Hestia – 12/26 – 1/22

Jan. 2: New Moon in Capricorn

Jan. 3-4: Quadrantids Meteor Shower (considered to be one of the best annual meteor showers with about 40 per hour) – this will be a very dark night so viewing will be excellent since its close to a new moon. The peak viewing time will be 2:40 PM, MST

Jan. 6: Epiphany

Jan. 14: Mercury becomes retrograde (4:41 AM, MST)

Jan. 14: Thorrablot – Norse/Heathen celebration honoring Thor

Jan. 17: Full Moon in Cancer – Wolf Moon – The first Full Moon of the year is known in many cultures as the Full Wolf Moon, which is appropriate given the deep, ancient ties between wolves and January’s Full Moon. For instance, the Gaelic word for January, Faoilleach, comes from the term for wolves, faol-chù, even though wolves haven’t existed in Scotland for centuries. The Saxon word for January is Wulf-monath, or Wolf Month.

Jan. 19: Zodiac Period of Capricorn ends

Jan. 20: Zodiac Period of Aquarius begins

Jan. 24: Sementivae – a grain-oriented Roman festival

Jan. 29: Venus becomes progressive (1:45 AM, MST)

Jan. 30 – Feb 2: Roman celebration of Februalia

Jan. 31: Up Helly Aa – Scottish celebration in the Shetland Islands

Jan. 31: Disting/Disablot – The Dísablót (English and Swedish: Disablot) is the blót which was held in honor of the female spirits or deities called dísir (and the valkyries) from pre-historic times until the Christianization of Scandinavia. Its purpose was to enhance the coming harvest.

Jan. 31 New Moon 10:49 PM, MST)

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Sunday Classes with GrannyMoon at Sticks and Stones, Fairfax, VA

January 2022

Face to Face Class: 1 PM – 3 PM ~ WitchCrafting – Jan 2
Face to Face Class: 1 PM – 3 PM ~ The Herb Cauldron – Jan 9
Face to Face Class: Noon – 2:00 PM ~ The Magick of Crystals – Jan 16
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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 too!

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!
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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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Seasons of the Witch
Yule Oracle
Stars

Follow the stars, for they know best,
not too light, not too dark,
a shimmer of what comes next.

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Stacy Adams
coventrycreations.com

January 3, 2022 – January 9, 2022

One of the stark differences between November and December and the month of January is the lack of aspects between the planets. At the end of last year, we were inundated with aspect after aspect, and throughout most of 2022, things drastically slow down. This can be both positive and challenging because although things will be calmer when there are no aspects, the energy can become stagnant.

Then, since the daily aspects are primarily driven by the Moon, we can easily get stuck in the feels. This week starts with only two planetary aspects – Venus Rx sextile Neptune and the Sun conjoining Venus Rx.

The week begins with the Moon moving through Saturn ruled Capricorn and Aquarius. Saturn provides a serious backdrop, which is fitting because everyone will be back to work after the holidays. Expect some intensity on the career front when the Moon conjoins Pluto in Capricorn on Monday. The Moon will then go void of course (avoid making firm agreements or starting anything new) until late afternoon when she moves into Aquarius.

On Tuesday, expect the unexpected and things to change at a moment’s notice as the Moon squares Uranus. You may feel frustrated and defeated by outside forces, but continue to press on – and remember, you are not your feelings.

Midweek, we have a lovely aspect between Venus and Neptune (Venus Rx sextile Neptune) and romance is in the air. You will feel a powerful soul connection with your partner, so it’s the perfect day for a date night or even a nicely prepared dinner and a Netflix binge. Also, immerse yourself in music and the arts, because they are powerful conduits that will uplift your spirit and feed your soul.

This weekend, the Sun conjoins Venus Rx. This is a fine time to explore your relationships and who you are in them. Are you a different person when you are connected to someone, or do you maintain your individual identity? Remember, one of the main features of Venus Rx is seeking balance, and that includes balance within.

Recommended Candles: Venus (Astro Magic), Love’s Enchantment (Blessed Herbal), Forever Mine (Dorothy Morrison’s Wicked Witch Mojo)

Astrology Forecast brought to you by Storm Cestavani of http://www.stormcestavani.com/

Don’t put off until tomorrow what you should do today!
Out with the old and in with the new! But what will the new bring? That’s for you to decide and with Capricorn season upon us, it’s time to take charge, seize the day, and carve your own path. November was about leaving the past behind and December had you looking to the future. Well, the future is here and you need to take advantage of the opportunities that come with it. What you do and don’t do today will determine how your 2022 unfolds. So borrow a page from Saturn’s playbook and take care of business!

January 2022 Astro Magic
Happy New Year!

After November and December, January will be a piece of cake. Of course, there are some hiccups – the Sun conjoins Pluto and squares Uranus, Mars forms a problematic aspect to Neptune, and both Venus and Mercury are retrograde. But January is much easier and more manageable.

New Moon in Capricorn on January 2, 2022
On January 2nd the moon is new and in the sign of Capricorn and the perfect opportunity to put more punch in your new year’s resolution. The energy of this new moon will reward you with ambition, a rational mind, and the determination to stick to your plans. January’s theme is always trained on focus and staying the course because Capricorn energy propels us to think of our life as a journey filled with things to accomplish. Much like fertilizing your garden with Miracle Grow, you’ll get amazing results when you invite the Cap into your plans.

Full Moon in Cancer on January 17, 2022
Drama, drama, drama. This full moon is locked and loaded for lots of it. A Cancer full moon is one of the most emotionally packed moons in the zodiac. Add an opposition to Pluto and Capricorn and you have the Osbournes vs the Kardasians on steroids. If you are not interested in another family brawl, you and your siblings can channel this energy constructively and take your relationships to the next level. Wouldn’t it be nice to settle grievances and be friends again or for the first time? Family teaches us the deepest lessons on tolerance, cooperation, sharing, kindness, and love. A Cancer Full Moon shines the spotlight on your familial wounds and offers time and space for sitting down together and healing as a family.

Ready, Set, Manifest! Spell – January 2021

Before you can manifest what you really want, you have to let go of the inner fears, stagnant energy, and outside barriers that would block it’s arrival. This Witches Union spell takes you through the ritual of letting go of your limits and opening the door to greater possibilities with ways to sustainably manifest it.

What has changed with Magic in the last 20 years?
20 years ago, the turn of the 21st century may as well have been the turn of the 20th century at the speed of change in today’s world. We quickly forget how life was a quick 10 and 20 years ago; the need to memorize a phone number and actually dial it, the need to look up directions on a map and slow down to read street signs, addressing an envelope to mail a bill payment, or even hand writing a note (legibly). The same goes for the magical world.

Dazzle your friends by being a Coventry Creations magic maker!
Follow our blogs on coventrycreations.com.
Find us on Facebook @coventrycreationscandles.

Join our Witch’s Union Facebook Group https://www.facebook.com/groups/WitchesUnionSCC and be part of something special, because you are special. You can do magic!

Follow us on Instagram @coventrycandles and Pinterest, Coventry Creations.

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Llewellyn’s Spell A Day

Gifts of the Shadow
JANUARY 02, 2022 BY MELISSA TIPTON

A new moon at the start of a fresh year is the perfect time to reveal any latent gifts seeking expression in the months to come. The darkness of this moon phase provides a safe space for any hidden qualities that might feel a bit vulnerable to emerge.

All you’ll need is a mirror and a black candle. In a darkened room, gaze at your shadowy form in the mirror, inviting contact with any unconscious gifts that are ready to be honored. Allow yourself to go into a light meditative state as you look at yourself with a soft focus.

Before lighting the candle on a heatproof surface, hold it in both hands and charge it with new moon energy. Then light the candle where it casts light onto the mirror. Gaze at yourself once more and allow any insights to arise. What within you wants to be seen, heard, and lived? How can you express these gifts in the days and weeks to come? When done, snuff out the candle with thanks.
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The Climb Begins
JANUARY 01, 2022 BY JAMES KAMBOS

Now nature begins its climb toward spring and summer, to growth, maturity, and eventually the harvest. We also begin our own climb. We have a clean slate before us. To what heights will you climb this year?

On a sheet of clean white paper, write two or three goals you’ve set for yourself this year. Or write them in your Book of Shadows. They could be health or diet goals, or perhaps a career or education goal—anything you desire. After you’ve written them, say:

Now nature begins its climb
to growth and the harvest.
I, too, begin to climb and
to fulfill my wish.

Keep the paper or Book of Shadows on your altar or other special place. Read your goals, meditate on them, and repeat the Words of Power about once a month. As you achieve a goal, you may strive for another. Just repeat the same steps. At the end of the year, even if you haven’t met all your goals, throw the paper away and start with a clean sheet next year.
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New Year’s Eve Banishing Salt
DECEMBER 31, 2021 BY KATE FREULER

To make this banishing salt, you will need one tablespoon sea or table salt and three drops tea tree oil, plus an envelope or other container.

On New Year’s Eve, take a quiet moment to yourself during the festivities. Hold the salt in the palm of your hand and think about something from the past year that you’d like to let go of. This can be many things or only one thing. Whisper your wish to the salt, allowing your breath to get onto it, imbuing it with your intention. Then add the tea tree oil to the salt. Place it in the envelope or container.

At midnight if possible, toss your salt away from you into the wind outdoors, or wash it down the drain. (This can be done discreetly if you’re around other people.) See the old year wash away from you, and welcome the new calendar year with a clear sense of hope. Recycle or reuse the envelope or container.
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Prepare Your Altar for a New Year
DECEMBER 30, 2021 BY DEBORAH BLAKE

Some people leave their Yule altars up for a while after the holiday, but it can be nice to start the new year fresh. The altar is a good place to start to clear away the energy of the year behind you and open yourself to the possibilities a new year holds.

Begin by taking everything off your altar. Clean and dust the altar itself, and anything that will be going back onto it. As you arrange items back on the altar, be mindful of what you want to achieve in the year to come. If you want love, perhaps add a heart-shaped rock or a dried rose. If prosperity is your goal, try placing a shiny dollar coin near a green candle. Move things around until it feels balanced and positive, then say:

God and Goddess, please bless
this new altar, prepared for a new
year. May it serve my magic well.
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Heart and Soul Balance Spell
DECEMBER 29, 2021 BY SAPPHIRE MOONBEAM

As we approach the end of the calendar year, it is a perfect time to work on balance. Life has many ups and downs, and finding balance can sometimes be challenging. Sometimes our balance is thrown off by fear.

When you need to regain balance and harmony, draw a yin-yang symbol on a piece of paper. Place the paper on your altar or sacred space, then put quartz crystals on top of the lines of the drawing. The quartz crystals will amplify your intention to find balance. Take three deep breaths to ground and center yourself. Continue the deep breathing until you feel peaceful and calm. Then, when you are ready, chant these words:

I release my struggle,
I surrender my fear.
I will maintain balance,
My intentions are clear.
I will focus on balance
with my heart aglow.
My soul will center with
an effortless flow.
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Food of the Gods
DECEMBER 28, 2021 BY ELIZABETH BARRETTE

Today is National Chocolate Candy Day. Chocolate is one of the most popular types of candy and is also an entheogen, which opens one’s soul to the divine. You may have heard it personified as the goddess Chocolata. The Mayan goddess of chocolate is Ixcacao, and the Aztec one is Xochiquetzal. You can invoke any of them for this ritual.

Get a bag of chocolate coins covered in gold foil, which are readily available this time of year as Hanukkah gelt or stocking stuffers. Place the coins in a brown bowl on your altar. Then say:

Chocolate, food of the gods,
fill my life with sweetness.
Gold, metal of wealth, coat
my life with prosperity.
Chocolata, goddess of chocolate,
open my soul to your abundance.
So mote it be!

Eat one of the coins now, savoring its sweetness. Whenever you need a boost to your abundance, eat another one, for as long as they last.
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Dreamtime Tea
DECEMBER 27, 2021 BY ESTHA MCNEVIN

There is nothing quite so nourishing as a good night’s sleep full of deep and safe dreams. This tea is crafted to be safe and effective for children and is a good part of the bedtime routine because it calms the stomach, flushes the system, and warms the body before bed. It inspires vivid dreams that encourage deep REM sleep and help us wake feeling more fully rested. A little goes a long way, because the fruity flavor is refreshing.

This recipe makes 2 ½ cups of dry herbal tea, which can fill a hundred bags with one teaspoon each. Enchant the mixture with prayers for sound and visionary sleep.

  • ½ cup dehydrated raspberries, crushed
  • ¼ cup chamomile
  • ¼ cup tulsi (holy basil)
  • ¼ cup peppermint
  • ¼ cup mugwort
  • ½ cup rose hips
  • 1 cup dehydrated blueberries, crushed

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Heartwings Love Notes 1015 January has Two Faces

Heartwings says, “It is important to choose our view with consciousness.”

The Roman god Janus gave his name to January. He is the god of doorways and transitions and invoked at beginnings, as well as placed at the gateways or doorways of homes. His head is always depicted with two faces. One face looks forward at the year to come, the other looks backward at the year that has been. In January, at the beginning of the year, we too can look in both directions. This can help us to put our lives into perspective and give us a helpful way to assess where we have been in 2021, and how we might proceed in 2022.

Although there is no going back to redo the past, it is important to review it: those who do not remember past errors are doomed to repeat them, something most would prefer not to do. We need to take the time to both observe and assess the past, though we need not, must not dwell there nor criticize ourselves for mistakes made. What matters is what we have learned.

It is even more important that we keep track of the past than that we make resolutions for the future. This is because we generally build our resolutions on our failures, do we not? We wish to lose weight gained, or eradicate our lackadaisical attitude toward exercise or do whatever we failed to accomplish for ourselves or others. This is what we use to build our new year’s resolutions. However, what is to prevent us from making the same past mistakes if we do not see them as lessons and learning situations?
Attempting correction by resolution may only make easier to fall back into. The other face of Janus, the one looking to the future is where we place our resolutions. Unfortunately, rather than looking to the future, if we are still fixated upon the past, our resolutions are built upon unresolved conditions from the past. Thus, they remain ineffective or even ignored. Additionally, projecting our wants into the future may keep us from enjoying the unexpected or unplanned events that await us. Instead, we need to practice openness and acceptance for the future.

Most importantly, both past and future need to be perceived with gratitude. That which we appreciate is more likely to become useful or helpful, as our openness to whatever it is helps us to see it better. When our personal vision is unclouded by either fear or desire, it is clearer. The two faces of January would indicate to us to gaze upon the past with gratitude, both for lessons learned and for gifts given, and to gaze upon the future with gratitude also, for lessons to be learned and for blessings to be given. The key to success with our attitude at the beginning of January, is to view both our future and our past years with detachment and with appreciation.

May you find a glorious future with joyful acceptance. Happy New Year.

Blessings and Best Regards, Tasha Halpert

Thanks in advance for your emails and comments, write me at tashahal@aol.com, and visit my site at http://www.heartwingsandfriends.com

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Dr. Weil’s Guide To Essential Oils | Andrew Weil, M.D.

Essential oils are extracted from flowers, leaves, fruits, barks or roots of plants, and are widely used in lotions and perfumes as well as in aromatherapy. The chemical composition of each essential oil determines its aroma, how well it can be absorbed on, or in the body, and how it affects physiology. Many concentrated extracts can influence mood and have been used over the years to address a number of health problems, including

Anxiety
Insomnia
Nausea
Migraine headaches.

Some essential oils have antimicrobial, antibacterial and antifungal properties and documented health benefits. Research on tea tree oil, for example, shows it to be as effective as an antibiotic-based topical treatment for clearing MRSA (methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus) bacteria from the skin. According to the National Cancer Institute, human clinical trials have investigated the use of essential oil aromatherapy to relieve stress and anxiety in critically ill patients.

Using Essential Oils
The quality of essential oils varies tremendously; the best and purest are very expensive. Be aware that undiluted essential oils should never be applied to the skin because they can irritate and burn. Be sure to dilute them first in a carrier oil, such as avocado or fractionated coconut oil. When buying an essential oil, be sure to ask specifically about dilution. In general, for use by an adult, you should use only two drops of essential oil per teaspoon of carrier oil, less for children, based on age, and for individuals with serious health issues.

Safety testing has revealed few other negative effects when essential oils are used as directed. Use of citrus or other oils prior to sun exposure can lead to sun sensitivity. Lavender and tea tree oils have estrogenic properties and can also block or decrease the effect of androgens (male sex hormones). They should be avoided by individuals with estrogen-dependent tumors. One study found that long-term topical application of lavender and tea tree oils led to breast enlargement in boys who had not yet reached puberty.

List Of Essential Oils
Chamomile Oil
Clove Oil
Eucalyptus Oil
Frankincense (Boswellia)
Lavender Oil
Lemon Balm Oil
Lemongrass Oil
Oregano Oil
Peppermint Oil
Tea Tree Oil
Thyme Oil

Buying Essential Oils
Because the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t regulate essential oils, do some research before you buy. Learn the botanical name of the oil you want. For example, not all lavender promotes relaxation: you want Lavandula angustifolia, not Lavandula latifolia, which is an expectorant, not a sedative. In addition, make an effort to learn the country of origin. Products imported from Europe are often of high quality. It’s also important to learn whether or not the manufacturer regularly tests oils for purity and protects them from oxidation, which can change their composition and make them irritating to the skin.

To find high-quality oils, shop at natural food stores or buy from suppliers to professional aromatherapists. Be sure to ask how long the oil will last before it spoils (usually about three years with proper storage).

Be sure to store essential oils (and carrier oils) in a cool, dark place. (You can keep carrier oils in the refrigerator but remove them 12 hours prior to use.)

The longer you keep an essential oil, the less effective it may become. Worse, spoilage as a result of exposure to oxygen can make a product irritating or allergenic.

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Analyzing the Path

When we take the time to recognize when we are happy and what that feels like, it becomes easier to recreate.

Those of us on the path of personal and spiritual growth have a tendency to analyze our unhappiness in order to find the causes and make improvements. But it is just as important, if not more so, to analyze our happiness. Since we have the ability to rise above and observe our emotions, we can recognize when we are feeling joyful and content. Then we can harness the power of the moment by savoring our feelings and taking time to be grateful for them.

Recognition is the first step in creating change, therefore recognizing what it feels like to be happy is the first step toward sustaining happiness in our lives. We can examine how joy feels in our bodies and what thoughts run through our minds in times of bliss. Without diminishing its power, we can retrace our steps to discover what may have put us in this frame of mind, and then we can take note of the choices we’ve made while there. We might realize that we are generally more giving and forgiving when there’s a smile on our face, or that we are more likely to laugh off small annoyances and the actions of others when they don’t resonate with our light mood.

Once we know what it feels like and can identify some of the triggers and are aware of our actions, we can recreate that happiness when we are feeling low. Knowing that like attracts like, we can pull ourselves out of a blue mood by focusing on joy. We might find that forcing ourselves to be giving and forgiving, even when it doesn’t seem to come naturally, helps us to reconnect with the joy that usually precedes it. If we can identify a song, a picture, or a pet as a happiness trigger, we can use them as tools to recapture joy if we are having trouble finding it. By focusing our energy on analyzing happiness and all that it encompasses, we feed, nurture, and attract more of it into our lives, eventually making a habit of happiness.

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Getting High On Nutmeg? | Addiction | Andrew Weil, M.D.

Can you really get high on nutmeg? I heard about this recently and think it sounds unlikely.

Yes, you can get high on nutmeg, but I doubt that you would enjoy it very much, and am willing to predict that you wouldn’t try it twice. Nutmeg contains small amounts of a drug called myristicin, an oil of the spice containing allylbenzene derivatives and terpenes. It is chemically similar to mescaline, the active compound in peyote, and may be converted in the body to one of the related amphetamine-like psychedelics.

The first thing you need to know is that you have to consume an awful lot of nutmeg to get high, ranging from around two tablespoons up to a whole container. Remember, nutmeg is used only in very small quantities in cooking and baking – typically only a quarter-teaspoon goes into a cake, or pie, or eggnog recipe to add flavor. But ground nutmeg straight from the can taste pretty awful.

If you manage to swallow enough, the effects can be variable, ranging from a mild floating sensation, anxiety, fear, and a feeling of impending doom to full-blown delirium. These don’t occur immediately; you may have to wait up to four hours for the effects, which can be long-lasting (up to 48 hours if you swallow enough). The after-effects are memorable and pretty miserable: a heavy hangover and nasty gastrointestinal upset including nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. In addition, your heart can race uncomfortably. The toxic effects are so unpleasant that very few people give nutmeg a second try. According to the Journal of Medical Toxicology, nutmeg poisoning is quite rare and often times unintentional among small children who accidentally inhale or get the powder in their eyes. Those in early adolescence are most likely to experiment with nutmeg because it is more easily obtained, less expensive than street drugs, and legal. Additionally, it has been mixed with other drugs, which has prompted more medical intervention. But the experience is so negative that perhaps those who have tried it will spread the word that it’s not worth the trouble.

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La Befana – The Celebration of Epiphany
By GrannyMoon, For The Lunar Monthly – 4 Jan 2017

Holidays in Italy are rich in traditions that have, for the most part, a religious history.

A favorite Italian holiday occurs on January 6 (some say January 5th). It is commonly known as “La Befana “(Twelfth Night or the Eve of the Epiphany or Little Christmas ). La Befana is a personification of the “spirit of the Epiphany” and can almost be considered a nickname for “Epifania,” the proper Italian word for epiphany. While the Western Christian Church celebrates December 25th, the Eastern Christian Church to this day recognizes January 6 as the celebration of the nativity. January 6 was also kept as the physical birthday in Bethlehem.

Tradition depicts La Befana as a kindly old lady with a stereotypical nose with a big red mole on top of it and a pointy chin. Wearing an old coat mended carefully with colorful patches and tattered shoes, she flies around on a broom and carries her black bag filled with sweets and presents for the children. Entering the houses through the chimney she places her gifts inside the children ‘s stockings hung with care, the night before. The buoni ragazzi (good kids) are very happy to find their stocking filled with presents. They have been busy writing letters to La Befana, la Buona Strega (good witch). But for the children who have not been good, there will not be presents, but a lump of coal!

The origin of the tradition is veiled in mystery and in all likelihood this poetic figure goes back to country legends of pre-Christian times. Befana also exists in various other popular traditions. For instance on the evening of January 5 th ,”The Old Woman ” ((symbolizing the outgoing winter), Befana appears in street processions as a masked figure with her consort, “Befana “,”The Old Man “.Their followers revel as music fills the street, they receive offerings, the gift of prosperity, and blessings from Befana. Then to assure a good year, the dolls are burned in effigy in the town square, welcoming the returning spring.

Her festival has usurped an ancient pagan feast set celebrated on the Magic Night, the 6th day of the New Year, chosen by ancient Eastern astronomers according to their complicated calculations. Epiphany was, therefore, pagan in origin. Only later was the day associated with the life of Christ.

Apparently, there was a woman with a broom called Befana found on some Etruscan scratchings. The people in remote areas of Emilia still call on her by that version of the name to bestow or cure malocchio (evil eye). Even la scopa (the broom)is considered a blessing against evil. In Italian tradition, however, the Christmas holidays ending on the 6th of January is quite fitting for a gift-giver since the Feast of the Epiphany commemorates the visit of the Magi (or 3 Wise Men) to the infant Jesus, with their gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. The Magi were named Balthazar, Melchior,and Gaspar, according to tradition. According to legend the three men during their journey stopped and asked an old woman for food and shelter. She refused and they continued on their way. Within a few hours, the woman had a change of heart but the Magi were long gone.

The Befana is depicted as a witch astride a broom, still searching the world for the Baby Jesus. Thinking of the opportunity she had missed, Befana stops every child to give them a small treat in hopes that one was the Christ child. Each year on the eve of the Epiphany she sets out looking for the baby Jesus.

Many welcome La Befana by laying out a small meal for her. Consisting of sausage and
broccoli and is usually accompanied by a glass of wine. After her arrival, it is a time for celebration and people move from house to house visiting friends and relatives.
This is a song used by some Italian children, a rough translation into English would be:

La Befana comes at night
In tattered shoes
Dressed in the Roman style
Long live la Befana!!
She brings cinders and coals
To the naughty children
To the good children
She brings sweets and lots of gifts.

Take frankincense, both of the best and the inferior kind, also cumin seed. Have ready a separate scaldino (spirit bowl), which is kept only for this purpose. And should it happen that affairs of any kind go badly, fill the scaldino with glowing coals, then take three pinches of best incense and three of the second quality, and put them all ‘in fila ‘ (in a row)on the threshold of the door. Then take the rest of your incense and the cumin, and put it into the burning coal, and carry it about, and wave it over the bed and in every corner, saying:

In nome del cielo!
Delle stelle e della luna!
Mi levo questo mal d ‘occhio
Per mia maggior ‘ fortuna!
Befana!Befana!Befana!
Che mi date mal d ‘occhio maladetta sia
Befana!Befana!Befana!
Chi mi ha dato il maldocchio
Me lo porta via
E maggior fortuna Mi venga in casa mia!

Translation:
In the name of heaven
And of the stars and moon,
May this trouble change
Befana!Befana!Befana!
Should this deed be thine;
Befana!Befana!Befana!
Take it away,bring luck,I pray,
Into this house of mine!
Then when all is consumed in the scaldino,light the little piles of incense on the threshold of the door, and go over it three times, and spit behind you over your shoulder three times,and say:
Befana!Befana!Befana!
Chi me ha dato maldocchio!Me lo porta via
Translation:
Befana!Befana!
Befana!I say,
Since thou gavest this bad luck,
Carry it away!
Then pass thrice backwards and forwards before the fire,spitting over the left shoulder,and repeating the same incantation.

Looking for a place to celebrate in the typical Italian tradition…here are a few!
Paularo,Italy :La Femenate Bonfire (January 6).
Tarcento,Italy :Pignarul Giant Bonfire Festival (January 6).
Cividale,Italy :Historical Pageant and Costume Parade (January 6).
Gemona,Italy :Messa del Tallero Medieval Pageant (January 6).
Milan,Italy :Epiphany Parade of the Three Kings proceeds from the Duomo to the church of
Sant ‘Eustorgio (January 6).
The legend of the Befana has had an important role in the imagination of all children of the world. Those who wish to relive the magic of the first wonders of infancy and understand the meaning and origins of this extraordinary figure,should be prepared to undertake a long voyage that will carry them back in time,to the origins of human ‘s history.
This little old lady so dear to children has continued to fascinate them for centuries, and they still await her arrival on the night of her holiday.The gatherings at La Befana are filled with music, song,traditional foods, sweets and gifts.Celebration reigns supreme, with people opening their hearts by sharing love and peace in the World.

Art: James Lewicki 1956
Source: “The Legend of Old Befana “, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich,1980,by Tomie dePaola
“Etruscan Magic &Occult Remedies” by Charles Godfrey Leland,University Books,NY,1963
Befana incantation from “Etruscan Magic &Occult Remedies “, by Charles Godfrey Leland,University Books,NY,1963.
“Befana ” by Fabrisia
Copyright GrandmotherMoon

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50 Ways to Spice Up Your Life!
Mountain Rose Herbs

  1. Add Lavender flowers to shortbread, cupcake, and ice cream recipes for a floral twist.
  2. Use Dulse, Kelp, Wakame, and other seaweeds in soups or make gomasio and use as a salt substitute.
  3. Grind Cardamom or Cacao Nibs with your coffee beans and brew for a unique treat.
  4. Make your own Vanilla Extract using Vanilla Beans and Vodka or Rum.
  5. Rehydrate organic Shiitake and Maitake mushrooms, roast in the oven with salt and olive oil, and add to soups.
  6. Use Cinnamon sticks in coffee, tea, or hot toddy drinks as a stir stick.
  7. Make homemade Chai with Cinnamon, Ginger, Cloves, Cardamom, Vanilla, and Black Peppercorns.
  8. Freeze Rose petals or Calendula flowers in ice cubes and add to your iced tea.
  9. Add Curry powder to omelettes and tofu scrambles and top with a mint yogurt sauce.
  10. Mix Pumpkin Pie Spice and raw local honey into cream cheese for a delicious bagel spread.
  11. Sprinkle Smoked Sea Salt on creamy pasta dishes with heirloom tomatoes and fresh basil.
  12. Mix Chives and Chilies into cornbread recipes for a spicy kick.
  13. Swirl your favorite Culinary Oils, Salts, Peppercorns, and Seasoning Blends together to create unique baguette dipping experiences. Try a delicious combination of Pumpkin Seed Oil, Smoked Sea Salt, and West Indies Rub!
  14. Use Stevia leaf powder instead of sugar to sweeten tea, coffee, and baked goods.
  15. Add Juniper Berries to meat, tofu, or tempeh marinades.
  16. Use whole Mustard seeds in salad dressings, marinades, or make homemade mustard.
  17. Add Lemongrass to coconut curries and soups.
  18. Use Rosemary, Garlic, and Black Pepper or Thai Curry seasoning on baked potato wedges.
  19. Infuse local honey with Lavender, Rosemary, Thyme, Rose Petals, Ginger, Sage, Vanilla Beans, or Red Chili Peppers.
  20. Grind fresh Nutmeg on pies, crisps, squash soups, and ice cream.
  21. Make herbal infused salts with Rosemary, Thyme, Sage, or Chili Pepper – or infuse sugar with Vanilla Beans, Roses, Lemon Peel, Ginger, or Lavender.
  22. Sprinkle a few crystals of Himalayan Pink Salt or Cayenne on homemade chocolate truffles.
  23. Galangal is used in Asian cuisine and gives an earthy, yet spicy ginger-like note to soups and sauces.
  24. Add Chinese 5 Spice to your vegetable stir fries, grilled tempeh, or stews for a spicy and warming meal.
  25. Roll fresh local butter in Tarragon, Basil, Thyme, Dill, Chives, Oregano, and Marjoram and spread on warm bread.
  26. Use Fenugreek in curries, rice dishes, and in flatbread dough.
  27. Add Anise seeds to biscotti or Italian pizzelle cookies for a traditional treat.
  28. Make your own flavored spirits by soaking Black Peppercorns, Cacao Nibs, Vanilla, Lavender, Cinnamon, or Rosemary in vodka, rum, gin, brandy, or tequila.
  29. Fennel seed is a classic sausage spice and common in Mediterranean bread recipes.
  30. Add Caraway seeds to savory rye breads, crackers, sauerkraut, and soups.
  31. Make a Licorice root infusion or use a pinch of the powder in recipes to add a natural sweetness.
  32. Infuse red wine with oranges, Cinnamon sticks, whole Cloves, Star Anise Pods, honey, and apple cider.
  33. Brew roasted Chicory Root and roasted Dandelion Root as a coffee substitute.
  34. Mix Chives, Garlic, fresh ground Peppercorns, Spinach powder, and Ancho Pepper powder into sour cream for a party dip.
  35. Use fresh or dried Cilantro in Mexican dishes, Thai and Indian curries, or Vietnamese Ph?.
  36. Make an infusion of Lemon balm and freeze into ice cubes for iced tea.
  37. Add Coriander seed to curries, masalas, pickles, and barbecue rubs.
  38. Use Dill Weed in sour cream and yogurt based dips and dressings, or use with seaweeds to create tofu faux fish patties.
  39. Make a batch of Spiced Tea Eggs!
  40. Add ground Cinnamon and Chia Seeds to smoothies and shakes.
  41. Infuse cream with Lemon Verbena to make ice creams and cheesecake recipes.
  42. Use Turmeric in curries, tofu scrambles, and rice recipes.
  43. Add Chili Pepper flakes and Herbs de Provence to spice up pizza, pasta, and calzones.
  44. Use Celery Seed in stuffing recipes, creamy soups, blue cheese dressing, and Bloody Marys.
  45. Add Thyme to roasted vegetables and red wine braises.
  46. Use Smoked Paprika in barbecue rubs and savory cream sauces.
  47. Add Sage leaves to gravies, brown butter sauces, and fancy grilled cheeses.
  48. Make Chamomile, Rose, Lavender, Vanilla, or Cinnamon syrup for cocktails, coffee, or to drizzle on desserts.
  49. Infuse apple cider vinegar with Italian Seasoning or with spices like Garlic, Ginger, or Cayenne.
  50. Create unique pestos with unconventional ingredients like holy basil, sage, arugula, parsley, thyme, cilantro, lemon balm, jalapenos, Hemp Seeds, Pumpkin Seed Oil, or Black Lava Salt.

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Following Nature’s Cycles

We cannot have harmony and balance in our lives if we forget to include the earth and natural rhythms in our lives.

Nature, in all its myriad forms, is the most powerful force on earth. Although mankind has tried, we have not found a way to match its awesome power, but we have found ways to work with it. Science often confirms the wisdom of the ancients who observed and then harnessed nature’s rhythms and cycles to shape and enhance their lives. We can begin to do this in our own lives by first paying attention to our own natural rhythms, such as when we wake or when we feel the need to sleep. If possible, we may want to try to rise and sleep with the sun or live without electricity for a weekend and then monitor how we feel. We can make the choice to eat the foods of the seasons and to seek fresher, locally grown, or organic produce whose own cycles have not been tampered with by technology.

We can create harmony in our homes by making a smooth transition between our indoor and outdoor spaces. By bringing some of the outdoors inside and taking some of our indoor décor out, we can simultaneously enjoy nature and the comforts of home and the feeling that our living space is expanded. Then, whether inside or out, we can lounge on a comfortable piece of furniture and feel the wind, inhale the scent of deeply breathing plants, listen for the many songs of life, and observe the moon and the stars. As we do this more often, we may find ourselves noticing the pull of the full moon on bodies of water, as well as the water in bodies, or the music of the night acting as a lullaby.

When we seek balance in our lives, we want to balance not just our roles in life but also the natural elements in our spaces. Having representations of the elements in the colors, shapes, and textures of our homes will appeal to our mind, body, and spirit. We may find that when we sync ourselves with nature’s rhythms, we ride the waves of energy to feel more in harmony with life and the world around us.

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Ghost Hunting Theories
Haunted Lakes

Haunted lakes are a chilling scenario. Sure, haunted houses, haunted railroad tracks, haunted forests, but haunted lakes can add a pallor over any fishing trip or summer getaway. Why would a lake be haunted? Well, let’s look at some that claim to be –

Haunted Lake
Francestown, NH

Just outside of Francestown in New Hampshire, there is a pond that has come to be known as “Haunted Lake.” They had reason to give it this nomenclature.

Way back in the pond’s history, there was a fire along its shores that burned everything, leaving it looking very eerie and odd. European settlers and Native People all noted its odd appearance.

In the 1700s, a surveyor was employed to map out the area and wrote in his journal, “Soon after darkness set in, there commenced groanings and shrieks as of a human being in distress, and these continued, most plaintive and affecting, till nearly morning.”

In the late 1700s, a man was building a mill near the pond and found the bones of a “very large man.”

In the 1800s, four males drowned in the lake.

Eventually, the pond was named for the Scoby family, but locals still referred to as the Haunted Lake.

Lake Ronkonkoma
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 Ghost
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
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.

More info:
The Lady of Ronkonkoma
New Jersey’s Haunted Lakes 

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Gilberto Rides again Chapter 34
by Stephen Halpert

The Atlas building fire predominated the late-night news. It had been built in Boston in the late 1920’s on Harrison Avenue near Beach Street. Gilberto watched in rapt attention, channel surfing, hopeful of seeing more of what had caused such devastation.
His mind whirled. His anchor was gone. “What will I do tomorrow? I can’t go to work anymore.”
Maria stroked his shoulder. “No one can, at least for now.” She hugged him. “I’m so glad you sold your Atlas stock when you did.”
“Yes, but I don’t know what to do. Atlas has been my life.”
“You don’t have to know or do anything. Remember what Scarlet O Hara said at the end of Gone with the Wind. “Tomorrow is another day.”
He nodded and sighed. Usually her words would calm him; today, the pit of his stomach felt like lead.
“Someone will call tomorrow and fill you in, and if not tomorrow then the next day.”
“Maria, I can’t be laid back like you. Orders have to go out; without shipping Atlas will flounder and fall into the sea.”
She put her arms around him. “It already has Gilberto. I fear the Atlas you once knew is no more. Buzz is dead, Sara Midgley is bonkers. Who knows what’s even become of her?”
Mona came into the living room. Her forehead was wrinkled, her mouth turned down. “Daddy I know it’s late. But I need to talk to you. It’s really important.”
She hugged him and looked up into his eyes. “It’s getting colder outside, and I’m afraid my ants will freeze and die. Can I bring them in, please?”
His head spun. What was she talking about? He almost shouted but caught himself in time. “No, they have to stay outside on the porch. I don’t want them crawling around in here. They’ll get all over the furniture and everything will get messy.”
She put her hands on her hips and mimicked her mother. “Daddy, ants aren’t messy. They’re very clean. They wash themselves. Something about them bother you?”
Maria put her hand on Mona’s shoulder. “This isn’t a good time to discuss this, Mona. Your father’s very upset. The Atlas building where he works burned down.”
“I’m sorry for that Daddy, but I know they’re cold, all huddled up together, probably their tiny teeth are chattering.”
He sighed and tried to control his voice and his volume. “Ants’ teeth don’t chatter,” he said calmly. “And besides,” he began.
Mona soldiered on, ignoring him. “Yes, they do daddy. They have no coats or scarfs and when it gets freezing cold outside nothing can protect them. Please let me bring them in and keep them in my room where it’s warm; please!”
Maria tried again. “Mona,” she said. “They’re perfectly safe in their plastic ant house. We’ll talk about this tomorrow. Now please go to bed. You should be asleep by now.”
“I can’t sleep,” she said, her determination clear. She took her father’s hand. “I’ll lie in bed, sure they’ll all be dead in the morning. Please daddy, let me bring them inside.”
“That’s too bad,” he said more forcefully than he had intended. “Then you can bury them outside.” He sighed. “Besides, ants in nature live out of doors all the year round. You could let them out now and they’d find an ant hill and be just fine.”
Mona’s face grew grim and her lips tightened. “My ants are special. They have a nice house and everything! She turned to Maria, pleadingly. “Please Mommy. They’ll die outside in the cold.”
Maria sighed. “Take a blanket from the cedar chest and put it over their ant house. But be sure to put on a coat if you’re going outside.”
She smiled and ran for the hallway. “Ok,” she said. “Thanks Mommy. Daddy, please don’t be so angry. It isn’t good for you to be that way. Your face gets all red and I get scared your veins will plop.”
Gilberto sighed and contained himself as best he could. “Thank you for caring about me. But if we didn’t have ants on the porch none of this would be discussed.”
“Right,” she said, heading for the coat closet. “And when can I get a pair of white mice.”
Maria’s voice rose. “Mona not now. This is not a good time. Besides ants live outside anyway.”
“Not my ants. Not when it’s cold.”
Gilberto had heard enough. “I don’t want ants or mice in my home. I mean it. Enough is enough. Now go to bed.”
Mona turned to Maria, frowning. “Mom, you said you’d talk to daddy and get him to let me have the mice.”
Gilberto’s face squinched. “Why do you want mice?” His voice rose.
“So I can watch them have babies,” she said. “If they’re in a happy home they can have lots of children.”
He raised his hands and clutched at his head. “No! He shouted. “I mean it, No.”
Maria stood and took Mona’s hand. “This is not the time,” she said, following her to the hall. “Now put on your warm coat and get a blanket from the chest and cover them up. We’ll talk about it tomorrow when you get home from school.”
As they left the living room, Gilberto heard Mona say. “Why’s daddy so mean. Why is he afraid of my having little mice and ants?”
Gilberto shook his head. Joey came in and sat on the couch. Gilberto thought he looked tired. “Homework troubling you.?” he said.
Joey sighed. “I don’t know what to do. Sophia said she wants me back and says because she’s older, she gets first dibs.”
“How does that make you feel?”
Joey sighed. “I don’t think I want a girlfriend right now. I’ll be going to college, and I think I need to be free.”
Gilberto nodded. “Then tell her that. Exactly what you just told me.”
Joey nodded. “I tried, but she just brushed it off and said I didn’t know a good thing if it hit me in the eye.”
Gilberto frowned. He tried sounding philosophical. “Good things don’t hit you in the eye.”
“I know, but she doesn’t listen. I tried telling her but she just ignored me. Are all women that way?”
“Some,” Gilberto said. “Best to have a girlfriend who listens to you, at least some, if not most of the time.”
(To be continued)

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Kitty Kat’s Korner
=^..^=

The Litter Box — From Your Cat’s POV
By Rita Reimers

Meow, it’s Simon Says Reimers here, and I own human Rita Reimers, the Cat Behaviorist. Now, around here we can’t get away with much, try as we might, as my mom is an expert when it comes to cat behavior. Well, we know a few ways to get around the rules, but that’s a story for another time. Today I am taking over her column because I have something that I need to tell you.

I listen in on Mom’s phone calls, and I watch when she and Auntie Linda are talking to people about their cats. One of the things I hear them talk about over and over again is the litter box and why some cats don’t use it.

Of course, I would never even think about going anyplace else but in my litter box, but I can tell you what we felines are thinking as we approach the box and what might be a turnoff when it comes to using it. Here are my top litter-box turnoffs:

Only one box
Cats don’t really like to share anything. So, if your cats are sharing only one box, you’re going to have some upset kitties who will find their own places to do their thing. I know humans don’t like that, although I don’t really see the big deal since we do it in secret places and try to bury it well. We cats should each have our own box, and maybe one extra one, just in case. My prissy sister, Sweetie Pie, doesn’t like to go inside a box after we boy cats have used it. Yeah, I don’t get it either …

Litter box location
Where is my litter box, anyway? It was here just yesterday. Sometimes humans like to move the litter box and maybe even hide it when company comes over, meaning we have to hunt for it while the urge to go is upon us. Some kitties need to rush upstairs to get to their boxes, and older cats just can’t do that without having an accident. Some people even hide the litter box inside planters and furniture so we can’t even tell it’s a potty place. Please put your cat’s boxes in places with easy access so they can use it in a hurry. And don’t disguise it, or we may end up peeing on ALL the furniture!

Not scooping enough
Approaching a box and having the smell smack me in the whiskers is NOT acceptable. When did you last scoop your cat’s boxes? At least twice a day is acceptable, but even more is better. The last thing we want to do is stand in a stinky box full of other cats’ messes.

Lidded boxes
Some of us cats will not enter an enclosed litter box nor stay in there long enough to not only pee but also do Number 2. The other problem with the lid is when a cat decides to pick on their siblings, the siblings are sitting ducks just waiting to be ambushed with no way out. No lid = a quick entry and exit to avoid the litter box bully.

Litter box size
OK, I know I’m not the sleek tomcat I once was. I’m a bit chunky, so I need more room. Even those slim little cats need to be sure their rear ends don’t stick out of the box. If your cat can’t get into the box with room to turn around, chances are they will be leaving an unintended present on your floor when using the box. The longer the box is, the better we like it!

Scented litters
I get it. Humans don’t like the smell of the cat box, and neither do we, really. But some of those litters you humans give us smell like the perfume counter at the department store. Some of us don’t like perfumes and fancy scents and just want some plain, old, unscented litter. Plus, we won’t eat that scented stuff when we clean off our paws.

Chunky litter
And yes, our paws are very sensitive. How else do you think we catch all those mice? Be kind and give us a litter that feels like you’re walking on the beach in Saint-Tropez. Ah yes, that feels good on my little beanie toes!

Too much litter
Mom used to tell me the story about one of her clients and how they filled the litter box to the very top of the box! I bet those cats felt like they were stepping into quicksand as they sunk deeper and deeper while dutifully trying to use that box. It’s also bad not to put enough in the box, because we cats like to bury our leavings so as not to attract predators. Just a few inches in the box is all we need to be happy and dedicated litter box users.

A final word
Of course, there is one other thing I need to bring up: the dreaded V word. Yep, veterinarian. Even though we might caterwaul and complain, we need to see the vet for a checkup if we’re avoiding the litter box a lot and it’s a brand new behavior. If your cat is sick, it’s not really his fault if he makes his messes on the floor. In nature, sick kitties avoid the common areas shared by the other cats. That includes the areas designated for going potty.

So, get that vet check, follow my simple rules, and I bet your kitties will be members of the I Use My Litter Box Club. Wait, that’s not a thing? Well, it should be!

Rita Reimers and Linda Hall are co-founders of The Cat Behavior Alliance, offering a unique Duo-Approach to cat behavior correction. Visit them at CatBehaviorAlliance.com for more information. You can also find Rita and Linda on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and TikTok @CatBehaviorAlliance.

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Georgia Nicols Weekly Horoscope
January 02, 2022

All Signs
The elements Air, Water, Fire and Earth are a big part of astrology. For the last 200 years, society has had “Earth” based values. Status and wealth were based on land, real estate, manufacturing and tangible assets. This is a world of top-down management where few have all the wealth. Last year, we began a new 200-year cycle, which will be “Air” based. COVID acted like a slingshot launching these new values into our world: Decentralization of big systems; greater respect for individual rights; universal income; medical care and education for everyone. We will have startling advances in technology. We will continue to relate through monitors, and eventually holograms. Millions will work from home. This is what’s happening. Buy sweat pants now.

Aries (March 21-April 19)
This is a lovely, upbeat week and a wonderful introduction to this new year. You are high viz. People notice you more than usual especially bosses, parents, teachers, and VIPs. (Incidentally, this includes the police.) Your desire to travel will be strong. You’re keen to talk to younger people, especially people from your past because Mercury is slowing down now getting ready to go retrograde on Friday, January 14. This means you’re already hearing from old friends and members of groups to which you belonged. This will be a more spiritual gentle year for you, with the exception of six months in the middle of the year when lucky Jupiter is in your sign. During that time, you’ll be out there flying your colours! “Look Ma, no hands!”

Taurus (April 20-May 20)
This is an upbeat week! You want to travel and do anything to expand your world. Grab every opportunity to learn and study. Think big! (Ideally, go to places you have travelled to before because of the influence of the pending Mercury retrograde) The year 2022 will be a very popular year for you. Everyone wants to see your face. Not only will you enjoy the friendship of others, you will be more involved with groups, clubs and organizations. You might even take on a leadership role. It’s an excellent year for you to think of your long-term goals as well as your spiritual values. From August onwards, you will work hard to boost your earnings because you will be spending big! Ka-ching!

Gemini (May 21-June 20)
With fiery Mars opposite your sign this week, you will have to be patient with those who are closest to you because you might be easily annoyed with them. Fortunately, this is a positive, exciting week! You will find that you are focused more than usual on shared property, inheritances, taxes and debt. Things will work out favourably. Money from the past might come to you now. You might renegotiate old business with banks. Meanwhile, this is a fabulous year for you because you look like a winner to everyone! That’s because many of you will get promotions, kudos and acknowledgement for what you do. Success is definitely coming your way and you feel it. At last!

Cancer (June 21-July 22)
Oh my! Your focus on partnerships and close friendships is strong right now because ex-partners and old friends are back in your world! This can be a positive thing – or not. It might even create jealousy. (It figures.) Fortunately, you have the ability right now to see your closest relationships with more objectivity, which means you can see the role you play. Meanwhile, this week, you’re busting your buns at work to get stuff done. Bravo! This year, you will explore opportunities in publishing, the media, medicine and the law. Many of you will also travel much more than usual. Bon voyage!

Leo (July 23-Aug. 22)
This week begins with feelings of inspiration and confidence. You’re up for whatever happens! You’re ready to work hard and play hard. Many of you are thinking of ex-partners more than usual because you’re in contact with them, or they are in your thoughts or your dreams. However, here are some hard facts. This year, Saturn is opposite your sign. (The last time this occurred was in the early 90s.) This can be discouraging because your energies are low. You might feel physically tired. You might feel old (even if you’re young). You might feel joint pain or have to deal with teeth problems. But hang in there! By 2023, you will rebound with joy, energy, and greater wisdom. You will also feel young again! That’s a promise.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22)
This is a lighthearted, playful week, which is the perfect introduction to your new year (which will also be happier and more fun-loving). This week, you feel confident and ready to be yourself, without fear or apology. You will especially enjoy creative projects, sports events and playing with children. Admittedly, increased chaos and activity at home will exist, but you can handle this. Meanwhile, this year, you can improve your closest relationships with friends, spouses and partners. In fact, things are so good with those who are close to you –this is the best year for your sign to get married in over a decade!

Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22)
Home and family are your strong focus this week. Many of you will be puttering and redecorating or tweaking your digs. (You like doing this. Better yet, you like telling other people how to do it.) You will also enjoy entertaining anyone in your bubble who can come to your home, perhaps family members? Perhaps a friend? You will be convincing and persuasive now because Mars is in your House of Communications. Meanwhile, this year, you will improve your health and you will improve your job. Count on it. In fact, many of you will travel more in matters related to your work. Children might be an increased responsibility but hey, that goes with the territory.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21)
This week is a good time for you to think outside of the box and dare to embrace big goals! You will enjoy talking to others because you’re inspired and more confident than usual. You will enjoy the company of daily contacts and also, you will appreciate the beauty of your daily surroundings. (What a blessing!) You’re ready to work hard to boost your earnings. This is a good mindset because this year is actually a playful, fun-loving year for you! Children will be a joy. Vacations will delight. Romance will sizzle! (Be still my beating heart.)

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 21)
You have lots of energy as this year begins because fiery Mars is in your sign making you feel pumped, proactive and ready for action! In fact, physical exercise would be an excellent idea because you might need to release some pent-up steam within you. Meanwhile, this week, you’re focused on money, cash flow, earnings and moneymaking ideas. Money that you expect might be delayed. Meanwhile, this year, you will enjoy renovating or expanding or improving your home. Others will change residences to something better. The upshot is that home and family life will bring you greater joy. Some of you will expand your family through birth, adoption or marriage.

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 19)
This year begins in a strong way for you because the Sun is in your sign, boosting your energy and giving you a chance to recharge your batteries for the coming year! How lucky are you! This is also an excellent week for you to buy wardrobe goodies, especially something that you have had your eye on for a while. It’s a positive time for you because you’ll find it easy to collaborate with others. This is not surprising because this year, you will be more optimistic and upbeat than usual. You will expect better things for yourself and be more hopeful for your future. It’s a good year to take courses or advance your training or study in any way. Relations with siblings will also improve. Sweet!

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 18)
This is a great week because you feel inspired, confident and full of goodwill to others. You are motivated to think about your values and hence, your future plans. You might want to relax as much as possible this week, and enjoy lazy but playful times. Nevertheless, a competition or some kind of physical challenge with others, especially with friends and groups, might take place this week. In the bigger picture, many of you are going to get richer this year! Oh yes! This is well timed because you are setting out on a new journey (that actually began last year) of reinventing yourself. This means that increased earnings and wealth this year, as well as next year, will be timely.

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20)
You will be happy this week because things will flow smoothly and you will especially enjoy the company of others. (That’s nice.) You’ll be happy to see friends, and especially happy to play a leadership role in groups, clubs or organizations, whether this is via Zoom or in person. Jupiter is now in your sign for the first time since 2010, and this makes you feel fantastic! You feel more hopeful for the future. You feel more confident in the present. You are entering a new 12-year cycle of growth in your life when you will discover what you really are as an individual. This year you will attract people and resources who will help you. It’s a fortunate time! Lucky you!

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Monthly Horoscopes For January 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 every day 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:

As an Aries and a fire sign, patience doesn’t come naturally to you. So, although you’re eager to turn exciting ideas into profitable plans, and those into action, first you must focus on decluttering your life, and especially, learning from what didn’t work. Tempting as it is to ignore this, the resulting insights won’t just be informative. When fortunate Jupiter moves into Aries, in May, you’ll be free to move swiftly and clearer about your ideas and objectives than for ages. Those pivotal commitments? They can, and should, wait.

Don’t be in a rush to make important decisions about love and other close relationships. Spend some time talking about your future as having a mutual goal to work towards will strengthen loving ties. Be honest about your feelings. Your other half will be secretly pleased to listen. They may even feel compelled to reveal a secret they’ve been keeping to themselves. Job matters will take longer than expected when you find yourself having to return to duties you had half expected someone else would have taken care of by now. Although there is less time to give to home affairs, family life will be fun when and if you manage to find the time. It will be easier to pursue creative activities you have always enjoyed, after the 14th. Instead of pouring energy into areas that aren’t progressing, you might determinedly start pursuing a childhood dream. Resist the urge to take on extra work or more responsibility in an attempt to impress your boss or an authority figure. As the month ends you are better off spending time at home with loved ones. Devoting your time to relationships and activities that bring you happiness will make you passionate about life and excited about the future.

If history repeats, then there is every likelihood that stock markets will fall across the world this January. The turning point is likely Friday 28th or Monday 31st. You could view that weekend as optimum for researching and then buying. Long before then, on 10th, Mercury turns retrograde. This could coincide with early hints of financial difficulties. Fact is that many people will have grand ideas but likely not the capital to support them. Yes, this is often the case; but it does appear that this trend will be exaggerated in 2022. Noting that Venus is retrograde and in the career area of your solar chart, it may be that you are denied financial compensation for effort put in over the last 18 months. You may need to argue over and over again for what is rightfully yours. Redressing imbalance may not be possible this month. If there is good news – and there probably is – it’s that you could be alerted to potential opportunity midmonth and in an area that is viewed as cutting-edge yes, perhaps likely connected to block chain or artificial intelligence and where you could get in on the ground floor.

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

Your horoscope for this week:

For ages you’ve been carefully planning both changes in existing arrangements and what can only be termed breakthroughs. Recently you’d have been cautious, but suddenly things are falling into place, and with such ease you’re eager to see what’s next. That’s the secret. This period is about changes in others’ lives, around you and in your own circumstances. Upbeat as things seems, you’re wary of going further. If in doubt, team up with others. You can learn together, and benefit together.

Thoughts on travel and all the holidays you had hoped to enjoy in the last few years but haven’t had a chance to, could lead you to making a booking. Knowing that very soon you will be heading off for a well-deserved break will feel exciting and liberating. News from overseas around the 8th could cause some havoc within the family when plans already made may need to be rearranged very quickly. Don’t jump to conclusions mid-January when you’re introduced to a person who has a strange and unusual background. There will be more to them than meets the eye. You’re tired of being stuck in an oppressive rut. Think about agreeing to new routines being suggested by an inventive friend or colleague who isn’t afraid to challenge the status quo. The 20th will be good for tying up loose-ends at home. Get through those chores you haven’t been looking forward to and you might be surprised by you easy they turn out to be. A Capricorn friend will offer some practical help or advice. Focus on learning all you can about a new subject as the month comes to an end. Your family will give you all the support you need to make an important change.

You may recall that Uranus (the planet of the entrepreneur), is making passage through your sign. On Wednesday 19th it appears to stand still in the sky at nearly exactly the degree to be held by the solar eclipse on April 29. The dates are likely linked. Given that Mercury turns retrograde just a few days before, and at right angles to the eclipse degree, it may be that decisions taken over the weekend of 14th – 16th January are financially critical. Yours is not a sign known to rush at anything. It may be necessary to take advice. Take your time. Though Uranus tends to demand immediate action, you don’t need to dance to that tune. You might do better to use the period between 14th, and Venus’ station on January 29, to assess, reassess, obtain estimates, and firm up a business plan prior to moving forward at the end of the month. In summary, it would appear that you’re laying financial ground work for deep and lasting developments that will gather pace after the April eclipse.

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

Your horoscope for this week:

As a clever Gemini, you’ve a talent for turning even tricky obstacles into exciting plans if not breakthroughs. However, judging by January’s tricky planetary activity and the fact your ruler Mercury is retrograde from the 14th, until 4 February, both circumstances and your priorities are bound to shift, more than once. While from your perspective, that’s great, not everybody will agree. The secret? Make those plans, ensuring that everybody knows changes, if not magical improvements, are likely. Then, take advantage of them.

There will be advantages and disadvantages to your overactive imagination. As the year begins, creative ideas will make jobs you are working on more interesting. At the same time, any suspicions you may have about someone not being loyal or trustworthy should be kept to yourself. These thoughts will prove to be unfounded and if spoken out loud, this could ruin a special relationship. Your desire to succeed could trip you up around the 11th unless you are extra careful. Make sure you don’t break any rules or regulations. You may have to take a back seat to someone in authority for a short while. Be patient with delays if you are trying to buy, rent or sell a property. Environmental and other issues will be resolved and although it will take longer than anticipated, by the end of the month you will finally be able to seal the deal. If you’re content in your existing home, channel your energy into improving your home or workplace. You will have some inspired ideas for transforming your surroundings. Paint your rooms uplifting colours and this will help you begin each day with a positive attitude.

As you know, your ruling planet Mercury, turns retrograde three times in every year. Each time is different in that the retrograde takes place in a different part of the zodiac each time. This year’s series falls in Air signs like your own. This could add to the lure of crypto currencies or at least the desire to learn more about them; but yes, be aware that this could be a trap. Perhaps the optimum thing to do is to use January as a learning experience. If indices do fall (as seems likely), the critical dates are Fridays, 14th and 28th. It’s interesting that by the latter, Mars will have left your opposite sign. Perhaps others will stop pressing your buttons and allow you to move at a pace that feels more comfortable. It’s also possible that you need to move in partnership – perhaps with an adviser. Arguably the key thing is not to take action that leads to learning by bitter experience (which could happen around 19th if you don’t have a safety net in place), but instead to consider any losses as having given yourself a masterclass in how not to trade, so that by the end of the month you are better qualified position to take advantage of the next dip.

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

Your horoscope for this week:

Every Full Moon brings feelings and changes in circumstances to a peak. Although the Cancer Full Moon isn’t until 17 January, it takes place during a powerful and unsettling cycle. Knowing that, discuss both your plans and feelings frankly. Others won’t always understand or agree, but gradually you’ll find a way to turn the many twists and turns you’re facing into plans that you and others can live with. True, this is about giving up on certain cherished ideas and, often, leaving decisions in others’ hands. The secret? Live one day at a time.

Sit tight as the year begins. When it comes to partnership concerns, this isn’t the time to rush things. Your patience will pay off later in the month when joint matters will improve dramatically. If there is anything in a friendship or love affair that needs to be cured, this is a good month to do what you can to restore your relationship to good health. Are you single? You could be re-introduced to someone you knew some time ago around the 7th and your life will suddenly be filled with excitement, glamour and charismatic people. In the workplace, play your cards close to your chest. If a rival gets to hear your plans they will push in, ahead of you. You have the skills and prestige to go to the top. In matters where other people are ready to give in, your innate powers of determination will keep you going until you get results. Just be sure you do get the credit. There is someone who will happily benefit from your hard work. Keep your long-term goals a secret and it won’t be long before you gain the recognition you deserve. Focusing on your spiritual development will be rewarding as January ends.

Anticipate turbulence but don’t panic: January looks to be full of surprises but not all of them entirely pleasant. Don’t underestimate either your gift for thrift or your ability to ally with those who take a more logical and long-term view. Restructuring is likely essential; and yes, this usually requires expense. The art is in assessing what you can and what cannot afford. That might be a statement of the obvious, but is an exercise not often undertaken. Key dates are the weekend of 14th-16th January and the week beginning Monday 23rd. The latter could prove extremely challenging. Maintaining calm is imperative. Know that if markets do dip or if you have to raid your savings, that Saturday 29th should bring a halt to this activity. Anticipate much to go into reverse next month. For now, the accent must be on keeping as many doors open as is possible and in particular, accepting that travel and communication costs are likely to be great but won’t last forever.

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

Your horoscope for this week:

While you don’t thrive on disruption, the range of shakeups you’re facing are forcing you to explore changes that, until recently, you’ve successfully battled. The fact is, these aren’t just inevitable, they’ll be incredibly informative. Take it slowly. Things won’t be clear until the Leo Full Moon on 16 February. By then, you’ll have reviewed, rethought, and ideally shed a range of plans you once cherished. Times have changed and so, too, must your objectives, for the present and the future. Begin that process of questioning and review now.

Take good care of your health. Make it a resolution to get plenty of rest, prepare nourishing meals and exercise regularly. If you have become too reliant on an addictive medication, get professional help to overcome this problem. Arguments in the workplace won’t bode well for your job and can be avoided if you keep well away from someone you don’t normally get on well with. Keep an eye on a colleague who can’t be trusted to work on their own. It will be easy to deal with any blunders they make if you notice the problem immediately as it will be a case of a stitch in time saving nine. If you are in a position of leadership insist on being kept informed of all new developments as they happen. If you sense a job is coming to an end start looking for a new position. It may be necessary to relocate to break away from a restricting situation and if so, you will have plenty of time to get used to this idea. In fact, making a fresh start in a new job or new home might sound like the ideal solution to let go of the past’s hold on you.

Mercury, the planet of commerce, turns retrograde in your opposite sign on Friday 14th which could prove a day of some significance. It’s likely, – and especially if markets decline, – that they will reach a turning point at the end of the month. You may nevertheless be disappointed between 14th and 24th and have to accept the realisation that one investment is not turning out as you would have wished. There is also the possibility of having to disentangle from a financial arrangement. This will require a cool head and likely done better after Mars has moved out of one of the Fire signs on Tuesday 25th. Before then, Uranus stations at the apex of your solar chart. If progress in property and career-investment matters has been slow, expect to experience turbulence but know that all will change though yes, – probably not until the end of next month. The initial focus must be on getting a grip on exactly where you’re at and analysing any earlier apparent errors of judgement. What you don’t need is repeats. You perhaps also need reassurance that your financial antenna (though having wobbled in recent times), is actually still in working order. Information gleaned in the last seven days of January should affirm that you have a good nose for business and indeed, know how to send a bargain.

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

Your horoscope for this week:

Ordinarily, you’re superb at planning; but even before January begins, you’ll realise changes will be as frequent as they are timely. Tempting as it is to keep certain longstanding arrangements going, say farewell. This clears the way for the early portion of the new year, and its many changes. Consider this a journey of discovery. Often events will take you into new territory. Be bold. Take chances. What you do and who you meet will shape your life magically, and for years to come.

If you’re unhappy with a present romance don’t be too quick to break off this relationship. It may be you have reached a stage where you need to spice things up and find exciting things to do together. Suggesting fun ideas will keep boredom at bay. Whip some romance into your relationship before you both start losing interest. Are you single? Someone you meet around the 13th will engage your interest and your curiosity. Anyone who attracts your attention will be given centre stage in your life very quickly. If they are keen on travel and interested in a wide range of subjects, they are sure to win your favour. A person or predicament will cause you some dilemma around the 24th. The more you get involved, the more stifled you will start to feel until you realise this is a situation that isn’t meant for you. You can’t fix other people’s problems. This is something they will have to handle on their own. A strong need to make a difference will prompt you to put your personal stamp on everything you do during the latter half of the month, no matter how big or small.

Whilst the passage of Jupiter through your opposite sign can bring welcome social distraction and yes, promising relationship contact, it can also prove an expensive time and yes, that transit is going to go on for some months. Yet until January 24, Mars is moving over the base of your solar chart. The desire even without that energy boost, to improve your property scene and environment, could lead you into unusual expense especially in the week beginning Monday 17th. By then, your ruling planet Mercury, will have been retrograde for some days. You may then be lured by apparent bargains. These could improve even more if you can just hold steady until the end of the month. As Venus comes to its station on Saturday 29th, there might be yet better bargains available. The art is surely to do your research. Yours is a sign with a reputation for applying due diligence. True, you can sometimes go overboard with this, – and that might be the case on Sunday 23rd. Even so, the reward for doing this homework should be that you use funds wisely.

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

Your horoscope for this week:

It’s taken you ages to organise certain pivotal elements of your life. However, times have changed and so, too, must these arrangements. Once you begin, you’ll realise this is overdue. The secret? Begin now, taking things step by step; and get others involved. Often, they’re better informed than you and can achieve wonders swiftly. Finally, aim high. You could worry change will upset others. If so, don’t worry about bothering others. Talk things over frankly. The resulting conversations will be amazingly informative and lead to wise changes.

Embarking on a new venture is a fun idea as the year begins but you don’t have to act immediately. You would be wise to concentrate on tying up the loose-ends of any projects already begun. You’re determined to prove what you are capable of but trying to do too much at once will take a toll on your health. Think about getting outside more and getting some exercise. Physical activity will reduce stress and help you feel more relaxed. Trust your intuition when it comes to your relationships. Facial expressions and body language will say more to you than words. If you sense someone is saying one thing but thinking something else, be wary. An emotional encounter around the 18th will help you air your feelings. Someone has been taking your kindness far too much for granted and there is no reason, in any relationship or situation, why you should have to shoulder the main responsibility. Nothing means more to you than the idea of true love. Are you single? A good heart is proving hard to find. Relationships are unpredictable and you could find yourself involved with a possessive or obsessive lover. Give yourself time to get to know people before weaving dreams and hopes around them.

On January 29, Venus stations at the base of your solar chart: highly significant from your financial perspective. If you feel as though you’ve been doing nothing but paying out since Venus turned retrograde on December 19, know that the financial tide will turn. As it does, and remembering that we are midst enormous developments on the global financial and climate scenes, it will become imperative to improve your financial safety net. The good news is that throughout January, Mercury, the planet of commerce is passing through the speculation zone of this same chart. It turns retrograde there on Friday 14th: an optimal for learning more about investments and improving the quality of your research and development departments (business development and restructuring) though it may not be possible to push forward with new ideas until after Jupiter arrives in your opposite sign mid-May. Preparation is key. You’ve had ample experience since Pluto moved into Capricorn back in 2008, to deal with issues of life, death and intense financial management. You can and will manage more. In the last few days of January, you could successfully turn your financial ship away from rocks.

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

Your horoscope for this week:

Nobody plans more carefully than a Scorpio. You’re painstaking about getting the facts; but with the foundation on which plans are based shifting, often because of welcome yet unsettling planetary activity, even simple arrangement won’t last long. It may be out of character, but go with the flow. Learn from experience and who you meet. Equally, be ready to shed familiar but increasingly burdensome elements of your life. Once you begin, you’ll realise what a relief it is to let these go.

You’re on the lookout for new ideas and you won’t be disappointed with plans that come under discussion as the year begins. On the downside, retrograde planets suggest that in your eagerness to try something new you could take on more than you can handle. Avoid problems by tackling one thing at a time and this will ensure steady progress. A testing situation could cause tension in the home or workplace. If a rift develops between you and some friends, by the 19th you will be ready to offer an olive branch. Rather than leaving it to someone else to make the first move, you might encourage everyone to let bygones be bygones. By mid-January you will all be back on speaking terms and making joint plans for the future. Forward planning is essential no matter what you are planning. At times it will feel as if you have a 101 things to do and since you can’t do everything, plan your days with this in mind. Accept help when it is offered. Money problems won’t go away of their own accord. Be ready to step in with practical and sensible solutions. In work and finance, keep a sense of proportion.

Not all degrees of the zodiac are equal: some have greater importance in any year than others. In 2022 the 10th of the fixed signs (of which yours is one (is a prominent degree. It all begins on Friday 14th January when Mercury stations at that degree. A few days later, Uranus stations at similar degree in your opposite sign. By late April, there will be a solar eclipse in this same zodiacal area. All this points to radical developments most likely in the financial field but, of course, affecting all signs. Many Scorpios will give thought to how they live and work and the costs of staying put versus the costs of moving. This is likely to be super- challenging. You will likely need extra support and most probably from Aries, Cancer, Libra or Capricorn colleagues. Then, as Venus arrives at its station on Saturday 29th, not only might you come to terms with what changes have to be made, but have a clearer idea of what these will cost and what could yet be realised through the sale of assets.

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

Your horoscope for this week:

You’re adventurous and thrive on change. However, the series of unexpected, often unsettling but dramatic changes the begins in late December when your ruler Jupiter moves to accent the stricture of your life, kickstarts thrilling ideas and encounter. Explore them all, but ensure arrangements are flexible enough you can make frequent alterations. Most of all, be bold, both about letting go of past arrangements and exploring new options. Ignore those who insist on lasting arrangements. Changes are just inevitable, they’ll bring breakthroughs.

You had been intending to spend less over Christmas only it may not have quite worked out as you had hoped. If money is causing problems at home, face up to the issue and decide what you’re going to do about it as the year begins. It’s a New Year, make a new start with finances. When you feel in control of your financial situation, life may not necessarily get easier but you will worry less and have more time to devote other things. With Mars in your sign for most of the month, working with an innovative and energetic team will be a welcome change of pace. An opportunity to take the helm of an important project will fall into your lap. Through some frank talks with loved ones around the 21st, you could discover some profound truths. On evaluating recent years, you will decide you no longer want to live your life according to other people’s expectations. From now on you intend to be true and honest in all you are doing and to be your authentic self. If you have given your power to someone else, now is a perfect time to reclaim it. Self-care should be your priority as January ends. A spa treatment will be therapeutic.

Jupiter, your ruling planet has arrived at the very base of your solar chart. Jupiter is the planet that always wants more and transiting this area, not only is there a need for emotional expansion, but there could be a literal one as well. Many Sagittarius might be thinking of either moving home or expanding their home in some way. You’re unlikely to be immune. Yet this month both Mercury and Venus are retrograde between 14th and 24th. This is not be the time for pushing new ventures but rather gaining estimates and using your considerable antenna to work out where bargains might be found. It’s likely that these will appear in the last week of January. True, that could be a time of significant financial turbulence too. Yet it may be that this is a storm you know how to weather. What is arguably unusual, is the desire around the Full Moon on January 17, to do something about your financial legacy. If you’ve never thought about your will or estate planning this may be a time to focus on the issue but yes, will likely require advice. One last thought: until 24th, Mars is moving through your sign: take care that you don’t ‘run before you can walk’ and don’t make decisions until you’ve satisfied your thirst for learning.

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

Your horoscope for this week:

January divides into two distinct parts. The New Moon, on 2 January, is about a vision for the month and, to a certain extent, much of the year. It’s about possibilities. While you’ll begin exploring these immediately, the real turning point is triggered by the Sun’s meeting with Pluto, the planet of truth and transformation, on the 16th. It’s only after that you’ll know enough to make far-reaching decisions or commit to lasting ideas or ventures involving others. It’s one of the year’s most pivotal turning points.

The new moon in your sign as the year begins makes this a great time to gain a greater understanding of where you are at in life. Whether you are thinking of relocating or making a fresh start in your career, the important thing is to express your feelings, state your intentions and then make a plan on how to bring this goal about. You’re more in touch with your imagination, emotions and feelings. Family relationships will benefit through your sensitivity and kindness. You can see all sides of a situation and by encouraging others to work together harmoniously you are helping to create a spirit of cooperation in your home and workplace. Deep emotional interactions between you and a partner will also bring a growing sense of confidence, hope and security. Are you single? You could find yourself opening up to a stranger and the spark between you will be instantaneous. The job scene will bring some interesting developments as the month ends when an exciting offer will give you something important to think about. Although the thought of change will make you nervous, you will adapt to a new job or new circumstances surprisingly easily.

Venus is retrograde in your sign just as it was at the end of 2013. The cosmos doesn’t do exact repeats, but given that Mercury too is retrograde between 14th and 24th, it might be wise to still your hand and not take action unless it’s absolutely necessary. If market behaviour does repeat, a turning point should be reached in the last week of January. This may be the moment to buy in if you’re so inclined. Whatever, review of your assets and a discussion with a financial adviser might be wise around the Full Moon on January 17. It may be that there are investments you could and should make before the solar eclipse at the end of April. Now that Jupiter is moving through one of the crucial networking areas of your solar chart, this might also be the time to take out subscriptions and to identify with those who share your philosophy. The optimum time for doing this may be in February once Mercury has completed its retrograde loop – though investigation into what and who you might profitably invest might best be done in January. One last thought: in the days following the Full Moon, your interest in crypto currencies is likely to be peaked. If you don’t yet know much about these, the desire to learn more could propel you to undertake a course over the weekend of 22nd 23rd. This might yet prove a very smart investment.

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

Your horoscope for this week:

You’ve a gift for spotting the direction a trend is going before others even recognise its significance. However, for you, January’s about undoing elements of the past, some no longer of significance, others that once held great promise. However, each focuses more on the past that your vision of the future. That will come together, but probably not until the Sun moves in your sign on 20 January and, even more, when the Aquarius New Moon, on 1 February, introduces timely breakthroughs. The secret? Patience.

Strengthening your spiritual and emotional foundations will be a priority as the year begins. You might feel as if you have lost sight of your long-term aims and as if you are going nowhere. Spending more time on your own will make you realise how little you need to cultivate contentment. You’ve been concentrating for too long on other people’s needs and happiness and not your own. This is your chance to change this as you start to focus your energy on activities, goals and relationships that really matter to you. Material concerns that used to mean a lot to you aren’t as important now, as you make more time for spiritual pursuits. Listening to music, communing with nature and connecting with your pets or other animals will feel both relaxing and rewarding. Resuming a hobby or activity that interested you when you were younger will bring you a lot of pleasure around the 23rd. What you will be enjoying most is this chance to pursue activities that are entirely separate from your job and everyday responsibilities. News you hear as the month ends will change the way you see an important person in your life. Some quiet contemplation will help you build a vision of the life you want for yourself in 2022 and find a way to move towards this.

As you’ve probably learned, spending your way out of trouble is not always the answer. In fact, it rarely is. Yet there are times when you have to do something to boost your spirits and to maintain wellness. Investing in you would be wise – especially between the New Moon on January 2 and Mercury’s station in your sign on 14th. This is an unusual station in that it falls at right angles to Uranus’ station a couple of days after and to the solar eclipse degree at the end of April. Steps taken now will have major and very obvious repercussions. Taking time to take stock would be wise. You could perhaps do this between Mercury’s retrograde station on 14th and Venus’ direct station on 29th. It’s that station that could mark a turning point in global financial affairs. Taking time to take stock before making your move would be wise. There is high probability that property matters too will have your full attention; but even a move costs money. What you perhaps need – and with the blessing of Jupiter now moving through neighbouring Pisces could easily attract, – is support from someone who knows how important it is to keep all options open without incurring too much expense.

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

Your horoscope for this week:

After a tricky December, you’ll be thrilled by the enthusiasm and discussions triggered by January’s powerful planetary activity. However, much of what’s taking place involves others and would be of little direct benefit to you. This means learning what you can, then focus exclusively on those ideas, alliances and long-range plans that will be of benefit to you. This may seem uncaring, but you and your plans, now and for the future, really must come first. Those exciting joint ventures? Save them for February and March.

Mystical and spiritual matters will be a big attraction as the year begins. You will be keen to find out more about other people’s beliefs and religions. This will lead to some enlightening conversations. Discussions will be deep and meaningful and you could discover you have become the person your family, friends and workmates want to confide in. Talking about your own feelings will also be far more satisfying than supressing your emotions. By mid-January there will be a refreshing degree of honesty apparent in all your relationships and this will help you forge supportive friendships and stronger bonds with those who are important in your life. Accepting an invitation to re-join a group to which you once belonged will give you something to look forward to when it is always fun to meet up with like-minded friends. It doesn’t matter how long you have been away; you will receive a warm welcome. As the month ends you will be getting together with close friends and family to consider new arrangements. Some interesting ideas will be discussed and a moneymaking proposition is worth considering. Ask to sleep on it before making a firm decision especially if you will be committing your time to a big venture.

Jupiter, your ruling planet, is now moving through your sign. Until mid-May should be regarded as a danger time where financial matters are concerned. The reason behind this is the danger of excess. What you want and need may be two different things. Desire could get the upper hand. Take care especially when Mercury turns retrograde on 14th. It’s then that you could slip on a serious financial banana skin. True, this could be beyond your control and to do with what’s happening in global markets. It would be wise to focus on your safety net. If markets do fall, they are then likely to turn at the end of January. That’s when you could find bargains. At a very basic level it would be as well to curb your spending if at all possible until the end of the month when Venus away; is in direct motion again. It’s entirely possible you will want to invest either in your career or in improving your environment. It might be as well to discuss matters with a financial adviser before you take action. Perhaps you could plan for this at the new Moon on January 2, but have that meeting before Mercury turns retrograde on 14th.

~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

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High Priestess Certification and Ancient Mystery Teachings
Herbalism 101
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Earth Signs and Omens

Natural Witchcraft

Practical Magick: Spell Casting for Every Day Use

The Magic of Crystals

10.Introduction to Energy Healing

11.Introduction to Paganism

12.Introduction to Meditation

13.Introduction to The Goddess Tradition and The Feminine Divine

14.Kuan Yins Gentle Embrace Reiki Certification

15.A Year and a Day of Contemplation with Kuan Yin

16.Tarot, Numerology, Natal Charts and Dream Readings

17.Reiki Training and Certification

Herbs!!! Herbs!!! Herbs!!!
Interested in herbs and healing? Learn with GrannyMoon!
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“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: 26 Dec 2021

Honor tradition, but
Do not be constrained by tradition. ~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

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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Receive Your Own Personal 2022 Forecast
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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 un

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 This Month

Celtic Month of Elder – November 24th to December 23rd
Goddess Month of Astraea – November 28- December 25

Herb of the Year for 2021: Parsley (Petroselinum crispum)
Flower of the Month for December: Poinsettia

Week 3. Christmas and Kwanza Week
December 26: Kwanza

Week 4. A New Year Begins
December 31: New Year’s Eve

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Sunday Classes with GrannyMoon at Sticks and Stones, Fairfax, VA

Face to Face Class: 1 PM – 3 PM ~ WitchCrafting – Jan 2
Face to Face Class: 1 PM – 3 PM ~ The Herb Cauldron – Jan 9
Face to Face Class: Noon – 2:00 PM ~ The Magick of Crystals – Jan 16
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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 too!

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!
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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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Seasons of the Witch
Yule Oracle

Family
Thy love is present in the presences of thee.
A comforting veil that warms the heart and hugs the soul.

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Stacy Adams
coventrycreations.com

December 27, 2021 – January 2, 2021

The last week of December possibly brings us our holiday miracle with Jupiter moving into Pisces (see above) on Tuesday, and he moves out of the reach of Saturn’s influence. Jupiter moving into his sign could be the beginning of the end of the struggles of the last two years. So, it’s time to press in and press on!

At the beginning of the week, the Moon moves through fair and balanced Libra. You could find that you are dealing with the relationship problems of the last week because the Moon reactivates Venus conjunct Pluto. Try to reach compromises with others, if possible.

Midweek, Mars makes a beneficial aspect to Saturn. It’s an excellent day for planning and strategizing for the New Year. The more you allow situations to simmer and work patiently towards your goals, your results will ultimately be better. However, be careful on Tuesday when Mercury conjoins Pluto because power struggles with others are possible. Keep your secrets to yourself.

New Years’ weekend brings some exciting energy as the Sun trines Uranus. Traditionally, New Year’s resolutions are set on the first, but you may want to set your intentions on Sunday this year since we have a lovely new Moon in Capricorn.

Recommended Candles: Jupiter (Astro Magic), Truth and Justice (Blessed Herbal), Everything and then Some (Wicked Witch Mojo), New Moon (Astro Magic)

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

That insightful, witchy, or spiritually mindful person in your life deserves more than just a crummy gift card. Give them a magical gift from Coventry Creations.

Love Magic Hacks
Romance is the tip of the iceberg with love magic. Love as a brand of magic encompasses all relationships; romantic, family, business, friendship, community, and even your mortal enemy. Any interaction you have with another person can be influenced by love magic, yet is that the best course of action or the path that avoids emotional vulnerability.

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Llewellyn’s Spell A Day

Gifts to Ourselves
DECEMBER 26, 2021 BY DALLAS JENNIFER COBB

In the Victorian era, Boxing Day was traditionally the only day servants had off from work, and they often received a boxed gift from their master or mistress.

A statutory holiday here in Canada, Boxing Day is a time for me to focus on giving to myself and being my own “mistress.” I give myself a small magical gift wrapped up in a box.

Today, cast a circle, call in the directions, and invoke Mother Mary, a symbol of the divine feminine. May she connect you to your own divinity. While in sacred space, imagine being held in Mother Mary’s arms, by the divine feminine, protected and empowered. Open the box and joyously receive the magical gift, affirming:

I am my own mistress, thankful for
my own divine care. I receive this gift
and empower the magic of my divine
feminine. I give and receive magic.

Close the circle. Create a magical life.
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Holiday Balance
DECEMBER 25, 2021 BY EMYME

Depending on your lifestyle, Saturday may just be the perfect day of the week to celebrate Christmas. This is the time of year for parties and get-togethers with family, friends, coworkers, and spiritual groups.

With all these celebrations, be aware of potential holiday burnout. Today, take some time (five minutes will do) to find a quiet place and concentrate on peace and well-being for all people in the world. Send out positive energy for safe travel. Create a blessing for all those workers who sacrifice their time to make life better for others at the holidays. Take a deep, calming inhale and exhale, give thanks to the Lady and Lord, and begin your day feeling refreshed. Here is a suggested mantra:

Joy is mine—I share it.
Love is mine—I share it.
May this day find all safe,
healthy, and whole.
All is well. Life is good.
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A Merry Witchy Christmas Spell
DECEMBER 24, 2021 BY STORM FAERYWOLF

Christmas is more than just a religious celebration. It’s also a secular celebration of family and abundance in wintertime, and of Santa Claus, an old man who flies through the sky with eight magical reindeer and some elves. It’s Pagan through and through.

For this spell you will need the following items:

  • A small gift
  • Wrapping paper and ribbon
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • 2 candy canes

Wrap your gift while playing or singing a Christmas song. Eat one candy cane and affix the other to the wrapped package. As you tie the bow, say:

Tonight he rides the winter sky,
To bring the gifts of light and hope.

Choose a person at random and give them the gift anonymously. Santa Claus is alive and well. Merry Christmas!
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Larentalia
DECEMBER 23, 2021 BY EMBER GRANT

This day was dedicated to a Roman goddess (possibly named Larentia or Lara) who was said to be the guardian of ghosts—specifically the Lares, or good spirits. Offerings were made to her on this day for the departed spirits. These spirits were believed to be the protectors of homes and families. The offerings were typically left in chimney corners, where the Lares were said to dwell.

On this day, leave your own offering for the protection of your home and family. Place the offering near a chimney or hearth, if you have one. If not, any corner of the home will do. Offer a small piece of bread or some dried beans or lentils. Leave the items in place for at least twenty-four hours, then put them outside. Each time you put the offering in place, say these words:

Keep us all from harm,
Protect and guard this home.
Grant us safety while we’re here
And also when we roam.
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Attune with Earth
DECEMBER 22, 2021 BY THORN MOONEY

Now that the solstice has passed and winter has officially arrived, the daylight hours will very gradually increase, with the promise of spring to someday arrive (however far away). But first we must pass through winter! In many Western magical traditions, winter is tied to the north and the element of earth, which rules over groundedness, stability, the physical body, and silence. To get the most out of the coming months, attune to the element of earth.

If you can, sit on the earth outside, perhaps under a tree. If you must remain indoors, you may do this with a pot of earth or a bowl of salt. Place your hands in the soil or salt and contemplate the stillness of the season. Root your own energy here, feeling the connection in your bones. Say:

Powers of the earth, lend me your
gifts of strength, stability, and the
power to remain silent. Be with
me this day. So mote it be.
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Yuletide Peace Brew
DECEMBER 21, 2021 BY MICHAEL FURIE

Yule is traditionally associated with family gatherings, gift giving, and holiday parties, and this quick bit of magical cookery can help ensure that the home environment will remain happy and peaceful for all to enjoy. This brew can be simmered on the stove to release a peaceful and loving energy as well as a comforting warmth.

Gather these ingredients:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup apple juice
  • 3 cinnamon sticks, broken
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon almond extract
  • 1 orange, sliced

Combine all the ingredients in a cauldron or pot and simmer on low for as long as desired, adding more water if necessary.
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Ancient Mysteries
DECEMBER 20, 2021 BY NAJAH LIGHTFOOT

Many of our rituals have origins in ancient traditions, yet when we perform these rites, we connect to something deep within ourselves that defies explanation. Today, concentrate on an old story or myth that calls to you.

For this spell, you will need a black candle, frankincense essential oil, gold glitter, a fireproof candleholder, a pen, and paper.

Anoint your candle with frankincense oil, then roll it in gold glitter. Place it in the holder.

Light the candle. As you gaze into the flame, say:

Ancient mysteries of old,
By this divine light you unfold.
By dark of night, by light of day,
I thank you for all you
share with me today.

Write down any impressions you receive, then extinguish the candle or let it burn down safely. Keep the paper and candle on your altar as a reminder of your connection to the divine mysteries.

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Heartwings Love Notes 1014 The Time Between

Heartwings says, “Enjoying the time between is special and sweet.”

In a simpler society before the industrial age, the solstice was considered the end of the old and the beginning of a new solar year. The next 12 days marked the length of time up to the beginning of the calendar year. So, the twelve days of Christmas could be used for relaxation and not doing more than was necessary. As hard as life was then, this would have been appropriate. The song, the Twelve Days of Christmas seems a celebration of this time.

My late Uncle Ollie gave me a songbook of the Twelve Days of Christmas. With illustrations that harked back to medieval times, it came from a museum in New York, and was historically correct. Some of the verses were slightly different from the usual, perhaps due to the language as it was spoken then. For instance, the “calling birds” I was familiar with were said to be coley birds. The book explained this word as referring to “coal black” birds of that time.

Later on, my daughter, who always had a good singing voice was chosen to sing the line, “Five gold rings,” one year when her school put on a concert at Christmas. I think she was ten or eleven at the time. I can still hear her clear voice ringing out from the stage. Later on, in the days when I played my guitar and sang for gatherings, or when I performed at Hootnannies as open mikes were called in the 60’s and 70’s, I would often sing the verses of the song.

The holidays do bring back memories. Recently I was thinking about the twelve days of Christmas. Counting the solstice on the 21st as day one, January first becomes the 12th day. Once, when life was very different, these days were intended to solace people in the darkness of the long nights, promoting opportunities for celebration and joyful times together. They could be considered a kind of year end vacation, when no hard work is done and people could gather together to be sociable.

Of course, nowadays the wheels of industry as well as the march of commerce keep most hustling for whatever they think is important or for whatever is required of them by life. Clearly, we live in far more complicated times than the way it was in medieval or even earlier days when the song was born. Yet could we somehow use this time for its original intention? Could we just for a few days keep from rushing out to get an after Christmas sale bargain or a new car on special? Might we take the time to enjoy our gifts, listen to some old programs or sing some old songs together? The days are just as dark and the need for rest just as great now as it was then if not more so.

May your holiday time be refreshing and loving, and your New Year bountiful.

Blessings and best regards, Tasha Halpert

Do you have holiday stories to tell or message for me? I am always so happy to hear from Readers. Write me at Tashahal@aol.com and for more love notes, visit http://www.heartwingsandfriends.com.

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Gift of Winter

There is a quiet humility about the earth in the winter months, as animals and people retreat inside to do their deep work.

In fall, the earth begins the process of releasing all the things she has been holding onto throughout spring and summer, and by midwinter, she has let everything go. She sits clean and undecorated in her simplicity, free of the frenzy of life that defines her in the warmer seasons. There is a quiet humility about the earth in the winter months, as animals and people retreat inside to escape the wet and sometimes freezing cold that takes hold. Inside our homes, we create abundance and warmth in response to being effectively kicked indoors by the dark and cold that permeates the outdoors.

We burn fires in fireplaces and make heavy, hot foods to keep our bodies warm and insulated. We may find ourselves sleeping longer hours and yearning for downtime, just like the animals deep inside their caves and warrens taking a winter-long nap. Even if we live in a warmer climate, the longer nights and shorter days have the same effect on our cycles. If we surrender to this time as nature intended, we allow ourselves to slow down, sleep more, and lower the volumes on our busy minds. At the same time, we crave company in our dwellings, and the insulated warmth of the hearth tends to bring people together, creating more warmth and fostering connections that last through the coming year.

We laugh, eat, and talk, sleep, or catch up on reading, while outside our windows the earth grows dark earlier and stays cold longer, accepting as always of the process of change and her place within it. We might remember to learn from her as she so gracefully surrenders to the emptiness that precedes all form, the peace that precedes activity, the darkness that precedes the light. For everything she gives and teaches, we might offer a blessing, extending a goodly portion of the gratitude of this season her way, holding her in our hearts and thanking her for our very lives.

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5 Ways To Minimize Cold Feet

You don’t have to be getting married to experience cold feet. Often this condition is simply due to cold weather combined with exposed feet and toes, but some people can experience cold feet even when the weather is very warm – leading to suffering year-round.

If you tend to get cold feet, discuss your symptoms with your doctor to rule out any underlying medical conditions. Circulatory disorders such as Raynaud’s disease, anemia, and diabetes may be to blame and should be addressed if they are determined to be the cause. If no medical condition is suspected, try the following – each can help to prevent or lessen your symptoms:

Sprinkle a small amount of ground cayenne pepper in your socks and shoes. To learn more about the benefits of cayenne, watch the video “Spices with Dr. Weil – Cayenne.”
Make time to get regular physical exercise to help improve your circulation. Be sure to dedicate some exercise time to strength training to allow muscles to squeeze the blood vessels and promote better flow. Leg presses and calf raises are ideal movements.

Quit smoking: Nicotine constricts blood vessels, disturbing normal circulation.
Wear socks and shoes that are comfortable and not too tight in order to avoid restricted circulation. There are now a number of options of battery-operated warming socks that should be considered. Be very cautious in maintaining them in an effort to avoid burning the skin.

Don’t forget the most obvious solution: a relaxing foot soak in warm (not hot) water followed by a pair of warm socks! Or have warming packs that you can get at most outdoor or ski stores to use in your shoes.

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The Druid’s Garden
An Approach to Spiritual Retreat and Rejuvenation: Going Dark Week
b
y Dana

Perhaps now more than ever, the idea of taking regular retreats is a critical one. Last week, in my post on the Winter Solstice, I shared the deep need for restorative activities that allow us to heal, process, and deepen our practice–particularly in today’s age and as we move further into the age of the Anthropocene. Finding restoration activities are particularly critical because so many of us are languishing, dealing with the real effects of deepening climate change, dealing with the long-term upheaval and separation due to the pandemic, among a host of other issues. Thus, this week, I want to share one practice that I’ve developed over the years that is particularly helpful–I call it “going dark” or “inner life retreat.”

What is a Going Dark Spiritual Retreat?

The principle of going dark is very simple–rather than being always on, always available, and always connected–you step off the grid for a bit. You set aside time for a retreat, where you withdraw, physically and virtually from all of your external obligations and instead focus instead on your own spiritual life, your own thoughts, your own healing, and your own creations. The reason I call it “going dark” is because you literally power down your devices. The screen goes dark and stays dark. The quiet is present. You are off, free from all of it, to focus on your inner spiritual life and connection with the living earth.

Going dark basically is a way to create a very intentional space for yourself, allowing you to withdraw from the world, and eliminate any external inputs from the dominant culture, and be with your own thoughts and mind. You replace these typical inputs with as much time as possible in nature and with your own thoughts.

The other reason I call it “going dark” is that I usually take this a step further–and do some candlelight evenings. By reducing my dependency on electronics in general, and living by candlelight or firelight for a few days, I find that it is extraordinarily rejuvenating.

Why Go Dark?
Our modern technology creates a series of situations that severely hamper our inner life and create constant demands on our time and attention. First, where we are always expected to be on, 24/7, where many of us are tied to a technological device that is literally always within a few feet of us. It creates a societal or workplace obligation where we are always available. Many have noted that this has grown immensely worse during the pandemic, where boundaries between work and life have blurred beyond recognition. This creates a situation where our obligations–facilitated by increasing technology–become constant and where we are able to comfortably step away.

The second issue is apparent anywhere you go in public: the culture of screens, voices, and talking heads. This is abundantly clear in doctor’s offices, airports, restaurants, etc., where there is a constant chatter of screens. Screens are everywhere people congregate, wait, or travel. This creates a situation where other people’s thoughts, ideas, and perspectives constantly fill our eyes and our minds. For example, I recently went to the dentist’s office and not only did they have a loud TV in the lounge, I was also expected to watch TV while in the dentist chair (I asked them politely to turn it off). We become so used to this constant input that we don’t realize how much it fills our minds, preventing us from developing a quality inner life. If we spend all of our time with other people’s thoughts in our heads, we have no space for our own. Without access to those thoughts and space, we lose our rich connection to the subconscious, our dreams, and our creative selves.

The problem is, the stuff above is hard to avoid if you live any kind of typical life or work a typical job. I work to limit it in my daily life, but I still find that it creeps in more than I’d like–a lot of it has to do with the obligations that I have to work and my other long-term commitments. So creating a regular “detox” and “downtime” from it can really help. Hence: going dark.

Going Dark: Suggestions and Ideas
When you go dark, you power down the devices and intentionally create quiet space for your own thoughts, creativity, and subconscious to flow. You realize that technology is not an extension of you, but a tool that can be replaced with other things. You get into the spirit of nature.

If you want to try this practice, I suggest setting some goals and supports upfront for your spiritual retreat. They are:

Decide how long you would like to go dark and what guidelines you will put in place. Once you have a sense of it, stick to your plan if at all possible.
Let others know as appropriate. I’ve been doing this for about a decade, but the first time I did it, I didn’t let anyone know. Suddenly, by about day 4, I had multiple people showing up at my house checking on me cause they thought something happened to me. So…let your family and friends or other people to whom you are obligated to know that you are doing a retreat. Put an away message on your email, social media, or whatever else so people leave you in peace.
Consider setting intentions for your going dark. Spend some time considering how you will spend your time–now that you’ll have more of it.

Do you want to stay home or go somewhere different?
Do you want to cook or have prepared foods so that you can focus on other things?
What kinds of things might you do in the absence of screens? Meditation, journey work, reading printed books, creative/bardic practices, hiking, being in nature, etc, are just some possibilities.

Do you have some goals for the retreat (healing, rest, working on a creative project)? Even if you have some goals, it’s also really useful to create a lot of open and unstructured time to be led by the voices of spirit, the creative flow of nature, and your own whimsy.

Time of year matters. I like to go dark twice a year. I always go dark in late December and early January because I’m off from work then. This is usually when I do my best spiritual work and deep dives of the year, allowing creative and spiritual practices to flow. I also usually go dark in the summer for a week or so, but usually, this involves some outdoor solo trip.
If you want to try going dark, even for a day or two, I do have one other thing to point out. At first, some people can literally experience technology withdrawal with this practice. That’s because things like social media are addicting and can literally harm us and change our brain chemistry. If we suddenly remove ourselves from the devices we’ve grown so used to, it can be a shock. Stick with it for a day or two, or even a week, and see how you feel at the end of it. Too much screen time can lead to a host of chronic conditions in both adults and children, so it’s worth doing this practice.

I believe this kind of practice is particularly important right now. The more tools that we can create to help us navigate these difficult times with sanity and care, the better. Being able to take a break from the many things that weigh us down and just the stressors of everyday life, and really create quiet time for ourselves, is an important part of how we can navigate these challenging times.

Finally, in honor of my own spiritual retreat, I’ll be going dark for the first two weeks or so of January and will be refraining from blogging again until mid to late January. I’ll see you in 2022–may it be more joyous, healthful, sane, and kind than the last two years. Blessings!

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Ghost Hunting Theories
It’s Hot Cocoa Weather!

Let’s indulge in many ways –

Bon Appetit’s Best Hot Cocoa

3 tablespoons cocoa powder (preferably Dutch-processed), plus more for serving
3 cups whole milk
6 ounces semisweet chocolate (preferably Scharffen Berger), finely chopped
3 tablespoons demerara or granulated sugar
Lightly sweetened whipped cream (for serving)

Bring ¾ cup water to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Whisk in 3 Tbsp. cocoa powder until no lumps remain, then add milk and return to a simmer. Whisk in chocolate and sugar and cook, whisking frequently, until mixture is smooth and creamy and chocolate is melted, about 5 minutes.

Divide hot chocolate among mugs. Top with whipped cream and dust with cocoa powder.

HOT COCOA COOKIES WITH MARSHMALLOWS
1/2 cup butter
12-ounce bag semisweet chocolate chips
1 1/4 cups light brown sugar
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 ounces semisweet baking chocolate, cut into 1-inch pieces
16 large marshmallows, cut in half

In a medium saucepan, over medium heat, melt the butter and the 12 ounces of semisweet chocolate chips. Stir constantly until just melted. Remove from heat and let stand for 5 minutes to slightly cool.

In a large bowl, combine the brown sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Beat with an electric hand mixer, on medium speed just until blended. Beat in the cooled chocolate mixture just until combined.

Add the cocoa powder, flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix on low speed just until combined. Cover bowl with saran wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. Scoop and drop the cookie dough by the tablespoon, onto the prepared cookie sheets. You should fit 12 cookies per sheet, and making sure to space them at least 2 inches apart.

Bake cookies for 12 minutes. Remove cookies from oven and place one piece of chocolate on the center top of each cookie, and then top each chocolate with one half marshmallow. Place cookies back in oven and bake another 4 minutes.

HOMEMADE MARSHMALLOWS

Bigfoot-feet-shaped marshmallows I made for my investigation team.

Vegetable oil, for brushing
4 envelopes unflavored gelatin (3 tablespoons plus 1 1/2 teaspoons)
3 cups granulated sugar
1 1/4 cups light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar

  1. Brush a 9-by-13-inch glass baking dish with oil. Line with parchment, allowing a 2-inch overhang on the long sides. Brush parchment with oil; set aside.
  2. Put granulated sugar, corn syrup, salt, and 3/4 cup water into a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Cook, without stirring, until mixture registers 238 degrees on a candy thermometer, about 9 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, put 3/4 cup cold water into the bowl of an electric mixer; sprinkle with gelatin. Let soften 5 minutes.
  4. Attach bowl with gelatin to mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. With mixer on low speed, beat hot syrup into gelatin mixture. Gradually raise speed to high; beat until mixture is very stiff, about 12 minutes. Beat in vanilla. Pour into prepared dish, and smooth with an offset spatula. Set aside, uncovered, until firm, about 3 hours.
  5. Sift 1 cup confectioners’ sugar onto a work surface. Unmold marshmallow onto confectioners’ sugar; remove parchment. Lightly brush a sharp knife with oil, then cut marshmallow into 2-inch squares. Sift remaining 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar into a small bowl, and roll each marshmallow in the sugar to coat.

Mexican Hot Cocoa

6 (12-ounce) cans evaporated milk 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon 1 tablespoon vanilla extract 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg Pinch cayenne pepper 2 (12-ounce) bags semisweet chocolate chips (recommended: Hershey’s) Cocoa powder, for serving
Stovetop: In a large pot over medium heat, whisk together milk, cinnamon, vanilla extract, and nutmeg. Add chocolate chips. Stir until chocolate is melted. Cover and turn heat to low for 5 minutes. For slow cooker: In a 4-quart slow cooker, whisk together milk, cinnamon, vanilla extract, and nutmeg. Add chocolate chips. Cover and cook on LOW setting for 2 to 3 hours, stirring every 15 to 20 minutes. Serve with a dusting of cocoa powder.

Stirrers

Melt dark chocolate, semi-sweet chocolate, or white chocolate onto a plastic spoon. Add tiny marshmallows, candied ginger, peanut butter, crushed candy canes, cinnamon — refrigerate to harden. Wrap with saran wrap and tie with a ribbon, have at the ready for stirring.

ADD-INS FOR HOT COCOA
Stir with a peppermint stick
Add Kahlua, rum, or Bailey’s Irish Creme
cinnamon, nutmeg, whipped cream, marshmallows, ginger, coffee granules, cayenne

Best Things To Dip In Hot Cocoa
Cookie recipe above
ginger snaps
sugar cookies
biscotti
peanut butter cookies

MOVIE SUGGESTIONS
Chocolat
Krampus
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
Elf

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Allowing Ourselves to Receive

By allowing ourselves to receive, we are given the gift of seeing through another person’s eyes.

Giving and receiving are part of the same cycle, and we each give and receive in our own ways. But we can lose our balance when we try to be too controlling on either side of the cycle. On the receiving end, we may feel that we don’t deserve the effort made if what we gave was easy for us to give. But perhaps there is a different lesson there for us. We may be receiving not only gratitude but a chance to see the world through the eyes of another. We may be learning that just because we gave easily, it doesn’t diminish its value. Or perhaps the universe is giving us an example to hold close to our hearts, to encourage us on some future day when our own generous act of giving is not met with a visible act of receiving. When we can allow ourselves to receive as well as give, we do our part to keep the channels of abundance open for ourselves and others.

Sometimes we may find ourselves struggling to respond to others’ gifts in the same ways — like responding to an expensive present with something equally expensive, or feeling like we have to throw a dinner party for someone who has thrown one for us. But when these are done out of a sense of obligation, their energy changes from something that shares to something that drains. If this sounds familiar, we can decide next time to allow ourselves to receive with arms, minds and hearts open and simply say thank you.

Accepting a person’s gift is a gift in itself. Sincere appreciation for their acknowledgment and their effort joins our energy with theirs in the cycle of giving and receiving and nurtures all involved. If ever we find we are still having difficulty, we can decide to allow ourselves to be conduits for gratitude and accept on behalf of a loving, giving universe.

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Gilberto Rides Again by Stephen Halpert Chapter 33

Gilberto’s stomach lurched. He could taste his lunch. He swallowed hard. “Never seen anything like that.”
“You’re fortunate. Touch nothing.” Rain reached into her bag and handed him a pair of disposable gloves. “Put these on.”
She opened her phone, called in, and reported the incident to Smith.
“Out,” she said abruptly as she closed her phone. “Out now,” Smith’s orders.” They hurried from the apartment and down to the lobby.
Gilberto shuddered. “Whoever did this has a lot of hate inside,” he said.
“He used that knife like a saw,” Rain said.” Sadistic.”
Again his stomach lurched, this time worse. He hurried out ahead of Rain and took deep breaths. The cool night air chilled his bones. Despite his warm jacket, he shivered.
He turned to Rain “You’ve seen that kind of murder before?”
She nodded. “Something like that. But cold, calculating, death squad stuff. This was more insane, crazed.”
They walked back to the sedan. “Why?” Gilberto said.
“We’ll find out. Murder like that has to have its own reckoning. Or else be totally crazy.”
“I guess,” Gilberto said. “Nothing about this fall of Atlas makes sense to me. One minute Buzz is out to acquire a shoestring outfit in North Carolina, he plans to sell to the Chinese, the next thing we know, he’s dead.”
“Who told you about a sale to the Chinese?”
“Sarah Midgley,” Gilberto said.
She smirked. “May or may not be true. Anything coming out of her mouth is suspect.”
They reached the sedan. Jesse opened the doors for them, they got in. He quickly drove away.
Rain turned and gave Gilberto a wry smile. “Don’t look for any reason or substantiation. It will only confuse your thinking. Just accept it for what it is and get past it. You never fought in a war,” she said. “War can toughen one up in unmistakable ways.”
He nodded, wondering what she was getting at.
She went on. “Let whatever you saw, regardless how horrible it was, let it slide out of your memory and free you up. A traffic accident could have appeared worse.”
He nodded but remained quiet.
“Yes, I know, life is fragile. But not much around death makes any sense except the finality of death itself.”
He nodded and breathed. “Yes, but-“
She went on again. “Death can be irrational Gilberto. Don’t try to make sense out of it.”
He nodded, shivered. Time seemed to have stopped. Despite what Rain said he couldn’t get past that mangled bloody corpse.
They drove past the Pike exit down Commonwealth Avenue toward Charles Street. Then took a left turn and Jesse parked the sedan beside his condo.
“I’ll go up with you,” Rain said. Though her voice appeared soft, her posture and her movements were firm and strong.
The moment Maria saw him she knew something awful had transpired. She threw her arms around Gilberto. Tears filled her eyes.
“He’s sensitive,” Rain said. “Much more sensitive than he lets on.” She took Maria’s hand. “Your compassion and understanding are needed now.” She turned to him. “Thanks for going with us, Gilberto. Get some rest and we’ll talk tomorrow.” Then quite out of character she hugged him, smiled, turned and left.
Maria led him into the bedroom. She closed their door and hugged him.
“Whatever you saw must have been devastating.”
He closed his eyes. It felt so good to have her hold him. She guided him to the bed and carefully helped him out of his clothes and into his pajamas.
Softly she whispered. “Not now. It’s too soon. But when you can please tell me all about it.”
He nodded. ” Promise.” Tears filled his eyes.
She climbed into bed beside him. He hugged her. “I’m no James Bond,” he said. “I learned that tonight.”
“I’m glad,” she softly kissed his cheeks. You’re my Gilberto and you don’t ever have to pretend to be an action hero. You’re my lover,” she whispered. “Gentle, kind, compassionate, real, human. That’s what I want. That’s what suits me.”
Tears filled his eyes. “It was, it was,” he choked, “horrible,” he whispered. “I’ve never seen a bloody corpse like that.”
She held him. “Not just a stab wound?”
“Oh no, this was carnage. Whoever did that has to be insane; crazy.”
She held him, stroking his shoulders, giving him all the loving concern she could to calm his being.”
“Does Sarah Midgley wield a knife?”
He frowned and shook his head. “She’d have to be a lot crazier than we’ve given her credit for.”
“I can’t think of anyone else,” she sighed. “I hope the police find her before she can cause any more havoc.”
“I don’t think a woman could have done that. It was just too barbaric.” He sighed and held her. “Frankenstein’s mother maybe.”
Sher smiled. “I’m glad agent Rain is on it; I like her. She’s one smart customer if you ask me.”
“I know,” Gilberto said. “Somehow she knows how to stay contained. The training she went through must have been mind shattering.”
“I’m sure,” Maria said. It’s almost like in some far out way she’s bionic.”
“Up there with Wonder Woman,” he smiled
“So the killer has to be Sarah Midgley.” Maria said flatly. “Why not? I think she’s crazy enough to butcher someone. And who else is there anyway?”
“Maybe,” Gilberto said. “You might be right. Won’t argue with you.”
The phone rang. It was Ramon. He sounded agitated. “The Atlas Building,” he began. “Someone torched it. It’s going up in flames. It’s on TV, on the local news.”
“Wow,’ Gilberto said. ” I wonder who’s got it in for Atlas and why? Did Buzz do something to provoke this terrible chain of events? Who could it be?”
“I wonder too,” Ramon said. “The Chinese maybe? Can’t think of who’s to benefit if Atlas falls.”
“All we can do is let it burn,” Gilberto said. “Go have fun with Rosa. You’ll have a way better evening
Ramon laughed. “For sure! Got that right.”
Gilberto hung up and put his arms around Maria. He sighed and smiled. “I have you and that’s all that matters to me.”
(To be continued)

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Kitty Kat’s Korner
=^..^=

Feline-Inspired Songs
By Phillip Mlynar

Anyone who’s adopted a cat has inevitably made up a goofy ditty about their beloved kitty at some point — and it seems that musicians and pop stars are just as willing to let feline muses inspire their songs. Here’s a spotlight on seven tracks written about cats that are prime for your next playlist.

Stray Cat Strut (Stray Cats)
Rockabilly trio the Stray Cats scored big with 1981’s Stray Cat Strut, a song that explores the daily trials, tribulations and psychology of a feral black and ginger alley cat. The hero of the song — who is cast as a “feline Casanova” — struts around looking for brawls with other kitties, howling at the moon and snagging dinner from garbage cans. “I got cat class and I got cat style,” the protagonist ultimately purrs, signing off with pure feline sass.

Tron Cat (Thundercat)
Before winning a Grammy for his work with rapper Kendrick Lamar, Los Angeles-based funk singer and bass player Thundercat broke through with this equal parts tender and tongue-in-cheek tribute to his rescue cat Tron. Over gently jittering production, Thundercat trills, “Don’t you ever leave me Turbo Tron / Don’t ever wonder where I’m going.” Elsewhere in Thundercat’s cat-centric discography, the mellifluous Dragonball Durag finds him lauding the virtues of turning up for a date proudly covered in cat hair.

Felines have inspired musicians throughout the ages and various genres (for example, funk musician Thundercat, 1960s British singer Petula Clark and 1980s rockabilly band Stray Cats)

Delilah (Queen) Nestled on theatrical pop-rockers Queen’s 1991 Innuendo album, Delilah is an ode to lead singer and confirmed cat fancier Freddie Mercury’s most treasured feline, the titular Delilah. Delving into the finicky and temperamental aspect of living with cats, Mercury at one point laments, “You make me so very happy when you cuddle up and go to sleep beside me / And then you make me slightly mad when you pee all over my Chippendale suite.” But don’t worry — the song ends with Mercury and Delilah kissing and making up.

Top Cat (Slick Rick) Renowned as hip-hop’s greatest ever storyteller, golden age rapper Slick Rick turned his conceptual chops to feline pursuits on this 1991 release. Fueled by a jaunty backdrop that includes rhythmic sampled meows, the narrative opens with kitty Rick “skipping through an alley in New York, a stray kitten,” before he’s chased by a dog, taken home by an affluent lady and put to work as a mouser.

The Cat In The Window (The Bird In The Sky) (Petula Clark)
Petula Clark came to prominence with her upbeat 1960s smash Downtown, but the English singer’s deep back catalog also includes this more reflective exploration of what cats are thinking when gazing out of a window watching birds glide by. Backed by dreamy flute lines, Clark ponders whether cats are secretly envious that they can’t fly — and even suggests that contemplating a lack of wings is enough to bring a tear to any kitty’s eye.

Old Black Cat (Ian Anderson)
When not holding down duties as the lead singer of prog-rock trailblazers Jethro Tull, you might find Ian Anderson penning songs about cats. Featured on his 2003 Rupi’s Dance solo album, Old Black Cat is a poignant tale that opens with Anderson’s faithful feline passing away, before he goes on to fondly reminisce about a kitty who possessed “a wide-eyed innocence” and was partial to dancing on roofs and sneaking in bites of the Sunday dinner.

Phenomenal Cat (The Kinks)
British rockers The Kinks’ psychedelic rock-spiked 1968 Phenomenal Cat tells the philosophical fable of a portly kitty who loves to spend his days wallowing around and filling his belly. After discovering the secret of life during a trip to Hong Kong, the newly enlightened kitty decides on a new agenda: “He gave up his diet and sat in a tree / And ate himself through eternity.” It’s clearly advice that many cats are still faithfully following to this day.

Have a favorite feline-centric song not on this list? One that’s about an actual cat? Let us know by emailing us at catstermag@belvoir.com
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Georgia Nicols Weekly Horoscope:
Sunday, December 26, 2021

All Signs
Since 2019, Jupiter has been in signs ruled by Saturn, which brought restrictions to travel, hardships and a restructuring of beliefs. This week, Jupiter enters Pisces for the first time since 2010, which will create more interest in dream work, spiritual retreats, the arts, dance, music and the theatre. Jupiter in Pisces will encourage compassion, sympathy and spirituality. This is comforting. By New Year’s, people will start to feel empowered with love and understanding, as well as a stronger sense of reality. Einstein said, “Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.” Robin Williams said, “Reality is just a crutch for those who can’t cope with drugs.” I think Lily Tomlin nailed it, “Reality is the leading cause of stress.”

Aries (March 21-April 19)
With the Sun at the top of your chart, you look fabulous in the eyes of others. That’s because you’re thrust in this flattering spotlight! This week a discussion with a boss or a parent will be intense, almost obsessive. Easy does it. Something else at play will make you identify strongly with your beliefs about politics, religion or racial issues. This could prompt arguments! (Hey, you need this like a fish needs a bicycle.) Instead, be open to the increasing influence that will manifest for you this year, which is one that encourages spirituality and the exploration of your inner world. “Hello? Is anybody in there?”

Taurus (April 20-May 20)
Your desire to explore ideas, places and other cultures continues to be strong. Meanwhile, something will prompt an increased interest in understanding how societies work. You might investigate or advocate legal matters. You will have a strong desire to travel, but will Covid restrictions permit this? Disputes about shared property, insurance issues and inheritances will arise for some of you. As Jupiter moves into your House of Friendships this year, you will enjoy warmer interactions with others and more involvement with groups and organizations. You’ll also be more popular!

Gemini (May 21-June 20)
As Jupiter changes signs this week, it starts to move to the top of your chart. This is excellent news! It means that people will view you as successful and affluent, even if this isn’t true. However, in most cases, something really will create this impression. You will get a promotion, a raise, an award – something will radiate success! Be patient with others, especially with disputes about shared property. Likewise, be patient if you are dealing with someone who has different values from yours. Sometimes you simply have to agree to disagree. Mars opposite your sign this week will make you easily irritable with others. Remember: Patience is the antidote to anger.

Cancer (June 21-July 22)
Very likely, you will have an intense discussion with a close friend or partner this week. We’re talking intense, really intense. It could be a power struggle. Perhaps this is connected to your work because you are gung-ho to work very hard now. Or perhaps it is connected to your increasing desire to travel and “get away from all this.” You will also start to have more chances to explore opportunities in publishing, the media, medicine and the law and certainly higher education. Many of you will want to go back to school or take a course. Perhaps you will write that book or finish that screenplay? You’ve got a plan!

Leo (July 23-Aug. 22)
As the holiday season starts to wrap up, you’re swinging into work mode. Oh yes, you want to be productive and you want to get a lot done! You might have a grand plan to achieve something in a certain amount of time? Many of you will pare down and streamline something related to your work. You will also have a strong desire to improve your health now. (“I want it all and I want it delivered!”) The good news is that Jupiter, the sign of wealth and expansion, is now entering one of your Money Houses. (How sweet it is.) This means you will more easily attract money to you from other sources, especially through partners. Likewise, it will be easier to get a loan or a mortgage this year. Ka-ching!

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22)
For you, the holiday season is still going strong because you’re in party mode. Perhaps there is an increased involvement with kid’s activities? Perhaps your family continues to enjoy family gatherings and fun times? This strong interest in light hearted, playful matters could be involving sports as well as the arts and anything to do with the entertainment world. Certainly, you will seek escape now if possible, because increased chaos and activity on the home front might be a lot to deal with. The really good news is that Jupiter will now be opposite your sign for the first time since 2010, beautifully improving all your relations with others. Lucky you!

Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22)
Your focus on home, family and your private life continues. Be patient with family members, especially this week because intense discussions will encourage disputes. It’s so easy to think that something is terribly important and has to be resolved right now. But ironically, when the annals of history are written, does any of this really matter? You like to control what’s happening at home because the ambience of your home is important you. Nevertheless, as a member of the human tribe, you know this is not always possible. Let’s face it, harmony is important to you. Sometimes it’s better to go along to get along. This could be one of those times.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21)
This continues to be a busy, fast-paced time for you. So much to do, so little time! You’re enjoying schmoozing with others; nevertheless, this week, you might find yourself at odds with someone because you want to convince them to agree with you. You strongly believe in your views! We both know you are strong willed and opinionated. This is a given. You also like to control a situation. But what is your long-term objective? Isn’t it to be happy? If you want to be happy this week, maybe the way to achieve your own personal happiness is to lighten up when dealing with others? Jupiter is going into the most fun part of your chart this year. Vacations! Romance! Good times! You have so much to look forward to!

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 21)
“Show me the money!” Right now, there are four planets in your Money House. Obviously, your personal wealth is on your mind. This might provoke an intense discussion with someone about your money or something that you own. (Believe me, you have strong feelings!) And with fiery Mars is in your sign, you’ll be coming on like gangbusters! But hey, is this the way to achieve your goals? Might a lighter approach will work better? Physical exercise is a good idea now to blow off some of your pent-up steam. Meanwhile, lucky Jupiter is moving into the part of your chart related to home and family, which means your living situation will improve this year. You might also expand your family!

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 19)
You continue to hold all the cards because the Sun is in your sign along with Mercury, Venus and Pluto. Oh yes, it’s all about you, dear Capricorn. However, here’s the deal. This week, Mercury in your sign will line up with Pluto in your sign, which will make you a force to contend with! You might encounter opposition from others. Or in turn, others might feel threatened by you? You might also become totally preoccupied with a particular point of view, which makes you fail to see the bigger picture. Be aware that all these things are possible. Also be aware that these things are within your control. For your own peace of mind, take the high road. Be forgiving with others. Reduce your expectations.

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 18)
This is a busy time of year for so many; nevertheless, a handful of planets are actually “hiding” in your chart, which means you’re happy to take a backseat. You will prefer to work alone or behind the scenes and avoid the insanity of whatever is going on around you. Actually, this influence will help you to do any kind of research because you have the focus and the mental endurance to do so. Furthermore, you’re motivated! You want to get to the bottom of something. You want the truth. Physical competition in sports and dealing with teams might be a factor right now. Meanwhile, Jupiter is starting to move into your Money House, which means you will soon get richer! Yay me!

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20)
This continues to be a popular week for you. In fact, many of you will be hanging out with younger people more than usual as well as artistic, creative people. Do be aware that you will be tempted to convince others to agree with you. “The hour is now! To the gates!” However, don’t get your belly in a rash. Mars at the top of your chart arouses your ambition, and this makes you want to lead others and persuade them to agree with you. You have to ask yourself how much this really matters? Put things in perspective. Lucky Jupiter is about to enter your sign for the first time since 2010. Your world is going to become major horseshoes! Relax.

Every Day is Earth Day! Love Your Mother!

)0(

Goddess Blessings!
Live Well – Laugh Often – Love Much
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12.Introduction to Meditation

13.Introduction to The Goddess Tradition and The Feminine Divine

14.Kuan Yins Gentle Embrace Reiki Certification

15.A Year and a Day of Contemplation with Kuan Yin

16.Tarot, Numerology, Natal Charts and Dream Readings

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“We all come from the Goddess
And to Her we shall return
Like a drop of rain, going to the ocean”
)0(
“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

Have a safe and happy holiday!

Never forget…you are magick! )0(

Goddess Bless!
GrannyMoon

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By GrannyMoon Posted in Pagan

GrannyMoons Weekly Feast: 19 Dec 2021

Blessed Solstice! Northern and Southern Hemisphere!

May the world be kind to you,
and may your own thoughts be gentle upon yourself. ~ Jonathan

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

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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)0(

Current Moon Phase: FULL MOON

Time: Approx. 14 days after the new moon (energy lasts from three days before to three days after the 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.

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What’s Happening This Month

Celtic Month of Elder – November 24th to December 23rd
Goddess Month of Astraea – November 28- December 25

December

Herb of the Year for 2021: Parsley (Petroselinum crispum)
Flower of the Month for December: Poinsettia
December is National Egg Nog Month. Fruit Cake Month, too

Week 2. Christmas Bird Count Week
December 17: National Maple Syrup Day
December 18: On this day in 1843, Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol was published
December 18: Full Moon in Gemini!

Week 3. Christmas and Kwanza Week
December 21: Winter Solstice: Celebrating the Shortest Day of the Year
December 24: National Egg Nog Day—just in time for Christmas Eve
December 25: At last, Christmas! Have a merry (and healthy!) holiday
December 26: Kwanza

Week 4. A New Year Begins
December 31: New Year’s Eve

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Sunday Classes with GrannyMoon at Sticks and Stones, Fairfax, VA

January 2022

Face to Face Class: 1 PM – 3 PM ~ WitchCrafting – Jan 2
Face to Face Class: 1 PM – 3 PM ~ The Herb Cauldron – Jan 9
Face to Face Class: Noon – 2:00 PM ~ The Magick of Crystals – Jan 16
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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!
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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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Seasons of the Witch: Yule Oracle
Cold Moon

Take with thy the dreariest of moments.
Release me for the tongue and nourish me with light.

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Stacy Adams
coventrycreations.com

BHC Newsletter Reta
December 20, 2021 – December 26, 2021

This week the cosmos revs up again with four major aspects and the beginning of Capricorn season. The week’s headliner is Saturn square Uranus (see above), which occurs on Christmas Eve.

The week begins with an exciting Mercury – Uranus aspect (sextile) that is sure to deck the halls with bells of holly. Mercury sextile Uranus stimulates the mind, and you will find yourself excited by new experiences. So, it’s a great day to break away from your usual routines and do something new. On Tuesday, the Sun moves out of Sagittarius and into Capricorn. It’s time to take charge of your life, and an excellent way to do so is to plan out how you will make next year a better one. Capricorn season is about creating realistic plans, taking charge of your destiny, and working to build structures in your life.

During the middle of the week, the Moon moves through playful Leo. It’s a wonderful time to let your inner child free just in time for the holidays. A little bit of caution, though – on Wednesday afternoon, the Moon squares Uranus. Expect the unexpected.

This weekend, besides Saturn square Uranus (see above), Venus retrograde conjoins Pluto for the second time this month on Christmas Day. Tensions may be high over the holiday, especially in relationships that are struggling. It’s an auspicious time to look at what needs to change in your relationships so that everyone gets their needs met. Holding onto relationships for security reasons could lead to harsh consequences.

Recommended Candles: Sun (Astro Magic), Dreams Come True (Blessing Kit), Love (Affirmation)

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

Still shopping for that perfect gift? Check out our new Holiday Catalog!

That insightful, witchy, or spiritually mindful person in your life deserves more than just a crummy gift card. Give them a magical gift from Coventry Creations.

Candle Ritual for Managing The Big Picture
Full Moon in Gemini December 18, 2021

On December 18th, the Full Moon lands in mercurial Gemini, and with Jupiter adding her influence, your mind can be put in a tsunami of ideas and inspirations. You’ll experience a pull to wanting to understand the world around you in a much broader sense.

Build up your luck with visions for the future
Lucky Star Spell – December 2021 Witches Union Spell Card

Sagittarius Season teaches us to leave the past behind and look to the future. This potent energy is perfect for magic that manifests our goals and dreams. It’s the energy of a Christmas Miracle!

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WINTER SOLSTICE DECEMBER 21, 2021

In the midst of the holiday chaos, the winter solstice brings a moment of complete silence. December 21, 2021 marks the solstice—Winter solstice is an astronomical phenomenon that marks the shortest day and the longest night of the year. Winter solstice occurs for the Northern Hemisphere in December and for the Southern Hemisphere in June.

The winter solstice is a time of reflection, during the darkest and longest night of the year. A time to spend with family and friends. A time to imagine what the coming year will bring. As an expression in nature, the Winter Solstice is the time to reflect on the power of our spiritual beliefs and the belief in the power of ourselves!

The winter solstice, the rebirth of the Sun, is an important turning point, as it marks the shortest day. Yule is deeply rooted in the cycle of the year, it is the seed time of year, the longest night and the shortest day, where the Goddess once again becomes the Great Mother and gives birth to the new Sun King.

We also have a Full Cold Moon on December 18/19, 2021 which is a powerful introduction to the winter solstice. Read the Full Cold Moon Article Here. https://cherokeebilliespiritualadvisor.com/blogs/all/full-moon-december-18-19-2021-heal-the-past-with-archangel-raphael

The Scandinavian and Germanic people of northern Europe celebrated a twelve-day “midwinter” (winter solstice) holiday called Yule Many modern Christmas traditions, such as the Christmas tree, the Christmas wreath, the Yule log, and others, are direct descendants of Yule customs.

Elements to work with on the Winter Solstice

Herbs: Holly, mistletoe, pine cones, pine needles, oak leaves, Yule log ashes, fir, birch, hazel bark, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, wintergreen

Colors: Red, green, white, gold, silver

December 2018 brings with it snow (for some), family, feasts, and fun, but remember to grab some hot cocoa during this winter month and relax when you can

Here Are Some Wonderful Suggestions to Start Winter Solstice Traditions

Feed the Wildlife – String cereal onto the thread and drape it across the bare branches of trees for the wildlife to share… some apples too hung on a thread. This is a wonderful gift to the creatures that share our world in the night, the longest night of the year.

Eat by Candlelight -Welcome the return of the sun by eating in only candlelight and firelight… thank the sun for all of its strength and energy, and for bringing light into our lives.

Release The Old You can use this ceremony to release any old thoughts, patterns, or unwanted energy from 2021. Just write down whatever comes, draw a picture. Sometimes words are not needed.

Welcome, The New – One of the most important things that you can do is write out your hopes and dreams for 2022 on slips of paper, then light them on fire by candles or fireplace and watch as the paper transforms to smoke… carrying your intentions out to the universe. Your energy and intention are not unnoticed.

The Winter Solstice and Stonehenge.

Stonehenge is carefully aligned on a sight-line that points to the winter solstice sunset. It is thought that the Winter Solstice was actually more important to the people who constructed Stonehenge than the Summer Solstice. The winter solstice was immensely important because the people were economically dependent on monitoring the progress of the seasons. Winters were harsh and it was important to store up food at the solstice for the long winter months.

The Winter Solstice is the most important day of the year at Stonehenge and a truly magical time to be there. For many the impulse to arrive at Stonehenge in time for the Solstice is a little like all those people drawn to the strange rock in Close Encounters of the Third Kind. It’s akin to a spiritual experience for those that attend.

On the night of December 21:

Please light a candle (white, gold, or silver) and spend at least 5 minutes in mindful meditation.

Make sure you take time to enjoy this sacred day in some special way.

I’m taking reservations now for my special Yuletide/Winter Solstice Spiritual Reading.. These are quite different than my normal readings. Treat yourself now to a personal treasure with a special Winter Solstice Reading. Grab yours before they are all gone!

Winter Solstice Blessings,
Cherokee Billie

https://cherokeebilliespiritualadvisor.com/

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Llewellyn’s Spell A Day

Sanctuary Spell
DECEMBER 19, 2021 BY DEVIN HUNTER

The moon is in its home sign of Cancer for most of the day, and we may be feeling a desire to be around a few less people today and stick to ourselves. The winter solstice draws near, and the things that truly matter are likely to be on our mind. Before the rush of the holidays takes full effect, use the power of the Cancer moon to create a place of sanctuary and peace in your home.

For this spell you will need some lavender water and four small to medium-size pieces of citrine, selenite, black tourmaline, or clear quartz. Cleanse your home and the stones using your favorite method, then place one stone each at the front door, back door, common area, and bedroom. Next, lightly sprinkle lavender water around your home and chant the following verse repeatedly until you have covered the entire home:

This sanctuary is blessed by
the Goddess; the Goddess
resides within this space.
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Protection Cactus
DECEMBER 18, 2021 BY KATE FREULER

Cacti are available in stores all year round. These tough little potted plants can survive the harshest conditions and are covered in prickles and spikes. This makes them excellent for use as protection or defense charms. Take advantage of this full moon to create a protection cactus for your home.

Gather these items:

  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • A small potted cactus
  • Black paint
  • A paintbrush

Sprinkle the salt in the shape of a circle onto a surface in front of you. As you do so, say:

Full moon, full protection, full defense.
Imagine that the circle of salt and the
moon in the sky are connected by
lunar rays.

Using the black paint, draw a protective symbol on the pot, such as a pentacle or the shape of a shield. Place the cactus inside the salt circle. Leave it there overnight to absorb the protective powers of the full moon.

Now you have a protection charm disguised as a cute little cactus! Place it in your home to ward off negative energy. Dispose of the salt.
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A Pine Blessing
DECEMBER 17, 2021 BY JAMES KAMBOS

Pine has a purifying quality and is perfect to use in blessing rituals at this time of year. Use this ritual to bless your home and family.

You’ll need a bayberry-scented candle, two small pine branches, and a heatproof container, cauldron, or fireplace. Place the candle on your altar and safely light it. In front of the candle, lay the pine branches. Position them so they form a cross. Sit before your altar and say:

Pine, you’re an ancient and mighty tree.
Bless my family and our home.
Protect us from any negativity.

End the ritual by burning the pine branches in the heatproof container, cauldron, or fireplace. Snuff out the candle, but continue to burn it as you wish through New Year’s Day. When the ashes cool, discard them.
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Decorate Your Altar for Yule
DECEMBER 16, 2021 BY DEBORAH BLAKE

Some Pagans decorate their entire house for Yule, especially if they are living with non-Pagans and combining their Yule celebration with that of Christmas. But if you are someone who doesn’t decorate, you may want to at least set up a special Yule altar. You can drape it with pine boughs or a swag made from pine and juniper. Use the colors red, green, and gold, and natural elements like pinecones, acorns, and gourds. You can honor the Goddess in her mother role, since she will give birth to the infant god at Yule, returning the sun to the world. Don’t forget that this is a holiday that celebrates the returning light, so if it is safe to do so, be sure to add some candles. ( There are some very realistic-looking battery-powered ones available if you can’t have flames.) Make your altar cheerful and bright, then spend a few minutes in front of it daily.
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Pre-Holiday Centering
DECEMBER 15, 2021 BY BLAKE OCTAVIAN BLAIR

The holidays are fast approaching. Soon will begin the flurry of family gatherings, grove and coven events, office parties, and potentially visits to churches, temples, or other religious establishments of importance to your family.

Take an opportunity today, before it all sets in, to center yourself in order to put your best foot forward heading into the holiday season. One way to do this comes from druidic traditions, by connecting to land, sky, and sea with three breaths. You can do this anywhere and anytime, so find a quiet spot that works for you. (Fresh outdoor air is a bonus.)

Begin by focusing on the earth below you, and take a deep, slow breath with the earth. Then, focusing on the sky above you, take another deep, slow breath. Then take a third and final deep, slow breath while focusing on the sea that surrounds and connects us.
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Clearing Away
DECEMBER 14, 2021 BY ELIZABETH BARRETTE

Spells often leave some sort of residue behind. This can include candle stubs, incense ash, bits of paper, dried petals, and so on. Most of the time, that gets cleaned up during or after an individual spell. However, sometimes magic happens in haste and not everything gets picked up. Here is a ceremony for clearing away the remnants of old spells.

First take everything off your altar. Empty and wash the incense burner. Empty and clean the candleholders. Polish the athame. Wash the ritual bowls, chalice, and stone or pentacle. Painted icons or other delicate items can simply be dusted. Clean the top of your altar with furniture polish (if wood) or glass cleaner (if glass). Make sure you have a fresh supply of incense, charcoal, candles, and other consumables. Check that the matchbox or lighter is full.

Now place the cleaned altar tools back in their customary positions. Say:

All that has gone before is over
and done. What lies ahead is
new and clean. So mote it be!
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Powerful Number 13
DECEMBER 13, 2021 BY NAJAH LIGHTFOOT

Today is the 13th day of the month. The number thirteen gets a bad rap for many reasons, but for Witches and believers in the occult, the number thirteen is a powerful number. In traditional Witchcraft, it is the number of people in a coven. It is also the usual number of full moons in a year.

As the moon is in its waxing phase right now, let us call forth the power of the coming full moon with this simple charm. You will need a white candle in a fireproof candleholder.

This evening, light your candle and say:

Thirteen Witches gather round,
Singing, chanting, drawing
the moon down.
In the night by candlelight,
My hopes, dreams, and
wishes take flight.

You can also use this charm when the moon is full.
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Crafting Faery Beds
DECEMBER 12, 2021 BY ESTHA MCNEVIN

Using recycled materials to craft small beds for the faeries is a fun way to celebrate the Pagan Yuletide and talk about sustainability, recycling, and how to manifest our hopes and dreams for the future in a world where climate change is part of the daily dialogue. Collect milk or juice boxes, soup cans, egg cartons, and other recycled cups or lids that are small enough for a faery to take a nap in. Sculpt and decorate each bed to your liking.

Stuff muslin sachet bags with lavender and dreamtime herbs like chamomile. Craft some cozy blankets by cutting up old shirts and socks. Hang these on a faery altar or keep them around the home to help promote good dreams. Decorate with images of your dreams and aspirations in life, and ask the faeries to dream a little dream of you!

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Celebrating Light in the Darkness
~Susan Wittig Albert

Santa Lucia, thy light is glowing
Through darkest winter night, comfort bestowing.
Dreams float on dreams tonight,
Comes then the morning light,
Santa Lucia, Santa Lucia.

—Traditional Scandinavian song

St. Lucia, whose name means “light,” is honored at the darkest time of the year, in ceremonies that have their origins in pagan Norse tradition. Under the Julian calendar, the winter solstice was celebrated on December 13th, then believed to be the longest night of the year. The Yule period was full of very real difficulties and danger, and in the north countries, people believed that the long weeks of darkness and bone-chilling cold left everyone vulnerable to witches and evil spirits. Light cheered the soul and warded off danger. (Read more about the pagan origins of this Christianized holiday.)

Throughout northern Europe, this special day marks the beginning of Yule and Christmas celebrations, feasting, and merriment. Traditionally, the oldest daughter of the family, wearing a coronet of pine sprigs and lingonberries decorated with five lighted candles, wakened her parents with a breakfast of saffron buns (Saffronsbrod) and coffee. The precious golden saffron (derived from the flower of the saffron crocus) was symbolic of sunshine and light.

Saffronsbrod

1/4 cup hot water
1/4 teaspoon crushed saffron threads
1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons dry yeast
3 to 3 1/4 cups flour

Glaze: 1 egg white, beaten lightly with 1 teaspoon water; sugar

Soften the saffron in the hot water (about 10 minutes). In a mixing bowl, blend the saffron water, milk, sugar, butter, salt, egg, and yeast. Add 2 cups of the flour and mix well, then add enough of the remaining flour to make a soft dough. Knead the dough (15 minutes by hand, 12 minutes in an electric mixer), then set it aside to rise until light and puffy (about 2 hours). Punch the dough down, and let it rest, covered, for 10 minutes. Divide into 16 pieces: divide into fourths, divide each fourth into fourths. Shape each piece into a ball. Place the balls fairly close together (but not touching) in a 9”x13”-inch pan, cover them, and let rise for 1 1/2 hours, or until they’re puffy. Glaze the buns with the mixture of beaten egg white and water, then sprinkle heavily with sugar. Bake in a preheated 375 degrees F oven for 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Yield: 16 buns.

Lucy light, Lucy light,
The shortest day and the longest night.
—Traditional saying

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Heartwings Love Notes 1013 Holidays can bring back the past

Heartwings says, “The past does not need to dictate the future.”

Because I am unaccustomed to needing help, I have often refused it without thinking. For years my automatic response to offers for help has been, “No thanks, I’m fine,” or “No, I can do it myself, thank you.” The other day I said no to an offer of help when getting out of a car. Actually, I could have used the help, as my physical challenges have grown. However, without thinking I said “no, thanks.” Stephen chided me and asked me why I had done that, when I could have had an easier time by accepting. I thought about it, and a memory came to me.

A good number of years ago my mother and I were visiting my brother in California. He was driving his small truck, and my mother and I rode in it with him. We stopped and got ready to get out. I slid out and offered to help her down. She adamantly refused. As I reflected on the memory, I remembered how independent she had always been. Then I realized that unconsciously I had patterned myself on her behavior.

This is an easy thing to do, and we do it without thinking. Our parents are our first models for how adults conduct themselves. It’s no wonder that without realizing it, we imitate them. As I understand it, until we are around eight years old, we are apt to take our behavioral cues from the adults around us. After that our peers often become our examples of how to behave. However, the patterns we absorb as young children are often the ones that on a subconscious level keep influencing us.

If once we become aware of them, we wish to change these behaviors, we must first catch ourselves in the act, so to speak. At that point, we can decide to do things differently, as I did the next time I was offered help. Catching myself right at the point of saying, “No, thanks,” I said, “Yes, thank you.” I took my friend’s hand, and I was happy to find myself getting out of the car with greater ease.

I hope that I never get too old to learn or to grow more aware of anything that I would benefit from changing. It is a wonderful experience to be able to do this. I am enormously grateful for the ability as well as the opportunity. It has been my experience that holidays are a fine chance to observe our automatic behaviors. Many of us spend quality time around family members. This calls forth that kind of unconscious, early patterning behavior.

As we are able to be mindful during those times, we often can learn something new about ourselves and how we act. Then if we wish, we can change what we would like to change, and find ourselves and our lives the better for new ways of doing and being. The key to being able to do this is to keep the mind clear of speculation and apprehension. If we can eliminate thinking ahead as to how people will react to us or what they will think about us, and instead be present in the moment, we can learn a very great deal about ourselves that will be helpful.

May you enjoy your holidays and learn something new as well.

Blessings and best regards, Tasha Halpert

Do you have a tale to share, a comment to make, or a question or suggestion? I would love to hear from you and am always happy to respond. Please write to me at tashahal@aol.com. Do visit my web pages for more at http://www.heartwingsandfriends.com.

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A 21st Century Wheel of the Year: Restoration at the Winter Solstice
by Dana

The time of the greatest darkness is upon us at the winter solstice. Each morning, the sun seems to struggle to rise and hangs low in the sky. The world is covered in frost, cold, and snow, and the darkness of winter sets in. This is a hard time for many, perhaps more so now than before, given the cultural darkness and challenges that so many of us are facing globally and locally. So facing the darkness, in this very challenging time, takes something extra.

In my first post on this series (Receptivity at the Fall Equinox), I made the case that the traditional Wheel of the Year was developed and enacted under very different conditions than our present age. We now live in the Anthropocene, a period of human-driven climate change and cultural unrest which is very different than the Holocene, the period of relatively stable climate where the Wheel of the Year was developed. I argue that it will take a different kind of approach to celebrating the wheel of the year if we are to thrive in this age. Thus, I am offering a series of eight posts this coming year that focus on each of the traditional wheel of the year holidays and how they might be adapted to these darker and less stable times. I believe we need new approaches to celebrating our traditional wheel that emphasize the skills and vision that will help us not only navigate the continuing crisis but also help us bring forth a better future for our descendants and all life.

Previous posts in this series include the Fall Equinox (Receptivity) and Samhain (Release). So if we think about how the wheel turns, after release–letting go, getting rid of all that holds you to former structures that are, frankly, crumbling around us. So what comes next in our wheel of the year? I argue at the time of deepest darkness, we should pay attention to our own needs and healing with the theme of restoration – for, without this, no work can proceed as we move forward back into the light and tackle some really hard stuff to come, stuff that is more externally focused! In other words, we have to get our own house and mental health in order (the sequence of Fall Equinox- Samhain -Winter Solstice) so we can look externally in the year to come.

The Need for Restoration: Languishing and Solastalgia
A new term is popping up on news feeds as of late: “languishing.” Languishing is somewhere in between well-functioning and deep depression. It is a state of feeling apathy, restlessness, feeling like the things that once brought you joy no longer do, feeling unsettled, and not interested in life. According to this article, research demonstrated that a good number of people are languishing, particularly in younger generations. This term describes well what many people are facing. What do we do about languishing rather than thriving?

The other piece that is coming into play with climate change is the concept of solastalgia. Coined in 2007 by Albreiht et. al., they define it as follows “solastalgia is the distress that is produced by environmental change impacting on people while they are directly connected to their home environment.” If we think about all of the increasing changes we face–from wildfires to droughts to continued extraction activities, this concept grows more pressing and real. How many of us have watched a forest that we loved get cut or burned, a pipeline come through our favorite swamp, or even a mountaintop get removed? How does that affect our mental well-being?

The real crux of the issue that I see is that things aren’t going to get any better globally. Climate change is going to grow increasingly worse, and with it, a lot of other things are also on the decline. Sure, things may stabilize for a bit, but we are in the ‘slow crash’ and things are going to keep tumbling down. Thus, we have to figure out ways to support ourselves and our communities–and to be strong enough to face our present age. I’m not mincing my words here. I don’t think at this point anyone can ignore the crisis of our age or its severe impact on our mental or physical health. And if we are going to thrive in the coming age, we need to be in the strongest place possible: mentally, physically, and spiritually.

Understanding Restorative Activities
Restoration can be defined in a few different ways. It includes returning to health, bringing back to a former position or condition, or improving the condition of someone or something. Part of restorative work is understanding our needs: what needs are being met, what needs remain unfulfilled, what we have the power to change and control, and what we have to learn to accept.

Restoration Meditation: Uncovering what Works
Understanding your own needs for restoration and rejuvenation is really central to this work. I think that sometimes we buy into the hype of various products and “self-care” gimmicks, as though they can provide us the healing and restoration that we need. Or we listen to what other people think is a good idea rather than our own intuition. So take a moment to set all of that aside and start thinking about your own needs and how you can be restored. Thus, starting with this meditation can help you work through what is possible and create a game plan.

Think about the times that brought you the most rest. What were they? When were they? What conditions did they come under?
Think about the time that you feel you were in the best mental health. When was that? What conditions were present?
What is your perfect restful day look like? Is it away from home or at home? What are the conditions that allow you to have this perfect restful day?
Do you ever prevent yourself from practicing self-care? Think about the deep emotions or issues that might be present in this issue.
Does anyone else ever prevent you from rest and healing? Is there a way to mitigate this problem?
How can you create or replicate the conditions that allow you to rest? What limitations or issues might you need to address?
What basic needs do you have that are unfulfilled? Is there anything you can dot work to fulfill them?
How do you support your physical body? What can you do differently (food, exercise, rest, etc.)?

How do you support your emotions and mental health? What can you do differently?
First, understanding your own needs is central. Nobody can define for you what rejuvenates you and how you can find your own healing–you must do that for yourself. And your needs for restoration are not necessarily the needs of other people. For example, for me, the most restful thing I can do is stay home and be in my gardens and art studio, have a lot of unstructured time where I have no obligations to anyone, stay off of social media, and not answer texts or my phone. Those things can create a deep sense of peace, the flow of awen, and the ability for me to dig into some really cool projects uninterrupted. This is really different than, say, someone who wants to travel far from home and spend a week on the beach. The point here is to know yourself and how you work.

The second part of this, getting at bullet point four, is self-sabotage or sabotage by other family members or close friends. Sometimes we actively or subconsciously prevent ourselves from getting the rest and restoration we need. Deeply examine any of these issues and where they may come from as part of this work. And sometimes, we have people in our lives who actively try to thwart self-care activities–and its important to recognize both of these so that we can heal.

Restoration Activities
White Pine Forest Bathing and White Pine Healing Steams, Baths, and Teas

Turning to evergreens, particularly the pine family and white pine, is an excellent idea as a restorative activity. Since the white pine is an evergreen tree, it reminds us of the green of summer and holds back the darkness. White pine, both physically and energetically, draws things out. Matthew Wood in The Earthwise Herbal, describes how, in the days of early America, people would simply walk through White Pine woods to help heal their consumption and tuberculosis. Even today, herbalists use White Pine steam treatments and tinctures for people who have problems with breathing. The connection to the breath is important–as we go about our lives in this very difficult age, it feels like many of us are holding our breath.

As a restorative activity, visit a white pine forest or spend time with a white pine tree. Make sure you ask the tree’s permission to spend time and leave an appropriate offering. Simply be with the tree or in the forest, breathing in and out, sitting near the trunk, wandering and looking for messages, and allowing the energy of the white pine to soothe you. Release the tension in your body, mind, and spirit.

Additional activities surrounding the white pine include doing a white pine bath (gather up needles with permission and an offering, add them to a bath and soak), a healing white pine tea (brew needles for 3 minutes, add honey), or a white pine herbal steam (instructions here). All of these can be combined with other winter solstice activities or

If you don’t have white pine in your ecosystem, you can find an equivalent conifer–a dominant evergreen conifer tree, tall, majestic, with medicinal qualities ideally connected with the lungs.

Slowing Down
The holidays around the Winter Solstice, at least here in the US, feel like an insanely busy time. Making a commitment to yourself to take some quiet moments and/or embrace slowness really matters. Our culture glorifies busyness and the constant ticking off of to-do lists and this can contribute substantially to feeling over-worked, over-committed, and exhausted. The following suggestions are ways to “slow down” and embrace a slower approach–which itself can be very rejuvenating.

Candlelight evenings and embracing the darkness. Living by candlelight is another restorative activity that can have substantial restorative benefits. Electronic devices emit a blue light which can inhibit the production of melatonin, which can prevent you from falling asleep. Shift your lighting to any kind of natural light, even for an evening or two. Pick up a real book (not an e-reader or phone) and enjoy the quiet, slowness, and stillness of the winter. Embrace the extra sleep that this kind of practice allows.

Technology detox. Allow yourself to have a serious break from your electronic devices and the many obligations they bring. Disconnect–for a few days, a week, whatever you want to do–and go technology-free. To do this successfully, let friends or family know what you are doing and make a commitment in advance. Often when people do this, at first there is a bit of panic or even withdrawal–we are so used to constantly picking up our phones, etc. But after a day or two when the initial shock wears off, you realize how much better you feel without the constant technological tether. This can create more meaningful opportunities to engage in a spiritual practice, explore one’s own understanding of the world, or embrace bardic arts. Consider how you might fill the time normally spent interacting with technology with restorative activities.
Embracing a “slow” philosophy. The slow movement has been gaining traction for many years. The philosophy has many components, slow food, slow spirituality, slow work, and slow time to name a few. The principle is simple and yet very difficult to enact: we slow down. We take our time to cook healthy food that came from local sources or that we grew, we reframe our relationship and time commitments to work, we create unstructured leisure time, and we reject the many cultural demands that say we must work harder, faster, and always be on the go. This is an incredibly restorative activity!

The Druid’s Retreat
Another restorative that can be done is for you to have a retreat. A retreat is a fantastic way to set aside time for spiritual growth and rejuvenation. A retreat can restore you in ways that few other things can. I have two posts that go into detail about how to set up your retreat and how to go about your retreat. Winter is a lovely time to do a retreat–rent a cabin, find a way to do a home retreat, etc. I always do a winter retreat–usually in late Dec and early January, when I’m off from my job, when the rush of the holidays has ended, and it simply allows me time to rest and dig deeply into my own spiritual practices.

Conclusion
My suggestions above hopefully will get your own creative ideas flowing for how to embrace rejuvenation and restoration at this darkest time of the year. This is such important work to do–for if the healer is herself not healed, how can she heal others? As we begin to move forward from the Winter Solstice and back into the time of light, our bodies, spirits, and minds are restored and we can consider the powerful and meaningful work that is to come. Blessings of the winter solstice to you, dear readers!

Announcements:
Article on Druidry 101: Finally, I wanted to share my article on Druidry 101 that was published this week in Spirituality and Health magazine. Please check it out! https://www.spiritualityhealth.com/druidry-for-beginners

Dana

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The Fun and Frolics of a Medieval Christmas
by Alli Templeton

Each December, as the midwinter feasting season approaches, I set aside a little time amid the frenzy of preparations to delve into my medieval history books. In this precious little escape from the modern commercial hype I research some elements of Christmases long past that I can resurrect for my own celebrations. So now, each year we venture out with some secateurs and bring in the Christmas greenery, we listen to some early carols, and on New Year’s Day a new Templeton tradition sees us light a fire in the garden, rinse out the cauldron and cook up a delicious medieval feast. This year my research promises to add some real fun, because I’ve been getting a tantalising taste of medieval Christmas entertainments.

Contrary to the common belief that life in the Middle Ages was all drabness and drudgery, medieval people really knew how to enjoy themselves, and they actually had more time off than we do today. The Catholic calendar ensured the year was punctuated by saints’ days and religious holidays that everyone was expected to observe and celebrate, and the two most important of these were Easter and Christmas. In today’s mad world, following the long commercialised build-up to Christmas we scrape by with just a few days or a week off if we’re lucky, but back then everyone got a real chance to kick back and unwind. Even if you were a peasant living under the thumb of your lord, the lack of agricultural activity at this time of year meant you were granted a whole fortnight of downtime, from Christmas Eve until the feast of Epiphany on 6th January. And although religious observation was central to medieval life, so was fun, frolics and feasting.

Just as it is today, the most important part of the entertainments was the Christmas feast, but for medieval people the main meal would have been particularly appreciated. Whereas today’s season of Advent usually involves indulgence in mince pies, chocolate calendars and a series of get-togethers and parties, during the Middle Ages the period running up to Christmas was a time for the complete opposite – fasting, abstinence and repentence in preparation for God’s coming, or in Latin, his Adventus. So by the time Christmas Day arrived people would have been ready for a hearty meal and a good knees-up.

Of course, the traditional turkey dinner was a long way in the future, but the manors and castles around the land rang to the sounds of jollity and music while an elaborate procession of food was brought into the bedecked great hall with its cheering fire, headed up by a showpiece of a traditional decorated boar’s head on a platter. The extensive menu might include vegetable soups or stews, an array of poultry dishes and beef, game or fish, together with accompanying richly flavoured sauces made with wine, spices and herbs and thickened with breadcrumbs. Another popular dish was the Chistmas, or ‘shredded pie’, containing different types of leftover meat minced and cooked with suet, spices and fruit, all arranged in layers and baked in a pastry case. The pie was usually topped with an oval lid to represent the crib with a little pastry baby Jesus placed on top, and this full-sized high-status dish was the ancestor of our mince pies. Also on offer would have been plenty of cheese, bread and nuts, while the sweet treats included fruit custards, various pastries and exotic fruits such as oranges, figs and dates, all washed down with generous helpings of wine, mead and ale. The culinary delights even continued between courses, when a selection of decorated nibbles glazed with sugar and honey, called entremets, were brought out for the diners’ delectation.

But it wasn’t just the upper crust who dined in style at Christmas. The lord’s tenants owed him bread, hens and ale, but in return he was obliged to give them Christmas dinner – as long as they brought their own trencher, napkin and some fuel for the fire. Still, I can’t imagine there were many that turned down the opportunity to dine at the castle and get a taste of how the other half lived…

Making merry at the feast…

But Christmas in the Middle Ages was about much more than Catholic masses and a posh meal. With much emphasis on recreation and merriment over the festive period, there were all kinds of entertainments on offer. The big feast was followed by more drinking, singing of songs and carols with dancing to the music of pipes, lutes, flutes and drums. Professional minstrels and acrobats would perform tricks and tell witty tales in verse, while puppet shows were staged and folktales were told, embellished from year to year to thrill the eager audiences. The appetite for midwinter revelry was so great that sometimes it was feared things would get out of hand. Often the lord would appoint a special watch force to keep an eye on the Christmas celebrations in case rioting broke out.

Musicians played while the revellers sang and danced…

And then, of course, there were the games. Sports featured prominently in the festivities, with competitions of archery and wrestling, and ball games such as medieval football. This took the form of a rowdy contest in which two teams of unlimited numbers, sometimes from neighbouring villages, each attempted to move a ball to an agreed destination. But with huge teams and few, if any rules, participants often sustained injuries, and some even died during the chaotic matches. On the coldest days, frozen lakes would become a playground for the adventurous, who would strap animal bones to their feet and, clutching a pole for propulsion, enjoy an exhilarating skate on the ice.

Festive sporting competitions included wrestling, sometimes even, it seems on piggyback!

In other pursuits, Christmas was a time when you could get away with a bit of gambling, and a favourite activity was to have a little flutter playing at dice or cards. There were board games such as Chess, Backgammon and Nine Mens Morris, and if you didn’t mind a bit of lively horseplay or personal injury, there were several other parlour games to be enjoyed. In Hoodman Blind, an early version of Blind Man’s Buff, one person was blindfolded with his own reversed hood before being struck and pushed around by the other players until he managed to catch someone else, who then took his place. Another, more barmy game called Snap-dragon involved a large amount of dried fruit floating in a bowl full of brandy. So far so good, but the brandy was then set alight, and the contestants had to snatch a piece of fruit from the flames and eat it as quickly as possible, resulting in lots of burnt fingers and mouths. Not sure that one will make it into the canon of Templeton Christmas traditions…

Towns and cities might play host to seasonal pageants, in which a procession of wagons would carry folk dressed as characters from the Christmas story, while troupes of masked pantomime artists, sometimes numbering over a hundred, roamed through the streets accompanied by bands of musicians. These ‘mummers’, elaborately dressed as knights and lords or cavorting around in animal masks would enter people’s homes to entertain the occupants, dancing or playing dice for which they would receive payment in food and drink. Short plays could also be perfomed, often featuring scenes from famous legends such as St George and the Dragon, with recurring characters of a fool and a man dressed as a woman.

The merriment would continue until Twelfth Night, an important date in the medieval calendar that marked the end of the Christmas holiday. Steeped in superstition and custom, this was another occasion for feasting and frolics, but also for looking ahead to the coming year and the all-important growing season. This was a time for wassailing, when a group of revellers would go to the orchards with a bowl full of a warm spiced alcoholic drink, singing and banging pots and pans as they went, with the intention of warding off any bad spirits and pleasing the good ones in the hope of a bountiful harvest in the year to come.

At this time, normal rules did not apply. A tradition derived from the Roman pagan festival of Saturnalia, the midwinter revels saw the social order turned on its head. For this brief interlude, the lords became the servants and the lower orders took over. A Twelfth Night cake was baked, with a bean concealed in one half for the men and a pea in the other for the women. The man who found the bean in his slice – assuming he didn’t choke on it first – became the king of the bean, while the woman took on the role of queen of the pea. The honoured couple then ruled over the proceedings for the night, lording it over everyone who had to follow their example, whatever they did at the table. The game doubtless made for a thoroughly raucous party for the last day of the festive fortnight. What a way to end Christmas…

So what can I take from these medieval entertainments into my own family Christmas? Well, I can certainly foresee a new tradition of an annual archery contest, and I’ve remembered I have a gaming set of Nine Mens Morris tucked away in my wardrobe, so that will be brought out for a go at a medieval board game. It’d be fun to learn a carolling dance, and during the long nights, when there’s nothing worth watching on the telly, I might well dust off my copy of the Legends of King Arthur and tell a good story – possibly even in verse – beside the fire.

When it comes to Christmas, medieval people certainly didn’t hold back, and health and safety clearly wasn’t much of a concern. But while games involving blazing booze and team violence are best left in the past, it’s clear that in these over-commercialised, work-obsessed times, in many ways we’re missing out on much of the fun and recreation that our medieval forebears enjoyed. So my Christmas wish for all my readers is: I hope you can switch off entirely, forget the everyday stresses of life and work, have fun and take as long a break from modernity as you can. Christmas past has a lot to offer…

… and I wish you all a joyous festive fortnight, and a New Year filled with health, wealth and happiness!

~Alli Templeton

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The Victorian Book of the Dead
The Rector’s Ghost: c. 1815
by chriswoodyard

Since the season of holiday decorating is upon us, let’s start the month of December with a tale of two church officials trying to enjoy a well-earned cup of cheer after decorating St. Peter’s Church in Dorchester.

THE RECTOR’S GHOST

In the ancient town of Dorchester, Dorset, one Christmastide (I cannot fix the exact date, but it was not earlier than 1814, and might probably have been the following year), a rumor arose that a ghost had appeared in the old church of St. Peter’s to the clerk and sexton. They were both dreadfully frightened, and the former, I think, insensible for a time. The spirit was said to be the Rev. Nathaniel Templeman, the late rector, who died in 1813.

The story reached the ears of the then rector, the Rev. Henry John Richman, a learned and intelligent man, genial and kindly (I have the pleasantest recollections of him). The action be took in this affair was attributed to his eccentricity, in which he certainly gave proofs in regard to some other matters. He had an invalid wife and sister-in-law, both very nervous; so, to avoid annoying them, he examined the clerk and sexton both together, and apart, at the house of my aunt. I was quite a child then, but can just remember the whispering and excitement, and the men being shut in with the rector. The particulars of the story I heard afterward.

It was the custom in Dorchester, on Christmas Eve, for the clerk and sexton to decorate the church, not in the artistic fashion of modern times, but with large bunches of holly and mistletoe stuck about indiscriminately. Afterwards they gave the church a good cleaning for Christmas Day. On this Christmas Eve, the clerk and the sexton, after locking the doors of the church in order to prevent the intrusion of curious persons, busied themselves, as usual in Christmas preparations until the winter day drew to a close, when they sat down, on a form in the north aisle, to rest from their labors.

Then it was, as they told Mr. Richman, that the temptation came upon them to take a glass of the Sacramental wine, which kept in the vestry. After obtaining wine, they became aware that someone was sitting between them on the form. There had been no sound of steps, and the figure passed neither, but seemed to grow upon the seat. They both recognized the later rector, or “Old Master,” as they called him: he had the old familiar look and dress. He turned with a stern countenance from one to the other shaking his head in his peculiar way, but did not speak. The sexton, Ambrose Hunt, was able to say the Lord’s Prayer; Clerk Hardy was utterly unable to utter a word, and shook with extreme terror. The spirit after a while rose, and retreated down the aisle, turning round occasionally with the same awful look. He seemed to melt or vanish over the family vault, where his body lay. I never heard any explanation, except a surmise that somebody concealed in the church, and dressed like the late rector, frightened the men, but the “somebody” was never discovered, and I believe the other good rector believed the men’s story.—

Lucia A. Stone.
Shute Haye, Walditch, Bridport, Eng.
Spiritual Scientist February 1878: p. 19

So many details turn this into an M.R. James story: “no sound of steps,” “turning round occasionally with the same awful look,” and melting into the family vault.

The Rev. Nathaniel Templeman, who died 12 June 1813 and was succeeded by his curate, Mr Richman, was Rector of St Peters for 32 years–no wonder he was called “Old Master.”

While I can’t find a Clerk Hardy in the online parish records, Ambrose Hunt and Thomas Hardy are listed as witnesses at a number of weddings conducted by Mr Richman. I wonder if there is any link to the novelist Thomas Hardy, who, with architect John Hicks, helped restore St Peters in 1856-7? Hardy’s father, also named Thomas, was a violinist in his village church choir and a stone mason. It would hardly be a stretch, since the novelist was fascinated by the supernatural, to find that his father had met the rector’s ghost. But perhaps the name was a common one in the area.

Thoughts on the Hardy genealogy in relation to this tale? Or of newer visitations from the Rector? Some modern lists of haunted sites say that he angrily comes back when theft or damage is threatened to St Peters. chriswoodyard8 AT gmail.com

Chris Woodyard is the author of The Victorian Book of the Dead, The Ghost Wore Black, The Headless Horror, The Face in the Window, and the 7-volume Haunted Ohio series. She is also the chronicler of the adventures of that amiable murderess Mrs Daffodil in A Spot of Bother: Four Macabre Tales. The books are available in paperback and for Kindle. Indexes and fact sheets for all of these books may be found by searching hauntedohiobooks.com. Join her on FB at Haunted Ohio by Chris Woodyard or The Victorian Book of the Dead. And visit her new blog at The Victorian Book of the Dead.

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A Self-Healing Day

A beautiful gift to yourself is a day of healing and nourishing just for you.

Human beings carry within themselves the seed of healing. Our choices affect us more than we realize, and it is because of this that we tend to place responsibility for our wellness in the hands of others. As beneficial as regular visits to a healer can be, we have the power to heal ourselves at will. When we dedicate a day to the pursuit of wellness, we can relax and renew ourselves in a nourishing and comfortable environment. A sincere desire to open ourselves to the highest realities of our physical and spiritual selves is the key to self-healing so that healing energy can flow into us unimpeded.

A self-healing day should address the vital needs of the self as a whole while directing healing energy where it is needed most. Solitude is an important part of the process as is the ability to take refuge in a space that is both beautiful and peaceful. Start your healing day by setting the intention that you are dedicating this time to healing yourself. Flowers, candlelight, incense, and music can guide our focus toward a more tranquil state. For a more intense session, try listening to music through headphones since tuning out can help you tune in. It is up to us to decide what we need to do to cultivate wellness in our lives. For some, it may be time spent in reflection. Others will turn to calming activities that help them remember their purpose, such as journal writing, being in nature, or studying. Our healing may even take a more direct form as we use color, sound, or crystals to balance and ground ourselves.

Ultimately, your wholesome intentions transform what might otherwise be a simple day of rest into a day of healing. Grant yourself permission to relax and savor the stillness. If you attune yourself to the calm around you, worldly distractions will be minimized and the unadulterated flow of your consciousness will reestablish itself in the forefront of your mind. The needs of the body, the heart, and the soul will then be revealed to you, empowering you to tap into the essential healing energy of the universe. The mechanism you use to channel this energy will be dependent on your shifting requirements, so each day of healing you enjoy will be unique. All will replenish you, however, allowing you to recreate yourself in a perfect image of health.

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Peace

We can learn to locate the seed of peace inside ourselves in order to have a reliable source of serenity.

In our noisy world, we often find ourselves longing for peace and searching to find it somewhere else. While it’s true that there are places we can visit where we can experience peace, such as sacred sites or buildings, we do not need to wait until we get to one of these places to feel at peace. Instead, we can learn to locate the seed of peace inside ourselves and cultivate it so that it grows into a reliable source of serenity that we can always access, no matter where we are.

We experience peace when we are in a state of mental calm and serenity. It might surprise you to notice how infrequently you allow yourself to be free from anxiety. Realizing this is the first step to inner peace. If you wait until all the details of your life are taken care of to allow yourself to experience peace, you will never feel peaceful because there is always something that your mind can grab onto to create anxiety. It is important to consciously set aside your worries and make time to cultivate inner peace.

Ideally, you could schedule time each day to meditate on peace and experience what it feels like to be calm and serene. It takes practice to learn how to let go of your worries, so give yourself some time. Inhale deeply, and feel your worries dissolve with every exhale. Remind yourself that soon enough you will be able to take care of everything you need to, but right now you are taking a break. As the clutter of your thoughts and concerns clear away, you will start to feel more serene. Allow yourself to move deeper into this state with each inhale. Realize that you have the power to free yourself from anxiety simply by deciding to do so. The more you practice feeling peaceful, the easier it will be for you to feel at peace.

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Scandinavian Christmas
~Ghost Hunting Theories

My father came to America from Norway in the 1920s. They changed their last name from Thorvaldsen to Day to be more “American.” But, my father kept his fond memories of the homeland and the traditions his father from Norway and mother from Sweden passed on. We had Scandinavian Christmas celebrations every year with a large Smorgasbord spread, live candles on the tree, and opening gifts on Christmas Eve night. To this day, the look of Christmas for me is purely Northern –

Some elements of Scandinavian Christmas decor include – Reindeer, snowflakes, nature objects like pine cones, birch bark, burlap, straw ornaments and paper woven ornaments, bare tree branches, fur, antlers, and evergreens.You might see symbols such as stars, snowflakes, Santa, goats, reindeer, and gnomes.

It is a very dark season for the Northern latitudes. Light colors, white, sunshine in windows, crystals and glass beads hung in windows to catch light, candles, fires are all part of the brightening of the holiday season.

We had all the traditional foods on our Smorgasbord including Yule Log, but one of my personal favorites was mom’s smoked salmon spread –

*1 lg can pink or red salmon (remove any bones)
8 oz cream cheese soft
2 tsp horseradish
2 tsp grated onion
2 tsp liquid smoke
2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp salt
optional: capers

*My favorite way to do this is to remove the liquid smoke and canned salmon in the recipe and use a package of smoked salmon.

Use mixer or food processor to mix. Shape it into a log and then roll it in some diced fresh dill. We served it with Flatbrod (Finn Crisp and other flatbreads can be found on the cracker aisle).

Smorgasbord
This variety of Scandinavian favorites makes a great mingling party and nibble fest.. As a child, we sometimes dared each other to eat things we never imagined like fish treated in lye. Modern Scandinavian cuisine is one of the most sought after palate pleasers in the world. Taking the exceedingly healthy elements of the northern diet and creating new presentations, Scandinavia has now become a sought after destination for gourmands.

Some of the items we had on our table –
pickled herring, Swedish meatballs with lingonberry sauce (for our friends who were not so adventurous), cheeses like jarlsburg and gjetsost, flat bread, pickles, beet salad, ham, dill sauce, smoked salmon, ginger cookies, glogg, saffron cake, and rice pudding.

If you have an Ikea near you, they have a fantastic Scandinavian market inside for the foods. Another source is Willy’s Products.

When I was growing up in Fairfax, Virginia, we five kids would hike into the woods surrounding our estate and argue over what tree would be our Christmas tree. We had clip-on candle holders on the limbs and used live candles that we really only lit on Smorgasbord (Christmas Eve) night. I’m surprised we survived it. Today, you can get electric ones with a beautiful effect.

Julbock
The Swedish Goat
The Norse God, Thor, had a flying chariot guided by two goats. Then, Christianity came along and the symbol of the Julbock became something dark for those who weren’t deserving of Christmas and representing the devil.

The symbol, usually made of straw, is still a Scandinavian precious familiar character.

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Finding Your Next Step in Life

It is when you are willing to listen to yourself and be fearless, that figuring out your next step becomes easy.

Our lives are made up of a complex network of pathways that we can use to move from one phase of life to the next. For some of us, our paths are wide, smooth, and clearly marked. Many people, however, find that they have a difficult time figuring out where they need to go next. Determining which “next step” will land you on the most direct route to fulfillment and the realization of your life purpose may not seem easy.

There are many ways to discover what the next step on your life path should be. If you are someone who seeks to satisfy your soul, it is vital that you make this inquiry. Often, your inner voice will counsel you that it’s time for a change, and it is very important to trust yourself because only you know what is best for you. Personal growth always results when you let yourself expand beyond the farthest borders of what your life has been so far. When figuring out what your next step will be, you may want to review your life experiences. The choices you’ve made and the dreams you’ve held onto can give you an idea of what you don’t want to do anymore and what you might like to do next. It is also a good idea to think about creative ways you can use your skills and satisfy your passions. Visualizing your perfect future and making a list of ways to manifest that future can help you choose a logical next step that’s in harmony with your desires. Meditation, journal writing, taking a class, and other creative activities may inspire you and provide insight regarding the next step in life that will bring you the most satisfaction.

It is when you are willing to listen to yourself and be fearless that figuring out your next step becomes easy. Beneath the fear and hesitation and uncertainty lies your inner knowing that always knows which step you need to take next. If you can allow the taking of your next step to be as easy as putting one foot in front of the next, you’ll notice that your next step is always the one that is right in front of you. All you have to do is put one foot forward and on the ground.

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Classic Holiday Film Celebrates Its 75th Anniversary
by Jenny Ashcraft

In 1946, It’s a Wonderful Life debuted in theaters across the country. This iconic family Christmas film was based on the short story and booklet The Greatest Gift. Initial tickets sales were disappointing, and reviews mixed. Though it received five Academy Award nominations, it did not win any Oscars. The film did not even come close to breaking even. Years later, the movie lapsed into the public domain, which allowed it to be broadcast without royalty fees. Television audiences rediscovered the film, and its popularity grew. It’s a Wonderful Life is now considered one of the greatest films of all time. It is No. 1 on the American Film Institute’s list of most inspirational movies. In 1990, the Library of Congress added it to the National Film Registry.

When author Philip Van Doren Stern began writing The Greatest Gift in 1939, he could have never dreamed that his story would one day become one of the most beloved holiday films of all time. Stern was a respected historian and best known for his books on the Civil War. This story was his first attempt at fiction. He finished the story, loosely based on the Charles Dickens novel, A Christmas Carol, in 1943. Unable to find a publisher, Stern printed 200 copies and sent them to friends as Christmas cards. One copy went to a producer at RKO Pictures, who then bought the motion picture rights. He showed the story to actor Cary Grant, who became interested in playing the lead role. Before anything concrete materialized, RKO sold the rights to director Frank Capra’s production company, Liberty Films, for $10,000. Capra adapted the story for the big screen.

Jimmy Stewart played the lead character, George Bailey. Initially, Stewart was hesitant to accept the part. He was still recovering from his traumatic experiences during the war and considered giving up acting altogether, seeing it as frivolous and unimportant. However, when Stewart read the script, he was touched and signed on to do the film. The plot centered on Bailey, a discouraged man who was contemplating suicide and wished he had never been born. Bailey then meets his guardian angel, who grants him his wish. Bailey soon realized that his absence left a gaping hole in the lives of his family and friends. The realization brought a renewed zest for life and joy in living.

The film debuted the first Christmas after WWII ended. The nation was in a celebratory mood, and though It’s a Wonderful Life ended on a joyful note, the film didn’t immediately resonate with audiences. “Our movie just got lost,” said Stewart. In 1974, the copyright for the movie lapsed, allowing television stations to broadcast it at no cost. A whole new generation discovered the film, and its popularity soared. More than 80,000 people purchased a videocassette copy of the movie in 1986. In 1987, that number nearly doubled. Watching the film became a Christmas tradition for many American families. Later in his life, Jimmy Stewart said that It’s a Wonderful Life was his favorite film.

Seventy-five years later, audiences continue to cherish It’s a Wonderful Life. Do your holiday plans include this Christmas classic? To see more newspaper clippings related to this iconic holiday movie, search Newspapers.com™ today.

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Things That Go Bump In The Night
~ Ivy SylvanVeil (ivysylvanveil@gmail.com)

From ghoulies and ghosties
And long-leggedy beasties
And things that go bump in the night,
Good Lord, deliver us!      Scottish Prayer

After reading, “The Rational Psychic” by Jack Rourke, I must admit that I lean quite a bit in that direction. What I mean by that is that with paranormal claims, I try to debunk them first. Is there a logical explanation? While I pick things up telepathically, I don’t assume that what I get is true to the specific location and situation. Sometimes what I get is “spot on”. One time I got the first and last names of seven Civil War Soldiers. After looking them up on the NPS Soldiers and Sailors database I found that 4 of the men were at the site, 2 may have been (only found men with the same last name and first initial), and one man was at a site nearby. I’m rarely that accurate; that investigation was an amazing experience.

To give you an idea of what this post is about I will relate a personal experience. I am in my 4th year at my apartment. Ever since I moved in, my refrigerator has made these strange noises every night. It doesn’t do it in the daytime, just a night. While I don’t know exactly why it happens, I never assumed that these noises were paranormal. However, sometimes people imagine that simple noises are just that. With all the TV shows and movies that promote negative paranormal experiences, this is understandable. After all, who would watch a show that just had a simple, non-threatening haunting as its basis?

There is a tendency for people to respond in what I call “zero to demon” style in identifying what is actually going on in their homes, places of business or historic location. They may actually have paranormal activity going on, but they immediately assume it is negative. The truth is that very few hauntings are actually negative. I’m not making less of their experiences – I just want everyone to calm down and find out exactly what is actually happening.

I would like to offer a few caveats. Please don’t go out and get a recorder, or ghost box, or a Ouija Board and try to communicate with the ghost yourself. Most paranormal investigators recommend that you don’t investigate your own home, because you are too emotionally involved. Many people look for support on Facebook. Please don’t do this – it can lead to your fears being increased. There are all sorts of people online, and not all of them are psychologically well balanced.

I recommend that you find a responsible, mature paranormal group that has experience investigating haunted sites. Ask for references the same as you would ask a plumber. If they want to charge you to “exorcise” your home, they aren’t the group to work with. As one person put it, only people can be exorcised, not places. And…most teams don’t charge. They see it as a service for people in challenging situations. They also never reveal information about you or your home.

So what can you do in the meantime? Try smudging your site with white sage. This is a common herb used by Native Americans and is available online or at your local metaphysical shop as smudge sticks. If you are particularly religious, you can also ask your priest or minister for a house blessing. When something happens, make sure that you make it very clear to “them” that this is your home now, and they have to leave. It is also very helpful if you keep a log of what’s going as a reference the team you elect to invite into your home.

Summing it all up remember:
” don’t overreact,
” investigating your own home is not advised,
” be suspicious of anyone who wants to charge for their services,
” resist the temptation to seek help on Facebook, and finally,
” find a responsible, mature team that can help you understand what’s going on, and teach you how to deal with it.

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Three Breathing Exercises And Techniques
Breathing Exercises: Three To Try | 4-7-8 Breath | Andrew Weil, M.D.

“Practicing a regular, mindful breathing exercise can be calming and energizing and can even help with stress-related health problems ranging from panic attacks to digestive disorders.”
Andrew Weil, M.D.

Since breathing is something we can control and regulate, it is a useful tool for achieving a relaxed and clear state of mind. I recommend three breathing exercises and techniques to help relax and reduce stress: The Stimulating Breath, The 4-7-8 Breathing Exercise (also called the Relaxing Breath), and Breath Counting. Try each of these breathing exercises and techniques and see how they affect your stress and anxiety levels.

Breathing Exercise 1:
The Stimulating Breath (also called the Bellows Breath)
The Stimulating Breath is adapted from yogic breathing techniques. Its aim is to raise vital energy and increase alertness.

Inhale and exhale rapidly through your nose, keeping your mouth closed but relaxed. Your breaths in and out should be equal in duration, but as short as possible. This is a noisy breathing exercise.
Try for three in-and-out breath cycles per second. This produces a quick movement of the diaphragm, suggesting a bellows. Breathe normally after each cycle.
Do not do for more than 15 seconds on your first try. Each time you practice the Stimulating Breath, you can increase your time by five seconds or so, until you reach a full minute.

If done properly, you may feel invigorated, comparable to the heightened awareness you feel after a good workout. You should feel the effort at the back of the neck, the diaphragm, the chest and the abdomen. Try this diaphragmatic breathing exercise the next time you need an energy boost and feel yourself reaching for a cup of coffee.

Breathing Exercise 2:
The 4-7-8 (or Relaxing Breath) Exercise
The 4-7-8 breathing exercise is utterly simple, takes almost no time, requires no equipment and can be done anywhere. Although you can do the exercise in any position, sit with your back straight while learning the exercise. Place the tip of your tongue against the ridge of tissue just behind your upper front teeth, and keep it there through the entire exercise. You will be exhaling through your mouth around your tongue; try pursing your lips slightly if this seems awkward.

Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound.
Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a mental count of four.
Hold your breath for a count of seven.
Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound to a count of eight.
This is one breath. Now inhale again and repeat the cycle three more times for a total of four breaths.

Note that with this breathing technique, you always inhale quietly through your nose and exhale audibly through your mouth. The tip of your tongue stays in position the whole time. Exhalation takes twice as long as inhalation. The absolute time you spend on each phase is not important; the ratio of 4:7:8 is important. If you have trouble holding your breath, speed the exercise up but keep to the ratio of 4:7:8 for the three phases. With practice you can slow it all down and get used to inhaling and exhaling more and more deeply.

This breathing exercise is a natural tranquilizer for the nervous system. Unlike tranquilizing drugs, which are often effective when you first take them but then lose their power over time, this exercise is subtle when you first try it, but gains in power with repetition and practice. Do it at least twice a day. You cannot do it too frequently. Do not do more than four breaths at one time for the first month of practice. Later, if you wish, you can extend it to eight breaths. If you feel a little lightheaded when you first breathe this way, do not be concerned; it will pass.

Once you develop this technique by practicing it every day, it will be a very useful tool that you will always have with you. Use it whenever anything upsetting happens – before you react. Use it whenever you are aware of internal tension or stress. Use it to help you fall asleep. This exercise cannot be recommended too highly. Everyone can benefit from it.

Breathing Exercise 3:
Breath Counting
If you want to get a feel for this challenging work, try your hand at breath counting, a deceptively simple breathing technique much used in Zen practice.

Sit in a comfortable position with the spine straight and head inclined slightly forward. Gently close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. Then let the breath come naturally without trying to influence it. Ideally it will be quiet and slow, but depth and rhythm may vary.

To begin the exercise, count “one” to yourself as you exhale.
The next time you exhale, count “two,” and so on up to “five.”
Then begin a new cycle, counting “one” on the next exhalation.
Never count higher than “five,” and count only when you exhale. You will know your attention has wandered when you find yourself up to “eight,” “12,” even “19.”

Try to do 10 minutes of this form of meditation
Reviewed by Benjamin S. Gonzalez, M.D., May, 2016.

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Gilberto Rides Again Chapter32 by Stephen Halpert

As he drove home from the Houndstooth campus in Brookline, Gilberto had never felt better. He liked Headmaster Ed Long, a real decent guy who put academics on an equal par with athletics. He knew from Long’s enthusiasm that the job as soccer coach was his for the asking. He also knew that in the eventual event of Atlas sinking deeper in its financial mire, he could grow into the full-time position of Coach and Athletic Director.
Though his initial coach’s salary appeared considerably less than his opulent compensation from Atlas, the sale of his Atlas stock would balance things out nicely. He felt younger and looked forward to those great expectations just around the corner.
He turned on his FM radio was greeted by ominous lyrics from the Grateful Dead:” When life looks like easy street there’s danger at the door.”
“Not today,” he said aloud and switched to a top forty station.
Back at the condo, Maria greeted him expectantly.
“I’m in if I want to be,” he said, reaching for her and kissing her. “Starting just after Labor Day, two weeks before start of school. That gives me plenty of time.”
“That’s so wonderful,” her eyes shone. “Iced tea, your favorite. Lapsang.” She handed him a tall frosted glass.
“He grinned. “Wonderful. “Can you get a sitter? Supper at the Ritz tonight to celebrate.”
“I have supper on the stove. Fish stew with crab meat, lobster, shrimp and mussels. How about a rain check until tomorrow?”
“”Sure, whatever you say.” He felt younger and even boyish. The thought of getting out on the soccer field had awakened some long-lost enthusiasm.
Mona came into the kitchen. “Hi Daddy. Your friend Bill called you up.”
“”Bill?” no bells. “Bill who? Did he give a last name?”
“That’s what I asked him,” Mona said proudly. “He said he was Bill Valclava. and to tell you he’d see you in heaven.”
A chill ran through him. Maria frowned. “”When did he call?”
Mona looked at the kitchen clock. “Maybe an hour ago. He was a little hard to understand. He had a foreign accent.”
“And exactly what did he tell you to say?” Maria said.
Mona looked flustered. “What I said. He said to tell daddy he’d see him in heaven. That was all. Then he hung up.”
Gilberto shivered. He hugged Mona. “Thank you, Mona. You did good.”
Mona grinned and went back to her room.
Gilberto opened his phone and called Rain. He reiterated Mona’s message.
“I’m on it,” her voice crisp. Several minutes passed. His phone chimed. “Picking you up,” Rain said. “On my way.”
Maria frowned. “”You’re all, right?”
He nodded. “Darn tootin’.”
“I’ll reheat the fish stew when you get back. Anything you can you tell me?”
“Would if I could.” He shrugged. “Nothing to be concerned about. We’ve got Diana Rain looking out for us.”
Maria hugged him. “Please be careful. Still want me to make that reservation at the hotel?”
“Absolutely.”
She sighed. “I’ll be so glad when all this Atlas business is over.”
He hugged her. “We both will.” They kissed, and he left for the elevator.
Diana Rain was driving an innocuous black sedan. A dour faced younger male occupied the back seat. Beside him on a cushion was a laptop attached to recording equipment.
“Gilberto meet Jesse,” Rain said.
The younger man nodded but said nothing.
“Hope you don’t mind,” Rain said. “But we took the liberty of tapping your home phone. Looks like we hit pay dirt.”
He turned and glared at her. “You never told me.”
“We thought you wouldn’t mind. It’s for your own protection after all.”
“Still!” He huffed. “Where are we going?”
“Newton,” she said. “An address on Newtonville Avenue.”
Gilberto felt tension across his chest. He wanted to thrash the caller. What right did anyone have to invade the privacy of his home?”
Rain pulled off the Pike at the Newton Corner exit and proceeded to Newtonville Avenue. She parked Several blocks from their destination, turned and looked at the young agent. “Now’s your chance to win an Academic Award, Jesse. Get it all documented.”
He grinned, nodded, and hoisted a large TV camera. “Got it,” he smiled and handed two small mics to Rain and Gilberto. “Just clip them on. He put on his headphones and started turning dials.
“Someday I’d like to know more about you,” Gilberto said to Rain. “You seem secretive about who you are.”
Rain smiled. “Thanks for asking. Usually on the job I keep discussing my life to a minimum. But there’s nothing scurrilous or sinister. I’m just a country girl from New Hampshire, played Rugby and majored in political science at Colby. Soon after graduation I realized I wanted more than the traditional marital suburban lifestyle. I applied and was accepted into the foreign service.” She fell silent.
Gilberto wondered what exactly drove her.
They passed old Victorian homes that had been converted into condos, and stopped in front of a three-story white property. The front door was unlocked. Inside the foyer were a half dozen locked mailboxes above a long narrow wooden table cluttered by newspapers, magazines and junk mail.
Rain checked her phone and using an odd-looking key, unlocked the glass panel door. Inside she checked her coordinates again and indicated to Gilberto that they were taking the stairs to the second floor. She stopped at No 204`and knocked. There was no answer and no sound from inside.
Using her key again, she quietly unlocked the door. She and Gilberto entered a dimly lit hallway. To the right was an efficiency kitchen. Three glasses were in the sink close to the fridge. The burners of the stove needed cleaning.
Past the kitchen to the left was a living room. The windows needed cleaning; the shades were half drawn. Two shabby armchairs faced a ripped couch and a battered coffee table.
Gilberto wrinkled his nose at the odd smell. He looked at Rain. She shrugged and pointed to the hall.
They walked down it and looked into the bedroom. On the floor was a body lying in a pool of blood. “I recognize him,” Gilberto said. He felt his throat fill and he started to gag. He took several deep beaths and fought for control. “That’s the derelict I encountered near the Arlington Street Subway.” He pointed to the twisted blade that lay on the floor beside the body. “And that’s the knife he threatened me with.” The twisted bloody blade lay on the floor beside the corpse, his life’s blood pooling around his slashed neck.
To be continued

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Kitty Kat’s Korner

Want To Bond More With Your Cat? Do This. ~mypetcandy.com

Cats can be flighty animals, and winning their affection isn’t always easy. If you want to form a better connection with your pet, new research suggests you can bond with them by blinking slowly with them.

You’ve probably had a cat looking at you sleepily with those long, heavy blinks that almost make you want to yawn. Those blinks, however, may actually be a form of communication meant to form positive bonds with you.

If you’ve spent a lot of time with cats, you’re probably already very familiar with those special blinks cats tend to give, and it probably doesn’t surprise you that cats enjoy this kind of blinking. Cat owners have long been aware of this phenomenon, but very little research has ever been done on the blink and what it truly means from the cat’s perspective.

Cats like slow blinks
According to a study published in the journal Scientific Reports, that slow blink is a sign of trust and comfort. When you slow blink back, you are telling them that you trust and are comfortable around your pet. Researchers don’t believe that the blink means “I love you” or is a sign of affection, but simply a sign of trust.

In order to find out how cats reacted to humans slow blinking at them ranging from strangers to their owners, the researchers set up a trial to divide the two. In the trial, a group of 21 cats from 14 households were videotaped while they watched their owner slow blink with no one else in the room.

The process was repeated again with researchers in the room, but not doing anything. Finally, the process was repeated again with a different set of 24 cats, but this time the research was the one doing the slow blink vs a neutral expression. After each expression, the researchers would then extend a hand toward the cat.

The research found that slow blinking is an effective form of communication with cats. The cats were more likely to slow blink back if their owners did it first, and in the trials with the researchers (Who were strangers) a cat was more likely to approach the extended hand of a researcher who had slow blinked first.

More research is needed
Although this study clearly showed cats respond to slow blinking, it’s not yet clear why. One theory is that when a person is slow blinking, they’re not staring hard at the cat—something cats view as aggressive.

Regardless, if you want to bond more with your pet, or even make friends with someone else’s cat, you now have a new tool in your arsenal to do so. The researchers recommend that you try it out, and suggest narrowing your eyes like you would for a smile, before slowly blinking—and then watch to see if the cat copies you.

You may be able to start a sort of conversation with the cat, simply by how you close your eyes.

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Georgia Nicols Weekly Horoscope:
Sunday, December 19, 2021

The 2022 Annual Forecasts are available for pre-order. Annual Forecasts will be sent via e-mail on January 1st.

All Signs
This week tension between conservative Saturn and unconventional Uranus will create disputes about celebrating the holidays in a new and different way versus celebrating the holidays like you always have. Of course, the Fixed signs will resist. (Taurus, Leo, Scorpio and Aquarius.) “No cranberry sauce with the turkey?” Fixed signs like the illusion of permanence. Meanwhile, take precautions to avoid accidents all day on Christmas Eve. Be smart. Christmas day is much better. Festive times will shine! Ditto for Boxing Day. It’s obvious our year is ending. But I like what Richard Bach said: “Here is a test to find whether your mission on earth is finished- If you’re alive it isn’t.”

Aries (March 21-April 19)
For the next four weeks, the Sun is at the very top of your chart. This symbolizes that you are being thrust into the limelight; and furthermore, this light will be flattering to you! Therefore, people will notice you more than usual, especially bosses, parents, VIPs and the police. Fortunately, you will look attractive and capable to them, even if you don’t do anything special. (Chalk it up to smoke and mirrors.) Within an advantage like this, you can make great strides in getting what you want. Talk to authority figures. Ask for what you want. Get serious about your ambitions. If you don’t take care of your wants and needs, who will?

Taurus (April 20-May 20)
You’re entering an exciting four weeks ahead! If you’re lucky, you will travel somewhere because what you really want to do is expand your horizons. You want to experience stimulating adventure, in new places while you meet new faces. Preferably, the weather is fantastic. You really need to get away! If you can’t slip off to sunny climes, then do whatever you can to have tiny vacations on the weekends. In other words, do something stimulating so you feel you’re shaking things up a bit. You will love to learn something new, perhaps a new language? A cooking course? An introduction to being a sommelier? (I’ll drink to that.)

Gemini (May 21-June 20)
This is interesting. For the next four weeks, four planets will be in the part of your chart that will increase your passion and intensity about everything. Of course, you will feel more sexually passionate; however, you will be more passionate about every aspect of your life, as well! And those around you will notice! Meanwhile, fiery Mars is opposite your sign right now. This can happen only once every two years and when it does (for about six weeks), it’s easy for you to lose it because other people seem to be so annoying. Perhaps they are. Nevertheless, think about your own peace of mind. Think about your own happiness. Anger makes everyone miserable, including you. Lighten up!

Cancer (June 21-July 22)
This week the Sun, Mercury, Venus and Pluto are directly opposite your sign. This is an indication that you will be focused on partners, spouses and your closest friends, much more than usual. In fact, the Sun is going to be there for the next four weeks. Although this polarized position makes you focus on your partnerships more than usual, it also offers you a chance to improve these partnerships because you will have more objectivity. You will more easily see what you do and how you relate to others. Obviously, this gives you a chance to learn how to do things better. (It’s humbling when we see our foibles and how we can be part of the problem.)

Leo (July 23-Aug. 22)
For the next four weeks, you are seriously in work mode. Oh yeah, you’re pulling out all stops so that you can really be productive. You will accomplish a lot because first off, you’re going to get better organized. You’ll set high standards for yourself. While you’re on this kick, you will also want to improve your health as well. (Could be a challenging time of year to do this, especially with food and drink.) It all comes down to attitude, and right now your attitude is that you want to get as much done as possible, as efficiently as possible in a way that makes you feel a sense of accomplishment. You want to be proud of what you get done. (I’m impressed.)

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22)
Lucky you! Here we are, entering a holiday season and for your sign, four planets are urging you to party and socialize! You’re the big winner! Accept all invitations to party. Extend some invitations yourself. Enjoy the company of children in particular. You will also enjoy sports events and social diversions that are upbeat and fun. Your creative vibes will be hyped, which means you can do things that require creative talents. Admittedly, increased chaos and activity on the home front continues. Perhaps this is one reason you want to escape and enjoy fun times with others? (Sounds good to me.)

Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22)
Everything to do with home, family and your private world will be your primary focus in the next four weeks. This makes sense because you love pleasant surroundings and you like to fuss about your home making it look as attractive as possible. Meanwhile, this is a season where many of you will be entertaining more than usual and enjoying the company of family where you live. Therefore, in the next four weeks, tackle repairs, dabble in redecorating, enjoy entertaining family and friends, including fun discussions. Mars will make you forceful in all your interactions with others. Oh yeah – you mean business!

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21)
The pace of your days will accelerate in the next four weeks – no question. Suddenly, you’ve got things to do, places to go and people to see! Expect to make short trips, talk to neighbours, siblings and relatives and at the same time, to also enjoy your surroundings. You will realize how much love there is in your daily world. How reassuring this is! Likewise, the recognition of this will make your own words sweet when you talk to others. Meanwhile, your cash flow is active. You’re working hard to earn money and you’re working just as hard to spend it. Jupiter will ensure happy times with family. Enjoy your good fortune.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 21)
For various reasons (according to the different details of your lives), for the next four weeks, you will be focused more than usual on money, earnings and cash flow. One thing is certain, many of you will have bright, clever moneymaking ideas! This is not surprising because you like to think of ways to get rich. Many of you will also be spending money on beautiful things for yourself and loved ones. Fortunately, with Venus in your House of Earnings, you have the ability to attract money to you at this time. Sweet! Meanwhile, fiery Mars is in your sign making you feel pumped! Your high-energy will give you the ability to accomplish a lot. Look out, world!

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 19)
This week the Sun moves into your sign where it will stay for the next four weeks. This is major horseshoes for you! It can happen only once a year and that time has arrived! With the Sun is in your sign, it means you will have lots of energy to do what you want to do. Furthermore, it also means that you easily attract people and favourable situations to you. It’s also your chance to recharge your batteries for the rest of year. It’s an excellent blessing! In addition to this, you also have Mercury and Venus in your sign, which means you will be busy talking and schmoozing to everyone. This is a favourable time for you. Enjoy your good fortune and share your positive vibes with others.

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 18)
At this time of year, your personal year is coming to an end; however, your new year will not yet begin for at least a month. That means you are sort of in limbo for the next four weeks. By no means is this a waste of time. Au contraire! You can use this time to do some serious navel gazing, in addition to which, you can start to make plans and set goals for your new year ahead. After all, goals keep you on track. They give you focus. They make future decision-making easier, and they give you a sense of purpose. One thing is certain, we know that you will soon be boosting your earnings, or getting richer in some way. Keep that in mind while you’re defining future goals. Ka-ching!

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20)
As the Sun shifts signs this week, it ushers in a new four-week interval for you when you will be very popular! Suddenly, everyone wants to see your face. Expect to be involved with younger people more than usual as well as artistic, creative types. All of these contacts might help you because meanwhile, with Mars at the top of your chart, your ambition is aroused! Therefore, all these contacts can be very helpful to you in some way. Certainly, one possibility is that they might prompt you to make future goals or adjust your expectations for yourself in the future. You are one sign that is very affected by what you expect for yourself. This is why it’s important for you to dare to dream big!

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Weekly Horoscopes beginning Sunday, 19 December 2021

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:

Ordinally, you love meeting new people and exploring new ideas. However, you’ll often put off the next stage until you’re in control. However, the pace and intensity of events are drawing you into getting involved, and right away. Forget about those concerns. Plunge in. Once you do, you’ll be amazed how much fun you’re having dealing with even unfamiliar issues and, even more, discovering what’s on offer.

You want to do your bit for the community. A lot of the work involved in a group effort will rely on volunteers and charities. Something like a rethink is taking place about rules in an academic situation when it is thought that new procedures are stifling development. If you are single and feeling a little lonely, then a festive get together could provide you with a perfect opportunity to get back on the dating scene.

Who wouldn’t want the year to end with a flourish? Certainly not an Aries. With Venus appearing almost stuck in the sky for the better part of the week, you could ride a singular career wave. Make as many contacts as you can. Socially you should be at your most dynamic best and can push forward with plans for 2022. True, Venus is turning retrograde and yes, there will be many conversations that will require further attention in January but you can get the ball rolling now. The really good news is that with Mars continuing its move through Sagittarius, the sign associated with global interests and international connections, the potential for expanding your world is just so, so much increased. It’s not so hard to imagine that by Friday you will have broken free of certain bonds and restrictions.

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

Your horoscope for this week:

As an earth sign, you’re able to turn even unexpected twists and turns to everybody’s advantage. However, between the unsettling Taurus lunar eclipse, four weeks ago, and ongoing changes in once-stable circumstances, you’re uneasy. Tempting as it is to slow the pace of changes, think of times in the past when you were equally uneasy, but things turned out brilliantly. They will now, too. The secret? Patience.

Your skills are in demand and in meetings, tests and interviews you will shine. A senior colleague will give you some useful advice and you will look back on this time and be grateful for the part they played in putting you on a new career path. You might be feeling nervous about getting involved in a big social project. It may be possible to give your support from behind the scenes and this is where you will feel more comfortable.

On Friday, Saturn makes its final right angle aspect to Uranus, still passing through your sign. View this as a make-or-break moment. Note too, that as of this weekend, Venus begins a retrograde period that lasts for several weeks. Venus last made this move eight years ago: part of its natural pattern. It’s a rhythm which, during your lifetime, puts accent on acquiring expertise. Take time – especially mid-week, to consider the expertise you’ve accrued through 2021. This is likely considerable. It could also be marketed differently; and yes, there is the potential for forming a bond with someone from a very different culture to your own. They might not share your primary language. Fact is, that you are now ready to break ties that have been too restrictive. With Mars moving through fiery Sagittarius, you may also find that you have fractionally more energy than usual – most likely fuelled by this developing partnership.

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

Your horoscope for this week:

Although the actual Gemini Full Moon is on Sunday, the 19th, you’ve been wrestling with the intense feelings that are part of this cycle for days. This continues during the week. While you’ll enjoy the dramas, the resulting vulnerable mood could be unsettling. The secret? Acknowledge and discuss your ups and downs, especially regarding pivotal relationships. Even more, focus on truly appreciating what you already have.

Are you single? There is a surprise in store at the office Christmas party. A working relationship could come a step closer to being a friendship or even romance. This will be with someone who is on the same rung of the ladder and if you’re working closely together this will ease a lot of the pressure you had previously felt. An older relative’s honesty will put your mind at ease about a family matter that has been worrying you.

As with every other sign, you can achieve so much this week. You though, have the benefit of Mars moving through your opposite sign. Others will no doubt propel you to the front. They want to hear your thoughts. Recall that on Sunday, Venus turned retrograde. This is part of a recurrent eight-year pattern. During your lifetime, this theme that is all about making financial connection. It may be – and especially if you’ve taken on a role in the last few months, – that it is not yet offering you what you hoped for. It will likely take a few more months to develop or, most likely, bring you yet another job offer. This week is all about making vital connections. As the Node slips out of your sign and moves on into neighbouring Taurus, anticipate that it will be those born under that sign who have special role to play. It may be that they are developing new business interests and think that you are the very person to help them do so.

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

Your horoscope for this week:

Letting go of elements of the past when you’re unsure what’s next takes courage. However, as a Cancerian, your intuition is amazing. While you trust it, others demand proof. The secret? Distract doubters. Change the subject. This prevents you wasting time on pointless conversations. Better yet, you can finally declutter your life of familiar but restrictive activities and alliances, in preparation for those thrilling developments.

You will throw yourself into new commitments and you will get a lot of satisfaction from your hard-working efforts. If you are involved in any form of group project, a chance to meet new faces or visit places you’ve not been to before, could come your way through these activities. You’re worried about a relative who is living hand to mouth. If you feel there are benefits, they should be applying for, this might be the time to suggest they try.

You could feel as though you’re doing the last few steps toward the top of a mountain. Yes, that’s arguably true around this time of year every year, but this time there really does seem to be a difference. Think back to this time last year and how much things have changed. Your world has no doubt expanded. It will do so even more once Jupiter returns to Pisces (another of the Water signs) at the very end of the year. This week there’s so much information to take on board. Specifically, Taurus, Leo, Scorpio and Aquarius friends appear to be altering direction and need both your approval and support. Draining as this is at one level, you might also see that this opens up new opportunities. Central to any discussion, is likely to be the career direction of a close friend or partner. As Venus stations in your opposite sign, it may be that they’re toying with an offer they feel they really can’t refuse but would take you both into the unknown – so potentially unsettling you.

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

Your horoscope for this week:

It’s not that you’ve been putting off certain complex tasks, from tricky conversations or confusing commitments. The problem is you’ve been short of facts. Now you’ve been updated, but are still unsure what to do first. Allow your passionate Leo nature dominate; simply plunge in. Taking action this way won’t just boost your spirits, others will join in, which they’ll benefit from as much as you do.

Instead of getting into your usual routines you will be tempted to grasp an offer that appears to be far more exciting. Look before you leap. If you jump into a situation without looking you will discover there are hazards lurking in the background. A cautious approach would be better. Your life could never be boring when a certain someone is around. If you’re single, wake up to the fact there’s something more than friendship between you and another.

You could so, so, exercise your lion’s roar mid-week and demand that others recognise your need to move on. Fact is that post Sunday’s Full Moon, and after Venus reaches retrograde station – but before Saturn and Uranus reach their right angle on Friday, you could feel like a volcano ready to erupt. You need others to recognise that enough is enough. The curious thing about this is, that though you may be fuelled by anger and discontent, the lava that flows from this eruption could yet provide truly fertile land. With Jupiter moving out of your opposite sign before the end of the year, it is possible that those who have been pulling against you, will realise that it’s better to work with you. In short, although this could be super turbulent week, the outlook is not bleak.

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

Your horoscope for this week:

For ages you’ve been thinking about and, possibly, discussing life-changing decisions; but as a thorough Virgo, you’ve always felt certain facts were unreliable. While that’s true, further discussions will achieve nothing. You have reached the point where there’s only one possible next step, and that is to stop talking and take action. Plunge in. Once you do, you’ll wonder why you waited so long.

People who had promised to be at a meeting or interview might not turn up. This is doubly annoying in that they had information you needed to know. A colleague will help out when you find yourself in a dilemma and much to your surprise, they won’t expect anything in return. Your independent spirit comes to the fore. The more you do for yourself and the more you work on what you hope to achieve over the months ahead, the greater will be the respect that others show to you.

It’s said that Virgo hates chaos and muddle. Yet in order to show the methodical, organised and diligent side of your personality, you need there to be a task requiring your particular skills. It might even be said that you get some pleasure from reorganising, redistributing and generally rearranging and so attract messy situations. With Mars continuing its transit of the base of your solar chart a degree of agitation and yes, at times, irritation, could act as drivers. A strong possibility is that you’ll be left to clear up after Taurus, Leo, Scorpio or Aquarius colleagues who are only now taking action that you feel should have been taken at the very start of the year. Together though, this could yet bloom into a fabulous working partnership.

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

Your horoscope for this week:

Nobody is better at handling tricky individuals or defusing potentially troublesome matters diplomatically. However, the current planetary setup accents the need to face, define and discuss the issues in question, and to be frank about it. While, initially, this approach may run counter to your Libra nature, you’ll soon recognise how much you and, equally, others will benefit from saying exactly what’s on your mind.

Someone in the family has plans that could make it difficult to make ends meet in the future. You aren’t being unreasonable in asking them to revise their ideas. Be careful about what you say and who you say it too especially when out with friends. When you aren’t really thinking about what’s being said or who is listening, someone could catch you off guard while you’re indulging in gossip. It would be sensible too, not to listen to rumours.

Venus, your ruling planet, stationed on Sunday – and at the base of your solar chart. The last time it did this was in 2013. This is part of an eight-year cycle moving very slowly through the zodiac. Think of it as a ‘star’ point. In your lifetime, this sequence has been truly important as regards property matters and family affairs. There is much for you to think about and yes, some tough decisions to be made before Saturn and Uranus form their last right angle on Friday. Career wise there is much to be optimistic about: Mars is moving through Sagittarius, and international contacts will likely be centre stage. Don’t underestimate the power of your words. Indeed, there is the danger that you could talk yourself into trouble by Friday. Throughout 2021, many ideas have incubated. Realising these in 2022 would be satisfying. There’s high probability though, that you need to learn the fine art of delegation. Making a start on this before Friday would be wise.

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

Your horoscope for this week:

One of your greatest assets is your ability to handle both difficult individuals and potentially troublesome situations so deftly nobody realises there’s a problem. Now, however, not only must you acknowledge those issues, it’s vital they be discussed in detail. Initially you may dread this; but it’ll be like assembling puzzle pieces. Once everything’s clear, you’ll be as relieved, as you are thrilled, about the resulting insights.

An impulsive relative or housemate will take one too many financial risks. You aren’t surprised that this leaves them short of cash. Neither are you surprised when they turn to you for a loan. If this is becoming a habit, you might warn them this is the last time you are getting involved. A workmate will have some interesting suggestions on how to improve a work project but for now, you might prefer to leave things as they are.

No-one could ever accuse you of not being thoughtful! Yours is a sign known to review. Supersensitive as you are, you need to go back over conversations, scents and places. Memory matters. Now that Venus is retrograde, perhaps the time is right to review 2021. On Friday, Saturn and Uranus form the last of their right angles. You may remember that both have been in Fixed signs like your own, and quite probably, pulling you in different directions. Now may be crunch time. Before moving forward (which is, after all, the only option), it’s necessary to review where you’ve been and the adequacy of your support system. This should be a useful- but yes, a learning experience. Loyalties may be tested in the process. Before Friday, you could come to a major decision: one that leaves you exhausted by the process, but also excited about what is to come.

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

Your horoscope for this week:

The powerful Sagittarius eclipsed New Moon on 4 December triggered changes, some as far-reaching as they were unexpected. Understandably, you’re still rethinking your options. Being a fire sign, you prefer to devise a plan, then plunge in. However, you’re urged to take things in stages. First, focus on exploration. Lasting decisions? They’ll be shaped by what you learn now, and will be finalised early next year.

Avoid discussing anything to do with religion, spirituality, politics or money if you want an easy life. You will want gatherings to be harmonious. Someone will take a festive get together as an opportunity to push their views onto others and such subjects will only lead to arguments. It will be demands, distractions or a lack of concentration that prevents you from getting on with some important personal business. Even so this must be done. See to it in the weekend.

Mars continues its journey through your sign and you should feel energised. Like coming to the end of a race, you could be exhilarated and thrilled by Friday. The timing in a sense couldn’t be better ahead of end of year festivities. Yet with Venus stationed, and apparently moving so very slowly in neighbouring Capricorn, you might also be aware that you need to take time, take stock and be in the present where possible. An adventure may not be so far from your mind, but this time, rather than spur of the moment, require considerable planning. All this could be career-linked. As you probably know, yours is a sign associated with knowledge-seeking. Many Sagittarius are also gifted teachers. Passing on information could now be high priority. It might also be that with a close colleague career now moving in altered direction that there will be a fresh opening for you, but require, like that adventure, considerable planning.

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

Your horoscope for this week:

Once you understand that you’re in a period of breakthroughs, many as exciting as they are unexpected, you’ll temporarily forget about careful analysis and simply plunge in. This isn’t just wise, changes are moving swiftly and far-reaching, so your only option is to learn from, and base decisions on, each day’s events. Be aware that each stage could change everything, but for the better.

A friend will let you down badly. Their excuses are at odds with other facts you happen to be aware of even though they don’t know this. Now you are fully aware of the situation and of the part they are playing in this, you will deal with the problem so it never occurs again. You’ve always taken a serious approach to work, family life and relationships. A new partnership will be built on a joint belief of sharing responsibilities as well as the good things in life.

On Sunday, Venus stationed in your sign. The last time it did this was in 2013. This is part of an eight-year pattern with the degrees involved slowly changing over the years. All eyes will likely be on you and who you are willing to work with. Remember, Venus is one of the partnering planets. Since Pluto entered your sign over a decade ago you have gained considerable experience through power challenge and acceptance of responsibility. Though it might not have always been easy to work with Taurus and Libra (both signs ruled by Venus), you might also see that there are gains to be made by working – at least in cooperation, if not in partnership. All this likely needs to be addressed before Friday. Indeed, it may be imperative to do so, so that you can take advantage of a golden opportunity that should come by the end of January.

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

Your horoscope for this week:

True, your recent efforts to discuss or deal with certain tricky matters didn’t go well. However, things are better and so is the mood of those whose support you’ll need. The trick? Ask for their views on the situation and ideas regarding what’s next. They’re likely to repeat your suggestions, but believe they’ve come up with them. Obviously, you’ll say nothing, but smile quietly to yourself.

It may not be as easy as you had hoped, to sort out a financial problem. This may involve delving through drawers, cupboards and filing cabinets to try to find past receipts and invoices. Travel plans are thwarted when a trip you had been hoping to take will be fully booked. You might wish you made the booking earlier while you had the opportunity but other similar offers will come your way.

On Friday, and for the last time in 2021 your two ruling planets, Saturn and Uranus, appear at right angle to one another. No doubt throughout the year you’ve been pulled this way and that: torn between the past and the future. A decision has to be made. With Venus having stationed on Sunday, it should be easier to come to that conclusion. It might even be responsibility made for you by a Venus-ruled colleague (Taurus or Libra). Decisions they take could open up a whole world for you. Travel – or at least contact with those who live and work far away is probable. It’s often thought that Aquarius’ default position is to do things differently. The conclusions and decisions you arrive at by Friday will likely shake a few people when it becomes clear that you intend to move off in new career direction.

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

Your horoscope for this week:

Of the twelve signs, you’re the most intuitive; but ironically, you don’t always trust those feelings. Now, however, they’ll not just powerful, they’ll lead to solutions for increasingly complex issues involving the delicate egos of certain individuals and future plans. The secret? Ask for their advice, however, follow what your instincts say to do. Then, once the dust has settled, thank them for their valuable insights.

In work and social activities, keep to the side-lines. Colleagues and others involved in a group project will be determined to do things their way. Any suggestions you have about trying a different approach will lead to arguments. If you can’t get a job, you are working on to go right for you, it will be important to keep working at it. Have patience and don’t give up. You will succeed in the end. A close friend is thinking about going back to work after having been without a job for some time.

Mars, the energizer moves over the top of your solar chart. You’d expect this time of year to be super busy given the festivities: but Mars isn’t always in this position at this time. Neither is Venus always retrograde. There is every likelihood that those around you are altering directions and that you, – as sensitive as you are – are picking up on their concerns. Note too, that on Friday, and for the last time in 2021, Saturn and Uranus form a right angle. This is likely to be a decision-making week for many people and that you will experience tension as a result. Solace to this could be clearing a desk or cupboard: the tidying up process proving therapeutic!
~Celestial Prognostication

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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
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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

10.Introduction to Energy Healing

11.Introduction to Paganism

12.Introduction to Meditation

13.Introduction to The Goddess Tradition and The Feminine Divine

14.Kuan Yins Gentle Embrace Reiki Certification

15.A Year and a Day of Contemplation with Kuan Yin

16.Tarot, Numerology, Natal Charts and Dream Readings

17.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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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

Have a safe and happy holiday!

Never forget…you are magick!???

Goddess Bless!
GrannyMoon

http://GoddessSchool.com
https://twitter.com/GrannyMooninVA
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By GrannyMoon Posted in Pagan

GrannyMoons Weekly Feast: 12 Dec 2021

Artist Unknown to Me

Who said that life had to be serious?
Imagine, Play, Sing, Turn Cartwheels, Be Unstoppable, Dance Wildly With Life. ~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

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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Receive Your Own Personal 2022 Forecast
From GrannyMoon!

A guide to help you understand the opportunities and issues you may face in the coming year!

Relationships
Health
Career
And More
For Just A 10.00 Donation on PayPal!

Please send your date of birth and I will get your
reading to you within 24 – 48 hours!
GrannyMoonsMail@yahoo.com

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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 This Month

Celtic Month of Elder – November 24th to December 23rd
Goddess Month of Astraea – November 28- December 25

December

Herb of the Year for 2021: Parsley (Petroselinum crispum)
Flower of the Month for December: Poinsettia
December is National Egg Nog Month. Fruit Cake Month, too

Week 1. National Cookie Cutter Week
December 6: Hanukkah, the Jewish Festival of Lights, ends this evening
December 8: National Chocolate Brownie Day. (It’s true: Chocolate really is an herb!)
December 12: Gingerbread House Day Thanks to the Brother Grimm and Hansel and Gretel!

Week 2. Christmas Bird Count Week
December 17: National Maple Syrup Day
December 18: On this day in 1843, Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol was published
December 18: Full Moon in Gemini!

Week 3. Christmas and Kwanza Week
December 21: Winter Solstice: Celebrating the Shortest Day of the Year
December 24: National Egg Nog Day—just in time for Christmas Eve
December 25: At last, Christmas! Have a merry (and healthy!) holiday
December 26: Kwanza

Week 4. A New Year Begins
December 31: New Year’s Eve

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Sunday Classes with GrannyMoon at Sticks and Stones, Fairfax, VA

December
Face to Face Class: Noon–2:00 ~ The Magick of Crystals – Dec 19

January 2022

Face to Face Class: 1 PM – 3 PM ~ WitchCrafting – Jan 2

Face to Face Class: 1 PM – 3 PM ~ The Herb Cauldron – Jan 9

Face to Face Class: Noon – 2:00 PM ~ The Magick of Crystals – Jan 16

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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:
h
ttp://goddessschool.com/Paganstudies/index.html
http://www.goddessschool.com/courses/natural/naturalwitch.html
http://goddessschool.com/Paganstudies/healingarts.html

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Hands-On 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 too!

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!
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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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Seasons of the Witch
Yule Oracle
Stars

Follow the stars, for they know best,
not too light, not too dark,
a shimmer of what comes next.

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Stacy Adams
coventrycreations.com.

December 13, 2021 – December 19, 2021

The second full week of December, the cosmic energies slow down – just a little bit. However, be on guard this weekend because Venus turns retrograde (see above). Otherwise, we have two sign changes, a Full Moon in Gemini, and a beautiful Sun sextile Jupiter aspect this weekend.

Mars in Sagittarius urges you to look at the areas of your life where you feel hindered or encumbered and asks you to break free so that you can once again be inspired by life. This is an excellent time to do all you can do to live your best life. Focus on what you can do to create a better tomorrow and leave the past behind.

A few hours later, Mercury moves into Capricorn. Mercury in Capricorn needs to see results. So, Mercury moving into Capricorn is excellent energy to help make the right decisions with Mars in Sagittarius. Mercury in Capricorn urges you to take the lessons from the past and use this knowledge to make better decisions about the future. The only requirement is to proceed slowly and think things out.

During the middle of the week, the Moon moves through earthy Taurus. So, it’s time to take a couple of days and enjoy the pleasures of life. Do something just for you that will help you rest and relax. Also, it’s the time of the month to indulge a little, so enjoy something spectacularly decadent.

This weekend we have a Full Moon in Gemini (see above) and Venus turning retrograde in Capricorn (see above), but a lovely aspect (sextile) between the Sun and Jupiter may steal the show. Sunday is one of the most positive days of the year, and you should take advantage of it. It’s time to put the follies of the past year in the rearview mirror and think positively about the future. Also, it’s an excellent day to plan out your New Years’ goals and intentions.

Recommend Candles: Mars (AstroMagic), Venus (AstroMagic), and Full Moon.
Here’s what you missed on CoventryCreations.com this week…

Check out our new Holiday Catalog!

That insightful, witchy, or spiritually mindful person in your life deserves more than just a crummy gift card. Give them a magical gift from Coventry Creations.

Look beyond the here and now to where and who you want to be!

Astro Magic December 2021
The good news about December is that at least it’s not November, which was the most troubling month of the year. However, December does have its own set of challenges – a solar eclipse in Sagittarius, the final showdown between Saturn and Uranus, and Venus retrograde in Capricorn.

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Winter Is Coming…
By Ivy SylvanVeil ivysylvanveil@gmail.com

Winter is coming…
Snow showers are forecast for today.
Snow’s blessing is to muffle the cacophony of sounds
of this modern world, causing us to focus within.

Winter is coming…
Cold winds pick up whatever leaves remain
Swirl and scatter them about, creating a fertile layer to
Feed next year’s grass and trees.

Winter is coming…,
In the city, men and women without homes and
Only a blanket for warmth, huddle overheating grates
As passersby divert their gaze.
Some will not make it through the night.

Winter is coming…
Ski trips to the mountains and hot drinks by the fire
Divert the attention of those who can afford it.
Old men and women alone in their homes
Long for some company.

Winter is coming…
How will you spend it?
As snow muffles the cry of those in need!

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World Peace Card Meditations
Wednesday, December 15, 2021 – 7:30pm
(based on local time in your time zone)

You are invited to take part in the next World Peace Card Meditation. Please mark your calendar and forward this email to all your friends.

Thanks for Your Help!

Because so many of you forwarded this email to your friends, there have been nearly 412,040 downloads of the World Peace Cards. This is a tremendous increase in the number of people using the cards. So far the total number of World Peace Card sets downloaded, received from our free offer and from our magazine has been over 455,240! I hope you have been using your peace cards as their use brings blessings to the world as well as to you.

The next World Peace Card group meditation have been scheduled for Wednesday, December 15 at 7:30pm. This is local time in your time zone. This method has been chosen because of the special effect it produces. As people meditate in each successive time zone the energy builds like a wave which gets stronger and stronger as it circles the planet. Because of the higher dimensional nature of consciousness, the energy of peace will be transmitted for a full 24 hours and continue long after this.

Reports from those who took part in the previous meditations indicate many had powerful spiritual experiences. As they united with those taking part in the meditation a feeling of peace developed within that stayed with each for a long time. Some saw beautiful golden light surrounding the planet and others felt that a web of fear was dissipating and being replaced with trust in others and for our future. All those who have received the cards are being asked to meditate on world peace at this time. By taking part in this group meditation, you’ll be joining thousands of people who will be using the cards to bring peace to the world.

By joining together, the effect we have will be greatly multiplied. This powerful experience and will help shift the vibration of our wonderful planet into a higher state of consciousness. As you use the cards to meditate on world peace, you will be a beacon through which peace will spread around the planet which will have a positive uplifting effect on all people. Please set aside this time to meditate with the cards. The suggested meditation period is 15 minutes, but of course, you can meditate longer if you’d like to.

The technique I’d like you to use is based on allowing yourself to be a beacon of peace. The World Peace Cards hold the vibration of the World Peace Grids which have been placed at spiritually significant locations and are relay stations for higher consciousness. By simply opening to their energy, you’ll become a channel for their love and peace which will flow through you to all the people on Earth. To do this, hold the cards in your hands or place them in front of you. Then simply meditate on peace. We are entering a new era. Our entire planet including all the people and living things are moving into a place where it will be much easier to solve our problems and to create peace, prosperity and happiness for everyone.

The World Peace Card meditation will quicken this process, making it easier for people to experience this new quality of higher consciousness and will provide great benefit for all people. Since this benefit will be flowing through you out to everyone on the planet, you’ll be blessed by this experience as well. Many have received the cards in the mail or in the Reiki News Magazine while others have downloaded them from our website. If you would like additional copies of the cards, please download them using this link and print as many copies as you can use. Please feel free to give them to your friends. Also, forward this email to anyone you feel would like to take part in the meditation.

World Peace Card Download
Additional World Peace Cards

Note: This is a larger file and it may take several
minutes for it to open, so please be patient.

When printing the cards from this file, print page 2 first, then place this page in your printer and print the image of the peace grids on the back.

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Llewellyn’s Spell A Day

Crafting Faery Beds
DECEMBER 12, 2021 BY ESTHA MCNEVIN

Using recycled materials to craft small beds for the faeries is a fun way to celebrate the Pagan Yuletide and talk about sustainability, recycling, and how to manifest our hopes and dreams for the future in a world where climate change is part of the daily dialogue. Collect milk or juice boxes, soup cans, egg cartons, and other recycled cups or lids that are small enough for a faery to take a nap in. Sculpt and decorate each bed to your liking.

Stuff muslin sachet bags with lavender and dreamtime herbs like chamomile. Craft some cozy blankets by cutting up old shirts and socks. Hang these on a faery altar or keep them around the home to help promote good dreams. Decorate with images of your dreams and aspirations in life, and ask the faeries to dream a little dream of you!
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Empower Yourself
DECEMBER 11, 2021 BY SAPPHIRE MOONBEAM

Words have power. You can utilize the power of positive, encouraging words every day. Write words on small pieces of paper and place them in spots around your house where you will notice them. Put the notes on your bathroom mirror, near your desk, and near the doorway. Create notes for yourself that say things like this:

Believe.
Keep going.
I am strong.
I am creative.
I am beautiful.
I am successful.

Create the messages as if you were cheering on your best friend, but extend this love and encouragement to yourself. Using these affirmations daily will help you with strength and empowerment. These magical reminders can assist you in times when you may be struggling and working on overcoming obstacles.

You can do this, you will overcome, you are strong, you will thrive. Believe it.
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The Stones of Grounding
DECEMBER 10, 2021 BY STORM FAERYWOLF

Go for a walk in some natural place with the intention of experiencing the earth element, which is associated with structure, stability, and manifestation. It can even be a city park.

On your walk, be aware of any stones, collecting five and bringing them home. Once there, set four of them on the floor in a square, which you will sit inside. Place the other near your root chakra.

Ground and center. Imagine that the life force within the stones is like a green light that dimly shines. As you breathe, imagine these lights slowly reaching out to you in streams of energy that converge in your root and the fifth stone. Say:

Strength of stone
Within my bones.

Put some sea salt on your tongue. Meditate on how you are an extension of the planet. Hold the stones whenever you feel unfocused or in need of grounding.
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Modern Medicine Versus Ancient Alternatives
DECEMBER 09, 2021 BY EMYME

There are times when magical intentions, positive energy, crystals, oils, acupressure, and acupuncture work wonders. Then there are times when only science and medicine will do. Four years ago, I, like countless others before me, faced one of those situations. After several years of pain and trying numerous cures, all of which proved temporary, I had hip replacement surgery. The event was scary but necessary, and it changed my life. My beliefs comforted me during the operation and recovery, and actually brought me closer to my chosen spirit guides. Since that time, I have utilized crystals to keep discomfort at bay and promote continued healing. For anyone struggling with a medical decision, perhaps this verse will help:

Let the healing powers of ancient
cures aid my recovery from
modern medical processes.
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To Keep Away Winter Illness
DECEMBER 08, 2021 BY THORN MOONEY

As the autumn holidays come to an end and winter sets in, many of us find ourselves constantly on the verge of sickness. Aside from all of those mundane things we should all be doing to stay healthy (washing hands, getting a flu shot, staying home when we’re sick), try this spell to help keep the winter bugs at bay.

Draw a picture of yourself healthy and happy. Don’t worry—it doesn’t have to be recognizable to anyone else! Just as long as you know it’s you. Place it on your altar. With a green or yellow highlighter, draw a circle around yourself in the picture, creating a barrier that shields you from seasonal illness. Say:

I am comfortable, energized, and
free from disease. So mote it be.

Then be sure to drink plenty of fluids and wash your hands routinely!
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Mistletoe Spell for Protection and Sweet Dreams
DECEMBER 07, 2021 BY MICHAEL FURIE

Tis the season for mistletoe, so this should be relatively easy to obtain. It is a most magical herb that, when hung on the headboard of a bed, has the ability to protect the sleeper not only from danger but from nightmares as well.

To empower the mistletoe with your intention, hold it in both hands and envision it surrounded by pure white light. When you feel the power is at its strongest, say:

Golden bough of magic might,
Grant me this wish to bear.
Protect from harm every night.
Let each sleeper be free of fear.

Hang the mistletoe on the headboard (behind it is fine) of the bed. One of these charms can be made for each bed in your home.
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Power Nap Spell
DECEMBER 06, 2021 BY EMBER GRANT

For those days when you need to take a quick power nap, use this spell to enhance your slumber and wake up revived and ready to face the rest of your day or night.

Wrap a peppermint leaf (fresh or dried), a piece of sodalite, and a drop or two of lavender essential oil in a bundle and place it in your pillowcase. Chant these words as you visualize the perfect power nap:

For this moment I seize
to catch a few z’s,
Make the most of this time
to relax and unwind.
My rest will be blessed,
so I wake up refreshed.

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Heartwings Love Notes 1012 Tis the Season

Heartwings says, “The Joys of the season fill all hearts with light.

I’d know it was the season without a word from anyone by the enormous quantity of catalogs that have been arriving in the mail. Or if not by the catalogs, by the appeals for donation that have proliferated, both in the mail and in my email. Perhaps it might be called “the season of giving.” Gifts, given and received seem to be the theme these days of the season between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day.

I have done research on the origins of the season for my writing, and I believe it was the Roman tradition, or perhaps a Celtic one where people used to tie gifts to the branches of a tree as part of the seasonal celebration. The bringing of a tree into the home evolved from the desire to have greenery from evergreens in the home, thus invoking good luck and the blessings of nature spirits. So many of our traditions stem from pagan times, yet it is the spirit of the celebration that makes it important and meaningful, not the source or the cause.

Different cultures have evolved their own ways to honor the season of light and giving. Families, too, embrace different ceremonies and traditions that bring them together to join hands and hearts. I was asked which tradition was my favorite. I thought a moment and the image of Christmas stockings came to mind. Yes, how special it was for me when I was able to participate in the giving of stocking presents. Small and useful items were the rule in my family, and often little jokey inscriptions were written on the wrappings. What fun it was to shop in the “dime” store for cold cream, pencils, and other little gifts for my parents’ stockings.

We didn’t have fancy Christmas stockings; we used what we had. I remember my father owned some tall, grey argyle golf stockings we made use of, and old nylons that had runs served that purpose too. Santa never gave the gifts beneath the tree. Those were opened on Christmas eve after some tasty food and the singing of carols. My mother had brought candleholders from Germany, that clipped to the branches of the tree. A bucket with water and a mop were kept nearby in case of fire but never had to be used. How lovely the lit white candles looked as we sang, my mother, playing her violin to guide us.

Christmas paper was saved from year to year. The use of tape was strictly forbidden, ribbon was tied around the packages and that too was saved, carefully wound up, and fastened. Too, there was crinkled metallic tinsel that reflected the light and bowed the branches in a graceful way. It was carefully removed as it had been strung, strand by strand. It too was always saved for another year’s decoration. These are the kinds of things that a child remembers, not the gifts, nor who gave them. Individual and family traditions are what are important, both for the memories they create and the ties they provide to our pasts and to one another.

May your season of light fill you with happiness and bring you peace.

Do you have a story to share or a recipe or something to contribute? I’d love to hear from you. You can always reach me at tashahal@aol.com and do visit my website at http://www.heartwingsandfriends.com.

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Tips to Cope with Pet Loss During The Holidays

Facing the holidays after losing a beloved pet is extremely hard. While other people may be happy and celebrating you may find it impossible to do so. That’s okay. You are entitled to feel grief over the loss of your baby. Do not let people’s opinions get you down when they say something like, “It’s the holidays. It’s time to celebrate.” They have not lost a piece of their soul and don’t understand.

Many years ago my beloved dog Lady was terminal with cancer. The month of December was her last month on this planet, and it was devastating for me. No one understood or tried to understand what I was feeling. For the last four months, I had to stay with her 24 hours a day. She could not be left alone she was so sick. It was the worst Christmas of my life. So I do understand what you are going through.

Dealing with the holidays is hard enough, and after losing a beloved pet it’s even more difficult. I am offering some tips that will help you get through the holidays with respect to your beloved baby.

1) Honor Your Beloved Pet.

Light a candle in their memory. If you have a little altar, keep their picture there along with a candle, flowers, and incense. Take a few moments and talk to them because they still hear you. Their spirit is right there. Acknowledge your feelings, don’t ignore them. It’s okay to feel emotional this time of year.

2) Be Prepared to Feel Sadness During the Holidays.

Losing a pet is a big deal. They are our family. This is a huge impact on your life. When you’re used to sharing the holidays with a furry family – it’s a jolt that they are no longer a part of the holidays and special events in your life. It is okay if you don’t feel like participating in the festive activities. It’s really quite normal.

3) Remember the Wonderful Memories You Have of Holidays Gone By With Your Pet.

As difficult as it may be, make it a point to remember positive happy moments you once shared. I remember my last Christmas with my beloved dog Lady. Even though she was dying I made sure she had a good time. I always remember that and it helps.

4) Donate to Animal Shelters.

Think about donating blankets and other items that are desperately needed in the shelters. You can also donate your time at animal shelters. It’s helpful for those poor little animals to have someone talk to them and love them. Perhaps you can help save a life! Not looking to adopt too soon? I understand. So consider fostering a pet. Many animals need help getting socialized and used to human contact and affection. Fostering is a great way to help pets and yourself find joy and healing without the full commitment of adoption.

Another way of helping out is to donate your time at the local soup kitchen to feed the hungry and homeless.

5) Remember Time Is the Great Healer.

This is not to say your grief will end because really and truly it’s ongoing. However, the intensity of the grief you feel today will be lessened a year from now. Grief comes in waves but the pain does lessen with the passage of time. Please read my article on Grief for further help. There will come a time when you can fully enjoy the holidays once again.

6) Listen to Healing Music.

Play upbeat music. Try not to listen to songs that will make you depressed or cry. For me personally, I don’t like to listen to Christmas music as it brings up too many sad memories, not only of my pets but my family that I lost.

I put on “That Old-time Rock And Roll.” It’s the music that soothes my soul. That’s the music that makes me feel good. Put on whatever music makes YOU feel good and even dance around. Dancing is healing as well.

7) Don’t Forget to Take Care of You!

When you are in deep grief it is easy to forget to take care of yourself. Be sure to not only acknowledge your feelings and emotions; find a good support system. Surround yourself with people who can relate to your experience and give you uplifting support. I have a support group for pet loss on Facebook that you can join. It’s very healing for pet parents. Click here to check it out.

Remember to take care of your physical self and incorporate an exercise routine multiple days during the week.

Eat healthy foods and avoid fast food and processed junk food. Sweets are abundant at this time of the year but limit them as much as possible because they do cause more depression. Admittedly this is a hard task especially at holiday times, but chooses to make yourself a priority. The quality of food you consume does impact your health and also impacts your mood and brain function.

Looking for even more helpful tips to help in your grief? Check out my articles on Pet Loss. Also if you Feel Real Healing is Needed Let Me Communicate With Your Deceased Pet. Check It Out Here.

Love and Light,
Cherokee Billie

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Co-creating with the Universe

We all have the ability to live our dreams, we must simply ask and respond with the action that is asked of us.

Most people don’t always fully realize that we all have within us the ability to co-create our lives with the universe. So many of us are taught to accept what we are given and not even to dream of anything more. But our hopes and dreams are the universe whispering to us, planting an idea of what’s possible while directing us toward the best use of our gifts. The universe truly wants to give us our hearts’ desires, but we need to be clear about what they are and ask for them.

To ask for something does not mean to beg or plead from a place of lack or unworthiness. It’s like placing an order — we don’t need to beg the salesperson for what we want or prove to them that we deserve to have it. It is their job to give us what we ask for; we only have to tell them what we want. Once we have a clear vision of what we desire, we simply step into the silent realm where all possibilities exist and let our desires be known. Whatever methods we use to become still, it is important that we find the quiet space between our thoughts.

From that still and quiet place, we can announce our intentions to the pure energy of creation. By imagining all the details from every angle, including scent, color, and how it would feel to have it, we design our dreams to our specifications. Similar to dropping a pebble into a pond, the ripples created by our thoughts travel quickly from this place of stillness, echoing out into the world to align and orchestrate all the necessary details to bring our desires into manifestation. Before leaving this wonderful space to come back to the world, release any attachment to the outcome and express gratitude. By doing this daily, we focus our thoughts and our energy while regularly mingling with the essence that makes it possible to build the life of our dreams.

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Sacred Trees in the Americas: American Holly (Ilex Opaca) – Magic, Meanings, Ecology, and Divination
by Dana, The Druid’s Garden

American Holly is one of the most wonderful trees for getting us through dark times. And as the season of darkness is upon us once more, it is a good time to consider the magic, meanings, and mystery of this incredible holly tree!

American Holly has many names including white holly, prickly holly, Christmas Holly, Yule Holly and Evergreen Holly. It is quite similar to European Holly (Illex Aquifolium) with similar leaves, berries, and an overall growth habit. The American Holly has larger, brighter leaves and berries, but the trees are otherwise quite similar. While I often argue against importing meanings and uses of European trees into American contexts (with Ash being a great case in point), in this case, I think that the myths and old-world understandings of Holly apply!

This post is part of my Sacred Trees of Eastern North America series–here you can learn about the many wonderful trees upon our landscape. In this series, I explore the magic, mythology, herbal, cultural, and divination uses, with the goal of eventually producing a larger work that explores many of our unique trees located on the US East Coast. For my methods using ecology, the doctrine of signatures, and human uses, you can see this post. Other trees in this series include 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. For information on how to work with trees spiritually, you can see my Druid Tree Working series including finding the face of the tree, seeking the grandmother trees, tree relationships, communicating on the outer planes, communicating on the inner planes, establishing deep connections with trees, working with urban trees, tree energy, seasonal workings, and helping tree spirits pass.

Ecology
The native range for American Holly spans from Rhode Island and New England coastal regions down into Florida and across the midwest to Louisana and Texas. It can be found throughout the south-eastern and Eastern United States, and beyond its native range, is widely planted as an ornamental, thus, is frequently found in urban and suburban areas. Almost anywhere I’ve traveled in a city or new area is a chance to connect with American Holly in some form: tree, shrub, or small bush! In fact, it is so popular as an ornamental that you can find up to 1000 different cultivars. It is shaped into shrubs, trees, and even holly hedges.

In the wild, American Holly is primary an understory tree, thriving in shaded woods, along streams and creeks, and can handle both dry and wet conditions, but not flooding or wetland conditions. It does prefer slightly acidic soil and sandy soil and will grow in full sun to full shade. If the soil is too alkali where it grows, the leaves will turn a brownish-yellow.

The American Holly is an evergreen tree that can grow to 40-60 feet tall. It has evergreen leaves that grow in an alternate pattern with a leathery feel. The holly leaves are fairly unmistakable and easy to spot because of their depiction in modern culture: they are 1-3″ long with spiny tooths coming out of them in a regular fashion.

It provides food for birds (cedar waxwings, songbirds, cardinals, goldfinches, bobwhites) and small mammals (turkey, quail, white-tailed deer, squirrels). It is a nursery plant for Henry’s Elfin butterfly. It also provides excellent cover and shelter for birds–we have an American Holly growing next to our house and every year, the cardinals make a nest within the densely packed branches.

The holly tree blooms with white (sometimes greenish-white) flowers in April-June that have four petals and a balanced fourfold shape. You can tell the male from the female flowers because the female flowers appear in clusters of 1-3 while the males appear in clusters of 3-12. Male and female flowers often occur on separate trees. These make way for green berries, who finally turn to the classic bright red as we move into the late fall (Samhain) and winter months (Winter Solstice). Only the female tree produces holly berries.

Human Uses
The Holly wood is a beautiful, strong, fine-grained white wood that can be sanded, stained, and worked. It is often used for furniture, woodwork, carving, engraving, cabinetry, and other fine woodworking. It is not in high commercial demand because hollies never get that large, but among folk artisans and woodcarvers, it is often sought out and used.

Holly (both European and American) is tied to the winter months, the dark half of the year, and the Yule season. These traditions of “decking the halls with boughs of holly” were imported from the old world and then applied to the American Holly. I’ve used Holly extensively as a natural decoration for Yule and it is just lovely on the mantle–it stays green and the berries stay red long after the plants dry out. We usually have to trim our Holly to keep it away from the sidewalk–and these trimmings are all we need to provide delightful Yule decorations for our home. With this said, the demand for holly decorations has caused a decline in wild-growing holly in some parts of the US; given this, it is wise to cultivate a holly or two in your yard if you want to have these decorations or source them sustainably. As with anything else, commercial demand causes a decline of the species, and we very much want to attend to this issue when buying any plant matter at the store.

Edible and Herbal Uses
All of the Ilex species (which includes all Hollies) are somewhat toxic if ingested. The berries of the holly are poisonous and will cause diarrhea, sweating, vomiting, and dehydration–so while you can use them on your mantle, you don’t want them in your stomach! However, if you wanted to induce vomiting (emetic action) these berries are one thing you could use to do so as they are a traditional medicine in this regard.

The roasted leaves of the American Holly can be made into a caffeine-free herbal tea. This tea has a rich history, including drinking as a tea substitute extensively during the American Civil War when resources were scarce. The tea has some medicinal properties and was used to treat colds, although I couldn’t find too much more information on the specific medicinal uses, as it is not listed in any herbal that I own. In fact, many holly species also have leaves that can be made into tea, but you want to make sure you identify the species properly. A good guide for this is Eat the Weeds, which offers a thorough discussion of how to make tea (with caffeine) with some holly species. They discuss how some communities have made a tea of the young leaves of the Gallberry holly (Ilex glabra) which can be a good source of vitamins and minerals. Make sure you have the identification right on this holly though, because others (like the Yaupon Holly, lex vomitoria ) have leaves that make you vomit.

Western Occult and American Folk Magic Uses
Holly is, as mentioned above, inseparable the Winter Soltsice/ Yule and it has been tied for milleniua with bringing brightness into the dark half of the year. Holly was, of course, one of the seven chieftain trees of the ancient druids, and thus, a very magical tree throughout the world.

In the American Hoodoo tradition, as described by Cat Yronwode in Hoodoo Herb and Root Magic, Holly leaves are burned with other blessing herbs to protect the home and bring good luck into the home. Placing holly above the door to the home also protects the home and draws helpful spirits.

In Tree Wisdom: The Definitive Guidebook to the Myth, Folklore, and Healing Power of Trees by Jacqueline Memory Paterson, she describes some of the mythology surrounding holly, including its connection to immortality. In the old world, people were encouraged to bring the holly into their homes to ward against elves, fairies, and other spirits that could otherwise cause harm. Holly’s bright berries and leaves also helped people with winter depression and help us get through the darkest time of the year. The holly was always required to be removed from the house by Imbolc eve or it could bring misfortune. In Ancient Rome, the Romans gave gifts of Holly during the five-day festival of Saturnalia, which took place at the winter solstice. These eventually gave way to the Christian imagery, which still uses Holly, in December. Even though Christianity has shifted many of the ancient pagan beliefs, the remnants of these can still be found even in modern-day celebrations here in the US.

The Holly King and Oak King legends are also powerful and enduring; both evolved from earlier indigenous and pagan depictions of the green man or the spirit of the forest/plants as well as the virility that is necessary for life to continue. Paterson notes that the oldest depictions of the Holly King were of a wildman holly god, and Christian suppression later turned him into more of a “king” like figure without sexual virility. Regardless of the shift of this imagery over time, the Holly and Oak kings rule over the year and are two sides of the god of nature and his cycles. The Oak King comes into power at Midwinter (when we move from the lowest point to the highest), while the Holly King comes into power at Midsummer (the waning part of the year). The Holly, therefore, represents the growth, light, and harvests of the rest of the season to come. Many rituals in the modern druid tradition acknowledge the power of the ancient Oak and Holly kings as part of our ceremony.

Holly is one of the sacred trees in the Ogham, the Celtic Tree Alphabet. The Holly, Tinne, is tied to the letter T and the Ogham letter that has three upright lines. According to Steve Blamires in Celtic Tree Mysteries, the evergreen nature of the Holly tree can be tied to a “link” as in a link in a chain, which is one name for Tinne. This shows Holly’s link not only with the oak (from the ancient lore) but also between our world and the otherworld.

In the Encyclopedia of Natural Magic, John Michael Greer describes holly as being firey and warm in the second degree. Astrologically, it represents Saturn in Leo. It is a very protective tree and is thought to ward against lightning and also against hostile magic and hostile spirits and otherworldly beings.

Divination and Magical Uses
Based on the ecology, folk uses, and history of holly, the following are three divination and magical uses for this incredible tree:

Darkness. Holly has long been associated with the winter solstice in the darkest time of the year, and seeing Holly come up in a divination reading may signal that a time of darkness is upon you.

Light in the Darkness. Tied to Holly’s theme of darkness, however, Holly reminds us that there is always hope. The triumph of the Holly king over the Oak king in the ancient myths ensure us that even when the light is all but extinguished from the world, the evergreen leaves and bright red berries will be a sign of coming out of this dark time and hope in the future. Stay strong, for spring will return.

Protection in Dark Times. We are continuing to live in darker and more uncertain times, with more and more of us losing basic faith in our institutions, culture, and civilization. It is certain that human civilization is on a dark path. Thankfully, trees like holly can offer us basic protection from the hostile energies of this age. And that’s exactly what she does!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this look at the incredible Holly tree. If you have additional information to add or stories about the holly, I would very much love to hear them! Blessings to you, my dear readers!

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Peppermint: Not Just For Candy Canes
3 Ways Peppermint Is Not Just For Candy Canes

Looking for a natural way to ease some common discomforts? Consider peppermint. The plant’s dried, crushed leaves or extracted oil offer more than a pleasing aroma and flavor, they have medicinal applications as well. Peppermint can be used:

As a chest rub to ease breathing with the common cold

For relief of indigestion and nausea

As a treatment for gastrointestinal ailments such as irritable bowel syndrome and diverticular disease
Topical treatment for sore or tight muscles including tension headaches

Be aware that while largely beneficial for the digestive tract, peppermint tea can worsen the heartburn experienced with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and may also promote the flow of bile from the gall bladder and complicate gallstones – consult your doctor if you have these conditions and stop using peppermint products if these seem to worsen.

Also, don’t give peppermint tea to babies or young children: the menthol it contains can cause a choking sensation in youngsters of this age. When choosing peppermint, look for oil containing at least 44% free menthol or teas with 100% pure peppermint leaves. You can buy pure peppermint leaf tea in most supermarkets. Brew it in a covered container to avoid loss of volatile components, and drink as much of it as you like, hot or iced.

If using peppermint to help with digestive spasms or irritable bowel syndrome, look for encapsulated products to allow the herb to get past the stomach on the way to where it is needed most.

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Is There a Santa Claus?
~Find A Grave

In his famous response to Virginia O’Hanlon’s question about Santa Claus, Francis Pharcellus Church said, “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give your life its highest beauty and joy.” We find that love and generosity in the lives of people all around us. Here are just a few Santa Clauses from Find a Grave that reminds us about making life enjoyable and bringing joy to the world.

The tradition of Santa is based, at least in part, on a real man, St. Nicholas of Myra. Born in Turkey to wealthy parents who died young, Nicolas gave his inheritance to the poor and needy. One of the best-known legends of Nicholas is that of a man who had three daughters and not enough money to provide dowries for them. It is said that Nicholas walked by the house and threw a bag of gold through the window (or alternatively, down the chimney) on three consecutive nights. Other similar stories exist, and Nicholas became symbolic of secret gift-giving.

For 68 of his 90 years, Jim Yellig donned the red suit and transformed into Jolly old Saint Nick. It all started when he was in the Navy in 1914. His ship was docked in Brooklyn and his shipmates had an idea to throw a party for underprivileged children in the area. They knew he was from the area of Santa Claus, Indiana, and thus nominated him to play Santa Claus. He loved playing the part, especially seeing how happy it made children.

After WWI, Yellig left the service and got married. A few years later he returned to his hometown of Mariah Hill. A friend of his, James F. Martin, was the postmaster in Santa Claus. He had been answering children’s letters for years and he needed help! In 1935, Yellig organized a group called the Santa Claus American Legion Post to help answer letters. He also dressed the part and quickly became a fixture in the town of Santa Claus. In 1946, the Santa Claus theme park opened and Yellig was the star of the show.

He wrote a booklet titled, “It’s Fun to be a Real Santa Claus,” which tells the history of Santa Claus as well as providing training and tips to becoming Santa. The years went on and thousands of children knew him as their Santa. He often surprised children as he spoke five languages. Jim was Santa for so long, generations of families enjoyed the tradition of sitting on his lap and telling him what they wished for. At age 90 he said, “Maybe I shouldn’t be doing this now [but] I feel like I’ve got a little soul here who will grow up someday and possibly remember a few things.”

Mr. Santa Clause spent many a December answering thousands of letters that he received. His father, who had a good sense of humor, gave him the name, Santa Clause. He was a plumber and pastor and had seven children of his own. But, during the Christmas season, there were times when he cut short time with his own family to attend to all the mail that he received. He felt it was important to write the children back, but didn’t have the funds for all the stamps he needed to reply to 6,000 letters per year.

Generous friends donated to the stamp fund, and he was able to answer those letters for many years. He spent much of his life clean-shaven, but this article refers to growing out his beard and then “whitening his whiskers” to be the real town Santa from Marshall, Missouri.

We’re left to wonder about the life of Jimmy Lee Pace. His funeral notice only gives us the clue that he used the name “Santa Claus.” He must have been a person who played the part as we’re left with a second clue, the Santa boot on his headstone.

We wish you and yours a happy holiday season and hope that “love and generosity and devotion … abound and give your life its highest beauty and joy.”

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The Victorian Book of the Dead

Tickled to Death Over Her Christmas Gift: 1897
by chriswoodyard

He was a genial-looking, bald-headed man of 59, but when he heard us talking about Christmas gifts he sobered up a little and said:

“I am also going to take advantage of the occasion to make a gift. Ah! poor Mary!”

“What’s the matter with Mary?” asked one of the drummers.

“Mary was my wife, sir. She has been dead these five years.”

“Oh! that’s it? Please excuse me. I thought perhaps you were speaking of a sick or crippled child.”

“You are excused. Yes, Mary was my first wife, and she was a treasure. She will not know that I am making her a Christmas present, but I shall do it as a matter of duty and love. It is in the baggage car ahead.”

“Isn’t that rather queer to make a Christmas gift to a dead person?” asked the drummer after a silence lasting a minute or two.

“I think it is,” was the reply, “but it must serve to show that I treasure her memory. It cost $25, and stands four feet high. I do not think I could have got a more suitable gift. If she could speak I know that she would express her great satisfaction.”

“Might I ask the nature of the gift?” was the cautious query.

“Oh! certainly. It is a fine Italian marble headstone to mark Mary’s grave. I hope to have it set up on Christmas eve.”

“You–you have waited five years to get that headstone?”

“Yes, sir. I have been busy getting married twice again and burying a second wife, and have Just get around to it. Next Christmas I shall present the other one with a similar Santa Claus gift. I think the idea is original and unique, don’t you?”

“No, sir!” stiffly replied the drummer, as he rose up.

“What’s the matter?”

“I am, going out for a smoke, and I had as soon tell you that I think you are a blamed mean man! I suppose you’ll buy your third wife a coffin for a Christmas gift won’t you?”

“No, of course not. No, sir, I wouldn’t do such a thing as that. I’ve already selected her gift”

“And may I ask what it is?” sneered the drummer as he moved away.

“You may, sir–you may. I have bought a lot in the cemetery and had the deed made out in her name, and she’ll be tickled half to death over it!”

Los Angeles [CA] Times 19 December 1897: p. 41

Chris Woodyard is the author of The Victorian Book of the Dead, The Ghost Wore Black, The Headless Horror, The Face in the Window, and the 7-volume Haunted Ohio series. She is also the chronicler of the adventures of that amiable murderess Mrs. Daffodil in A Spot of Bother: Four Macabre Tales

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Surround Yourself With Love

One of the easiest and nicest gifts you can give to yourself is surrounding yourself with loving and kind people whenever possible.

In our everyday life, we are surrounded by a variety of people. Some of the people we deal with on a daily basis are a joy to be with, and their loving presence nurtures and encourages us. Others may have the opposite effect, draining us of our energy, making us feel tired and exhausted. Our well-being can be easily influenced by those around us, and if we can keep this in mind, we will have greater insights into the quality of our social interactions and their energetic effect on us.

Once we think more deeply about the people we interact with, it becomes easier for us to work toward filling our lives with people who help us cultivate healthy and positive relationships. Even though it might not always seem like we have much control over who we are with, we do. The power to step back from toxicity lies within us. All we have to do is take a few moments to reflect on how another person makes you feel. Assessing the people we spend the most time with allows us to see if they add something constructive to, or subtract from, our lives. Should a friend sap our strength, for example, we can simply set the intention to tell them how we feel or simply spend less time with them. We will find that the moment we are honest with ourselves about our own feelings, the more candid we can be with others about how they make us feel. While this may involve some drastic changes to our social life it can bring about a personal transformation that will truly empower us, since the decision to live our truth will infuse our lives with greater happiness.

When we surround ourselves with positive people, we clear away the negativity that exists around us and creates more room to welcome nurturing energy. Doing this not only enriches our lives but also envelopes us in a supportive and healing space that fosters greater growth, understanding, and love of ourselves as well as those we care about.

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According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Popularity of Turtle Soup Could Lead to the Decline of the Alligator Snapping Turtle
By Tara Massouleh McCay

The agency recently proposed protecting the unique reptile under the Endangered Species Act.

The alligator snapping turtle could soon become a threatened species, and the Southern tradition of serving turtle soup could be to blame.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently proposed adding the alligator snapping turtle to the list of threatened species, citing a predicted 95% decline in their population over the next 50 years and possible extinction in as few as 30 years.

According to a release from the Fish and Wildlife Service, the commercial harvest of alligator snapping turtles reached its peak in the late 1960s and early 1970s. At the time, the meat was used for commercial turtle soup products and sold in bulk for public consumption. In addition, many restaurants purchased meat from Southern trappers for use in turtle soup.

In the 1970s, the demand for turtle meat was so high that three to four tons of alligator snapping turtles were harvested from the Flint River in Georgia per day.

Though the practice has been fully illegal since 2012 when Alabama became the last state to outlaw commercial harvesting, the long-term effects of the popular food trend are still wreaking havoc on the species today.

The Center for Biological Diversity, a nonprofit dedicated to protecting endangered species, is working to counteract some of those effects.

“Alligator turtles are some of the fiercest, wildest creatures in the Southeast, but overexploitation and habitat destruction have put their lives on the line,” Elise Bennet, an attorney for the center, said in a release. “These freshwater giants will get a real shot at survival and recovery with the help of the Endangered Species Act and its lifesaving protections.”

Alligator snapping turtles originated in Kansas and Indiana but are now primarily found in the Southern states of Georgia, Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Texas. It’s illegal to hunt them recreationally in all but two states—Louisiana where fishers are allowed one per day and Mississippi where they’re restricted to one per year. If the turtles are added to the threatened species list, it will no longer be legal to catch them in any state.

The largest freshwater turtle in North America, alligator snapping turtles are known for their spikey shells and ability to catch prey using a tongue appendage that creates a wormlike lure. Though they can live up to 80 years and weigh up to 250 pounds, the species’ future is severely limited by the relatively small number of eggs that females lay each year. Compared to sea turtles which lay an average of 110 eggs per nest, alligator snapping turtles lay only around 27.

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Ghost Hunting Theories
Legendary Christmas Monsters

Halloween ended, many grieved. Christmas begins and they might come to life again when they realize there were a lot of legends of monsters to keep children in place.

Talk about a holiday buzzkill, European children had to be pretty frightened of Christmas – it could be really good or incredibly evil. In many ways, it reflects religious beliefs of a Divine reward or a hellish punishment.

Belsnickel
This German legend involves a raggedy-looking man with a stick in one hand, candy in another. He either rewards or punishes children.

Jolasveinar
“13 Dwarfs of Christmas”

These “Yule Lads” are an Icelandic tale that involves 13 dwarves who bring Christmas, kind of like a bunch of little Santas. They also punish the bad kids. The children put shoes in their windowsills the last 13 days of Christmas, awaiting gifts or rotting potatoes. These fellows are supposedly the sons of mountain Trolls.

Gryla
Another Icelandic mythical creature. Originally, she was the mother of the Yule Lads. She is considered a natural radar for knowing what kids are bad. She reportedly leaves her cave to eat the bad children.

Krampus
This Austrian and Bavarian figure is a damn scary one. Krampus is said to be tall, hairy, dark, with a long floppy tongue, horns, chains and bells. Once again, this figure is there to punish the bad kids. Over time, he has changed to a kind of devil figure for Christians who reinterpreted this pagan figure. Now, he is seen as someone who will beat, eat, or sell bad children into slavery. I guess coal in the stocking wasn’t enough for Santa, he needed a companion that was the Lucifer to his Christ.

Fouettard
Known as the whipping father, Fouettard would attend with St. Nick to whip the bad children. He is seen as a man with a long beard, long hair, wearing dark garb.

Knecht Ruprecht
Dressed in a brown robe, this nasty companion to St. Nick was said to beat children with a sack filled with chimney ash (cough). If that wasn’t enough, he left the parents a stick to beat the child in the morning.

Perchta
This Germanic lady figure does the most vile things, wandering the countryside at Christmastime and slitting the bellies open on bad children, spilling their guts out and replacing it with straw!

These stories get me wondering if the Neanderthal part of Europeans made them preoccupied with clubbing children. Hmmm

Well, for those who were sad Halloween was over, Christmas brings a whole slew of new scary stories.
If you’re looking for movies based on these characters, start with Krampus!

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Gilberto Rides Again Chapter 31
by Stephen Halpert

As he drove to the Houndstooth campus in Brookline, Massachusetts Gilberto’s thoughts revolved around the three mysteries he was currently dealing with: Buzz’s sudden, untimely death, his ghostly appearance, and last night’s disappearance of Sara Midgley from her Beacon Street condo.
“Thick carpeting,” Rain had said. “Someone could easily have been hiding here when Ramon carried her into her bedroom.”
Gilberto shook his head and sighed. Obviously, Sara knew much more than she’d be willing to admit to, but how she specifically figured into the shaky Atlas landscape remained another mystery.
Now that Sara Midgley was missing, and a police investigation had ensued, the walls of Atlas might soon be crumbling.
Then there was that vagrant with the sinister twisted knife who had eluded him, leaping past the crowd of subway riders emerging onto Arlington Street. Was this the mysterious Mr. Midgley, Sara’s deceased husband, presumed drowned years ago in the South China Sea? And was he the same assailant responsible for the stabbing and killing of the three Chinese thugs?
He scratched his head and sighed again. What had begun as a normal stockholder’s dinner in Greenbush, North Carolina when Buzz was about to certify the merger between Clay Calhoun and Atlas, had spiraled into a transparent veil of deceit. Sara had told Gilberto earlier that Buzz intended to sell Clay Cahoon to an undetermined Chinese firm, but did that matter?
Somehow all this didn’t add up. His intuition told Gilberto that Atlas would ultimately self-destruct. He was glad he had called his broker and instructed him to liquidate his Atlas holdings.
All throughout this ordeal Maria had been encouraging Gilberto to meet with Houndstooth headmaster Ed Long, to discuss the possibility of his becoming their soccer coach.
“But Maria, I’m a senior vice president,” he kept insisting. “This is my career. I’ve worked so long…”
As always, she’d kiss him, give him her most beguiling, sympathetic smile and run her hand through his graying hair.
“Vice President of a sinking ship,” she said softly. “Gilberto, I’ve been following this. Every time I throw the cards what comes up for Atlas is the tower-big changes that could lead to its failure. You, yourself said that Buzz had fostered Atlas’ rapid expansion. At some point it was bound to implode and self-destruct. I guess what goes around comes around. Call it corporate karma.”
That made him laugh. “Corporate karma. There’s a bestselling book title if I’ve ever heard one.”
“I’m serious.” She lowered her voice, whispered. “I want you whole, happy and healthy not wracked by the fallout from others’ greed and deceit. I wish you and Ramon could jump ship, and maybe coaching soccer is part of something new and exciting.”
He looked at her. “In all seriousness, have you been talking to Rosa?”
“Yes,” she nodded. “She’s upset. Ramon’s gained weight and has become moody. I didn’t tell her but I think Sara Midgley has her hooks in him and is playing head games at his expense.”
He hugged her. Tears filled his eyes. “I just wish we could go back to Niagara Falls.”
“And see everything we missed during our honeymoon?”
“You mean the museums and historic places?”
“Yes,” she smiled. “Exactly. “And I know if we ever go back, you won’t let me out of bed anymore than you did the last time.”
“That’s what honeymoons are for.”
She giggled. “If you say so. But we don’t have to drive hundreds of miles. If that’s what you want, we can check into a hotel in Boston.”
He smiled. “Yes!”
“Anytime,” she kissed him. “I’m ready, you’re the man chained to his desk. Just say the word and I’ll make reservations.”
“You mean we never have to get out of bed?”
She smiled. “If that’s what you want.”
He hugged her. “Our second honeymoon. How about The Charles in Harvard Square?”
She giggled and wriggled against him. “Just like the last time,” She slid her hand under his shirt, “but without all that driving.”
He smiled as he recalled that conversation. Then he looked up and realized he had arrived at the grounds surrounding the Palmer mansion, now the home of Houndstooth Academy.
The Houndstooth campus was located on the spacious, well-tended lawns and gardens of the old Palmer estate in Brookline. A tree-lined driveway led to the once elegant Victorian mansion that now housed Houndstooth’s administration building, offices, and some classrooms. Gilberto parked and saw construction of several new buildings. Houndstooth was certainly on the move. Greeted at the front door, he was escorted to the headmaster’s office by a smiling young woman.
Ed Long, tall, thin and tweedy, rose from his desk and greeted Gilberto. “Gilberto Santiago,” he proclaimed. “Meeting you is very special. I’ve read how you and your teammate Ramon Gomes won practically as many cups as the Yankees did World Series.”
Gilberto tilted his head and smiled appreciatively. “That was a long time ago.”
Ed waxed enthusiastic. “But those records still dominate amateur soccer and what you achieved contributed strongly to soccer’s growing into a major league sport. Why you and Gomes are considered the Mantle and Marris of soccer.”
Gilberto’s smile broadened. He hadn’t anticipated this welcome. “I love soccer. It’s in my blood. I’m glad my step-son Joey Sanchez is so enthusiastic about the game.”
Ed Long nodded. He pressed a button on his polished mahogany desk. “Coffee?”
Gilberto nodded. “Thank you.”
Within minutes an attractive assistant wheeled in a coffee wagon. After she poured and left, the headmaster began to speak.
“Basically Gilberto, our alumni want greater athletic visibility for Houndstooth. You’ve come at a good time. The building drive for a gymnasium and adjoining athletic facility is well underway. We all agreed that soccer and eventually rugby is the way to go. Nothing against football but we feel soccer is more in alignment with the Houndstooth tradition.”
Gilberto nodded, sipped his coffee. “Soccer is becoming more popular by the day,”
“What we need Gilberto is an athletic director and head coach who can implement soccer from intermural to varsity, involve us in strong competition with other private schools, oversee recruiting and basically get our name on the map.”
“I expect there’d be some recruitment needed,” Gilberto said. “A team is only as good as its players.”
“True,” Long said. “But not to short change scholarship. “We all want our Houndstooth graduates to be accepted in top colleges and to make a name for themselves in the world.” (To be continued )

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CINNAMON HOT COCOA MIX (Pantry Cooking II)

1-1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
2-1/2 cups non-instant powdered milk
1-1/4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1/2 cup baking cocoa (sift if necessary)
1/2 cup non-dairy creamer
2 tablespoons cinnamon

Finely chop chocolate chips or chop in a food processor or blender. Pour into a mixing bowl. Add other ingredients and mix thoroughly. Store in an airtight container.

Mix 1/3 cup cocoa mix with 8 to 12 ounces of boiling water. Makes 19 to 20 servings.

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Kitty Kat’s Korner

Help Your Cat Exercise More
Reviewed by Vanessa Farner, DVM

You’re not the only one who needs to work out. Exercise is important to your cat’s overall health. Movement, especially the kind that uses their hunting skills, can keep their weight down and help them work off extra energy. Playtime is crucial for their mental well-being, too — it can help stop depression and boredom, which can lead to bigger health and behavior issues.

With a little help from you, your kitty can stay healthy and active — and have a little more fun, too.

Aim to play with your cat for around 10 to 15 minutes at a time. If they don’t enjoy it, they’ll let you know. When they get bored, put the toys away and offer some praise and a few treats.

Introduce some new toys. You probably already know that cats are fond of feathers and strings. But you can watch them while they play to find out what kinds of objects they like best. Try out a toy shaped like a bird, then one that looks like a mouse, and another that resembles a bug. The plaything she likes most can help you figure out what kind to buy in the future.

Be prepared for the kill. Cats are especially satisfied when they can get their teeth and claws solidly into their playthings. Let them do it, and be ready to offer replacement toys and feathers when old ones get worn out.

Add some new levels to your games. Get a multi-story cat tree and put it near an open floor space where your cat can run, then jump onto it.

Get your cat a piñata. Cats love to bat things that hang overhead. Food inside will offer even more motivation. To make a piñata, use a plastic container, like an old yogurt or sour cream cup with a lid. Cut a small hole in the bottom of it. Put a treat or two inside and hang it up with a string where your cat can reach it. If they hit it the right way, the treats will fall out.

Put on a tail. If you tuck a string or a long piece of cloth into the back of your pants, your cat can chase it as you walk around the house. But don’t leave the string out if you’re not supervising. If your cat swallows the string, it can be life-threatening.

Take a hike. Just like dogs, cats can learn to walk on a leash, though it’s best if you can teach them how while they are young. Strolls outside are best suited to cats who aren’t shy. Use a harness instead of just a collar and the leash. Before you go outside together, make sure there aren’t any loose neighborhood dogs that might spook them.

Don’t forget the lasers. A laser pointer can provide endless entertainment and, yes, exercise, as your cat chases it. Take care not to shine the laser directly into the cat’s or anyone else’s eyes.

Put playtime on the calendar. Carve out a spot in your schedule for you and kitty to have some fun every day. Cats are most active at dawn and dusk, so the evening or early morning would be ideal. You might also work in a play session before their meals to give them the thrill of the hunt as the cat “catches” their food.

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Georgia Nicols Weekly Horoscope: Sunday, December 12, 2021

The 2022 Annual Forecasts are available for pre-order. Annual Forecasts will be sent via e-mail on January 1st.

All Signs
We will feel a shift of energy this week. On Monday, two planets change signs: Feisty Mars moves into energetic Sagittarius (for six weeks), while Mercury moves into business-oriented Capricorn. Probably a good thing because Mercury in Capricorn will help holiday shoppers be practical and avoid going overboard. (Capricorn hate waste.) Midweek, especially by Thursday, everyone’s in party mode! “Count me in!” Nevertheless, throughout the week, there’s a steady build up to the Full Moon in Gemini on Saturday. It’s a Little Richard week: “…there’s a-whole lot-ta shakin’ goin’ on.” By Sunday, everything settles an anti-climactic way. Ah yes…. the one who stays after the liquor is gone is the host.

Aries (March 21-April 19)
Grab every chance to travel because you want to get away from it all. You need a change of scenery. With Mercury at the top of your chart, you’re thinking about long-term goals. You might make an effort to impress bosses, parents, teachers and VIPs, which is a good thing because Mercury at the top of your chart favours discussions with authority figures. Midweek, especially around Thursday, enjoy schmoozing with friends and interacting with clubs and organizations. Nevertheless, be aware that there is a steady build up towards the Full Moon on Saturday, which is a bit accident-prone for you. Pay attention to everything you say and do, especially at the end of the week. Be alert. (The world needs more lerts.)

Taurus (April 20-May 20)
This is an intense week, especially dealing with other people’s property, shared possessions, loans, mortgages and debt. Do your best to stay top of things because you might face disputes about these issues in the next few weeks. In fact, something about these disputes might come to a head by the end of the week, when the Full Moon peaks on Saturday. If these disagreements are not about shared property, jointly-held possessions or other people’s wealth, they might be about a difference in values. A difference in values is tricky. Who has the right values? Perhaps you can say, “If I agreed with you, then we’d both be wrong.”

Gemini (May 21-June 20)
Relations with partners and close friends are testy. This is because both the Sun and Mars are opposite your sign, which sets up a polarized situation. This makes you more impatient with others. (Remember: Patience is the antidote to anger. Anger is never your friend. Anger is like drinking poison in the hopes of killing your enemy.) Another contributing influence that might make you tense is that as the week wears on, there’s a build-up of energy before the only Full Moon in Gemini all year. That’s your sign. These are the stress factors. The plus factors are that this same polarized situation will give you more objectivity and more wisdom about your relationships.

Cancer (June 21-July 22)
You’re still in work mode. You’re doing your best to get better organized, as well as doing whatever you can to improve your health. (Nicely done.) Ironically, your motivation to be more productive will increase this week and stay that way for the next six weeks! (You’ll be running around with an overboard motor on your butt.) Mercury is now sitting opposite your sign, which will help you to clarify and explain issues to someone close to you. This is a good week to discuss difficulties. You will also welcome stimulating, intellectual conversations. Don’t worry if you feel muzzled by the end of the week. After the Full Moon on Saturday, this restriction will diminish.

Leo (July 23-Aug. 22)
It’s a playful week for Leos! You want to party, schmooze and enjoy the company of others. You want to visit restaurants, art galleries and enjoy sports outings and fun activities with kids. You feel the holiday buzz and you want to share good times! Fear not, you’re still in work mode. In fact, as Mercury changes signs this week. You will become more hands-on with tasks, especially those that involved mental work. It will be easy to pay attention to detail. (I will proof my forecasts for 2022.) A tiny warning: Be careful about being critical of others, especially coworkers. Remember the wisdom of Goethe, “Correction does much but encouragement does more.” This Full Moon can create tension with kids and romantic partners. Patience is your best friend.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22)
Home and family continue to be your primary focus. Do be aware that with fiery Mars in the picture for the next six weeks, there will be increased chaos and activity where you live. This might be due to visiting guests, renovations or residential moves. Naturally, this might provoke domestic strife. This week in particular, some kind of energy will build up before the Full Moon on Saturday, which makes you choose between your career and your external world versus family and home. Note: With this particular Full Moon, you can’t ignore home and family. Nevertheless, opportunities to party, enjoy sports and playful activities with kids are abundant. Enjoy!

Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22)
This continues to be a fast-paced, busy time for you because of the demands of your schedule, including short trips, as well as errands, appointments and increased reading and writing. Be extra cautious this week because as the week approaches the Full Moon on Saturday, it becomes an increasingly accident-prone time for you. Remember this and be aware and mindful. Pay attention to everything you say and do. Family discussions will take place in the next few weeks. Some of you will also tackle home repairs. Enjoy entertaining at home and tweaking your digs because this will please you. (It always does.)

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21)
Money is still a major focus for you. We’re talking about the money you earn and the money you spend. You’re also focused on your assets and possessions. Starting this week, you will work harder to boost your income. (This is a good thing because Mars will encourage you to spend money. Money in – money out.) You might also disagree with someone close to you about how to handle or approach things. This friction might come to a head by the end of the week during the Full Moon on Saturday. Fortunately, although you’re busy and talkative this week, you will be charming and diplomatic. Perfect. You can use your charm to placate others and keep the peace. Why wouldn’t you?

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 21)
You’re pumped because the Sun is in your sign. Then, on Monday, fiery Mars enters your sign as well (for six weeks). Well, this makes you PowerPoint on steroids! This is great if you have to get a lot done, because you will have the energy to do whatever you want. The downside is you might be coming on a too strong for some. (If you see the hair blowing back over their ears – that’s your first clue.) Be patient with partners and friends this week because by Saturday, the only Full Moon opposite your sign all year will take place. This means tensions will increase until they come to a peak. Meanwhile, listen to your moneymaking ideas because they might be worthwhile.

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 19)
On Monday, Mercury moves into your sign to stay for the next few weeks giving you a stronger than ever desire to express your point of view to people. You want to be heard! Your mind will be very busy jumping from topic to topic, which might confuse others. In one way, you will want to get out and travel so that you can see people and do things. And yet, because both the Sun and Mars are hiding in your chart, you will want to hide at home and be invisible. (Note: This week is still a great time to buy wardrobe goodies for yourself.) Meanwhile, be circumspect and notice the activities of others – what they’re doing and saying. (If you think something fishy is going on – it is.)

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 18)
Your popularity continues this week. In fact, your interactions with others will become even busier and more intense. You might be involved in competitive sports or group activities with a competitive edge to them. In part, this is because you identify with your ego energy. This is also why you’ll be interested in making long-term goals for the future. Your best success will be to coordinate your needs with the needs of others and turn your efforts into a win-win situation through some kind of mutual cooperation. You have a lot of energy now to work with others. Don’t waste energy on disputes. Go with what works.

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20)
This week you look fabulous in the eyes of others, especially bosses, parents and VIPs because the Sun is still at the top of your chart casting you in a flattering spotlight. Now Mars is also at the top of your chart, which means your ambition is aroused! You have big plans and you intend to achieve them. This is a popular week; and you will enjoy schmoozing with others, especially younger people and creative types. (In fact, some friendships will be very cozy.) Please be aware that as this week progresses, there will be a buildup of energy leading up to Saturday’s Full Moon that might create issues with parents and family members. Be patient and charming. Go do that voodoo that you do so well.

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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

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High Priestess Certification and Ancient Mystery Teachings
Herbalism 101
Herbalism 202
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Earth Signs and Omens

Natural Witchcraft

Practical Magick: Spell Casting for Every Day Use

The Magic of Crystals

10.Introduction to Energy Healing

11.Introduction to Paganism

12.Introduction to Meditation

13.Introduction to The Goddess Tradition and The Feminine Divine

14.Kuan Yins Gentle Embrace Reiki Certification

15.A Year and a Day of Contemplation with Kuan Yin

16.Tarot, Numerology, Natal Charts and Dream Readings

17.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

Have a safe and happy holiday!

Never forget…you are magick!!!

Goddess Bless!
GrannyMoon

http://GoddessSchool.com
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By GrannyMoon Posted in Pagan

GrannyMoon’s Weekly Feast: 5 Dec 2021

New Moon Blessings!

Your visions will become clear only
when you can look into your own heart.
Who looks outside, dreams;
who looks inside, awakes ~Carl Jung

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

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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Receive Your Own Personal 2022 Forecast
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And More
For Just A 10.00 Donation on PayPal!

Please send your date of birth and I will get your reading to you within 24 – 48 hours!
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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 This Month

Celtic Month of Elder – November 24th to December 23rd
Goddess Month of Astraea – November 28- December 25

December

Dec 4: New Moon, More powerful and longer-lasting than a regular New Moon because it is also a total Solar Eclipse. The strongest planetary influence on the Solar Eclipse is a challenging quincunx aspect to Uranus that brings unexpected changes.

Dec 5: Happy Krampusnacht! Have you been naughty or nice? Tonight’s the night when St Nicholas travels Europe to reward the good, while Krampus “the Christmas devil” punishes the bad. If you’ve been wicked you can try to appease him with schnapps!

Dec 18: Full Moon in Gemini!

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Sunday Classes with GrannyMoon at Sticks and Stones, Fairfax, VA

December
Face to Face Class: 1–3:00 ~ The Herbal Cauldron – Dec 12
Face to Face Class: Noon–2:00 ~ The Magick of Crystals – Dec 19

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High Priestess Training with GrannyMoon
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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!
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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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Seasons of the Witch
Yule Oracle

“Gatherings

Gather, gather, festive witches,
Speak of joy and drink of wishes.
Take one, give two, celebrating all blisses.

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Stacy Adams
coventrycreations.com.

December 6, 2021 – December 12, 2021

It’s a massively busy week in the cosmos with six (gasp) planetary aspects – Mars sextile Pluto, Mercury square Neptune, Mars square Jupiter, Mercury sextile Jupiter, and the Sun square Neptune.

OMG!

Choose your words wisely on Tuesday because people may confuse what you say, misinterpret your meaning and intentions, or may not pay close attention. Likewise, it’s equally easy for you to become confused in your conversations with others. This is not the best time to make any critical decisions because your faculties will not be razor-sharp.

On Wednesday, Mars squares Jupiter. Try to avoid acting impulsively while this aspect is active because often, we leap before thinking things out. Stick to the facts and be proactive. Despite your good intentions, avoid taking on more than you can handle because it may lead to burnout. Taking risks is not advised at this time.

This weekend, you may easily fall into your emotions as Venus conjoins Pluto. You may want more out of your relationships than your partner can provide, leaving you deeply insecure about the future. Avoid doing anything manipulative or controlling because it will backfire!

Recommended Candles: Mercury (AstroMagic), Truth and Justice (Blessed Herbal), Love (Affirmation)

Astrology Forecast brought to you by Storm Cestavani of http://www.stormcestavani.com/

Still shopping for that perfect gift?
Check out our new Holiday Catalog!

That insightful, witchy, or spiritually mindful person in your life deserves more than just a crummy gift card. Give them a magical gift from Coventry Creations.

Looking for a change? Now is the perfect time to start.
November was a time to leave your past where it belongs: in the rearview. Now it’s time to look beyond the here and now to where you want to go and what you want to be when you get there. December is Sagittarius season and brings about a shift in energies from the discomfort we endured during Scorpio season to a more positive realm of potentials and possibilities. It’s a great opportunity to go back to school, look for a new job, find a new partner, and create the world you want to live in. Of course, we all can’t be astronauts and rock stars but there’s always a better path forward and December is the time to start trekking down that path!

AstroMagic
Look beyond the here and now to where and who you want to be!

Astro Magic December 2021

The good news about December is that at least it’s not November, which was the most troubling month of the year. However, December does have its own set of challenges – a solar eclipse in Sagittarius, the final showdown between Saturn and Uranus, and Venus retrograde in Capricorn. But December also has one ray of light that should not be ignored as Jupiter (the Great Benefic) leaves the sign of Aquarius and moves into Pisces. So, help is on the way.

Recommended Candles: Mercury (AstroMagic), Truth and Justice (Blessed Herbal), Love (Affirmation)

Full Moon
Candle Ritual for managing the big picture
Full Moon in Gemini December 18, 2021

On December 18th, the Full Moon lands in mercurial Gemini, and with Jupiter adding her influence, your mind can be put in a tsunami of ideas and inspirations. You’ll experience a pull to wanting to understand the world around you in a much broader sense. Even your own sandbox will seem dull at this time. As you explore, seek wisdom, not judgment!

It’s your future. Time to own it!
Looking for a change? Now is the perfect time to start.

November was a time to leave your past where it belongs: in the rearview. Now it’s time to look beyond the here and now to where you want to go and what you want to be when you get there.

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Winter’s Cloak
by Joyce Rupp

This year I do not want
the dark to leave me.
I need its wrap
of silent stillness,
its cloak
of long lasting embrace.
Too much light
has pulled me away
from the chamber
of gestation.

Let the dawns
come late,
let the sunsets
arrive early,
let the evenings
extend themselves
while I lean into
the abyss of my being.

Let me lie in the cave
of my soul,
for too much light
blinds me,
steals the source
of revelation.

Let me seek solace
in the empty places
of winter’s passage,
those vast dark nights
that never fail to shelter me.

Joyce Rupp is a writer as well as Co-Director of the Institute of Compassionate Presence.

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Heartwings Love Notes 1011 The Comfort of Food

Heartwings says, “Comforting food can only be next best to loving arms.”

My mother kept a stack of old women’s magazines in her art studio on the second floor of our garage. She was a sculptor and worked there in clay. Eventually she took classes in painting and no longer worked with clay. Her first training as an artist was in sculpture as a teen. She did that for a number of years, and that was how she and my father got together. However, that is a story for another time.
At the age or around eight or ten I enjoyed reading them. Good Housekeeping–the inspiration for the title of my column, Redbook, House and Garden, and several others piqued my curiosity and provided me with household hints and ways to do things more efficiently. I remember one article-useless now, that taught me how to make a bed without circling it more than once.

In those days there were no fitted sheets, so you could accomplish this feat very nicely. These came in around 1954, and I remember I received my first pair from my cousin as a wedding present. The bottom fitted sheet was matched with a top sheet that was fitted at the bottom. I never saw another pair like it.

In those years, women’s magazines were much more domestically oriented. The whole society in which I grew up was clear about women’s roles as caretakers and men’s as earners. As a result, my expectations were to get married, raise children and keep house for a husband who would go out and work to support us. How times have changed. Gender roles have blurred. To the best of my knowledge, there are no jobs that are not open to all.

There is one thing that has not changed, however, and that is comfort food. To be sure, the recipes and the ingredients may vary by region or by culture, yet there are some dishes that are almost universally favored as such. One of them is Bread Pudding. As families gather, I thought it would be appropriate to share my recipe with my readers. I adapted it from one in the “Cat Who” series cookbook.

I begin by tearing enough slices of stale bread in small pieces to make 4 cups. The size of your slices determines how many. You can grease the casserole or not, I’ve never found it makes much difference. Fill a 1½ quart covered casserole with the bread and add ¼ to ½ cup Turbinado or regular sugar. Beat together and add 2 eggs and 2 cups any kind of milk, 1 to 2 teaspoons of vanilla, a speck of salt and an optional 1½ teaspoons of cinnamon. Place covered casserole in a larger pan with some water and bake 45 minutes at 350, take off the lid and bake another 20 minutes to brown the top. Serve hot or cold. It’s even better the day after you make it. It’s an enjoyable comfort food for all ages.

May you find good comfort foods for your loved ones and for yourself, too!

Blessings and best regards, Tasha Halpert

Thank you for reading my Love Notes. More can be found at my website, http://www.heartwingsandfriends.com. Comments, recipes, and questions are always so very welcome. Your emails are precious to me.

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It’s Not Glamping, It’s Granny Camping!
By Ivy SylvanVeil

Adventures of a Granny traveling around the US or, my daughter thinks I’m crazy!

This adventure started when I happened to mention to my daughter that I wished I could find my National Parks Membership Card that had been missing for more than a year. She messaged me back with a photo of the card that she’d seen in a drawer. Voila! There it was!

My initial idea was to go to historic sites near me in Virginia, but as I continued to read some of the posts by the group I became excited by the idea of traveling around the country. I have family in New Jersey and several friends in Florida.

Wow! That sent my imagination into hyperspeed! Because of the pandemic, I was in “get me out of here” mode! I’m sure others felt the same. I started looking up camping groups on Facebook. There was one called Solo Women Campers, so I joined. I found that single women are camping by themselves all over the world.

My next thought was how was I to do this. Being on a fixed income, I couldn’t afford a lot of camping gear, which can be expensive. Then I saw on the Facebook site, that many women are camping in their cars. I know, there are a lot of people who live in their cars by necessity, but these are women who just love camping small.
Next, I wanted to see what size car they were using. Many of them are using vans and SUVs, but there was one who actually was using a Nissen Versa Note Hatchback just like mine. This, of course, is where my crazy comes in…

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Llewellyn’s Spell A Day

Self- Esteem Spell
DECEMBER 05, 2021 BY DEVIN HUNTER

Jupiter has been slowly moving through Aquarius all year and will soon be making its exit. This is the time to plow through issues surrounding your self-esteem and any other personal traits that might make you feel ill-equipped to handle life. Cast this spell to break free from the self-esteem barrier.

You will need the Wheel of Fortune, the Star, and the Empress cards from a tarot deck, as well as a candle of any color. Lay the cards out in the order listed here, ground your energy, and then light the candle.

Touch the Wheel of Fortune card and say:

By Jupiter and fate,
I claim my right!

Then touch the Star card and say:

By Aquarius and hope,
I claim my faith!

Lastly, touch the Empress card and say:

By the Goddess, I claim this life!
By all three, so must it be!

Leave the cards out somewhere visible for thirteen days, and allow the candle to burn out safely on its own.
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Rewrite Your Destiny
DECEMBER 04, 2021 BY DALLAS JENNIFER COBB

A new moon solar eclipse is when the moon moves between the sun and the earth, casting a shadow onto the earth as it blocks the sunlight. If the moon symbolizes spirit, the sun soul, and the earth human life, then an eclipse can represent a new awakening, an opportunity to completely change who we want to be. We can rewrite our own destiny. This eclipse provides energy for transformational change.

Gather paper and pen. Sit quietly.

Ask yourself:
What does the world want
or need me to be?

Include the expectations of family, work, and society. Write them down on a piece of paper.

On another piece of paper, write:
Who do I need to be?

Shred “what the world wants,” saying:
I eclipse others’ expectations.

Reread “who you need to be,” affirming:

This is exactly, totally, and
completely who I get to be.

Each day over the next two weeks, as the moon waxes to full, affirm who you choose to be
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A Holly Cleansing Spell
DECEMBER 03, 2021 BY JAMES KAMBOS

At this time of year, holly is the perfect herb to use to clear away any negative energy in your home. For this spell you’ll need a sheet of newspaper, three holly leaves, a piece of stationery, and a pen.

First, lay the sheet of newspaper flat on a table or the floor. Then place the holly leaves in the middle of the newspaper. Write your problem on the stationery. Visualize your problem vanishing. Now tear up the stationery and scatter the pieces over the holly leaves. Wrap the newspaper around the holly leaves and pieces of stationery. Wad it all up and toss it in the trash. Your home will have a more pleasant atmosphere.
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Magical Fritters
DECEMBER 02, 2021 BY BLAKE OCTAVIAN BLAIR

Today is National Fritters Day in the United States. There is quite a culinary controversy as to what foods are considered fritters, and there are both savory and sweet renditions that are considered contenders for inclusion under the fritter umbrella, including apple fritters, crab cakes, corn fritters, and even Indian pakoras!

Today, take the opportunity to put a magical kitchen witchery spin on this fun day and find a fritter recipe you’d like to make. Tailor the herbs and spices for magical goals. Create fritters for prosperity, good health, happiness, and more! Perhaps organize with a few friends to make different types of fritters—appetizer fritters, entrée fritters, and dessert fritters—then have a magical fritter potluck meal to share the magical properties of all your creations.
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Eastern Star Spell
DECEMBER 01, 2021 BY ESTHA MCNEVIN

Early in the morning, just before the sun rises, the Eastern Star will appear bright in the clear sky and the Queen of the Faeries will hush the world into its winter slumber. Faery dream magick is like pixie dust in a bottle: it’s only really useful when it’s scattered all about. Leave a trail of allnatural, nonplastic glitter or powdered gemstones across doorways and window ledges to give the Faery Queen a glittering path to enter your home. Leave her sugar cookies and small cups of honeyed milk as a treat, and make your home cozy with extra pillows and blankets so that she will bless the naps and dreams you enjoy this winter. Recite the following prayer.

Prayer to Titania
Swift and pure mist cascades as light.
A silver bell is ringing to
sweeten her delight.
The veil is stretched mithril thin,
glimmers twixt day and night.
This morning I summon
Titania into sight.
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Secret-Keeping Mirror
NOVEMBER 30, 2021 BY KATE FREULER

Sometimes when we’re keeping a secret, it can feel like others will know just by looking at us. This spell is designed to help keep private information hidden.

Gather these items:

  • A small, inexpensive compact mirror that snaps closed (Even an old, empty makeup one is fine.)
  • Black paint
  • A paintbrush

Make sure you are all alone and no one is around. Look at your reflection in the little mirror. Hold it close to your mouth and whisper the secret aloud. Snap the compact shut.

Paint the entire outside of the compact black, imagining that the paint is muffling and sealing the contents like a cloak of invisibility. When it is dry, hide it somewhere in your room or house where no one will find it. Leave it there until you no longer need to conceal the secret.

Keep the compact for the next time you have secrets to keep. There’s no need to repaint it. Just whisper into the compact and snap it shut.
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Logic Oil
NOVEMBER 29, 2021 BY DEVIN HUNTER

Mercury recently entered Sagittarius, marking a period of critical thinking and giving us an amazing opportunity to harness the unique energies of the moment to make something that I like to call Logic Oil. Inspired by Star Trek’s Spock, this oil is used to inspire people to make the logical, rather than the emotional, choice. To a half-ounce bottle, add the following ingredients:

  • 1 pinch dried lavender flower
  • 13 drops frankincense essential oil
  • 5 drops clove essential oil
  • 5 drops tangerine or blood orange essential oil
  • 3 drops rue essential oil

Fill the bottle the rest of the way up with a carrier oil, such as fractionated coconut or grapeseed.

Use this oil to dress candles, spell papers, business cards, and other magical items in spellwork when you need people to think with their head and not their heart.
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Witch’s Homestead Spell
NOVEMBER 28, 2021 BY STORM FAERYWOLF

This spell will help enchant your home, making it a sacred place of love, magic, healing, power, and protection.

Gather these materials:

  • Lavender flowers
  • Cinnamon
  • Rose petals
  • Sea salt
  • A large bowl
  • 3 pieces of ribbon or yarn: black, red, and green

Ground and center. Using your hands, mix the salt and herbs together in the bowl while saying:

Lavender, cinnamon, rose, and salt,
All baneful spirits you do halt.
Be now filled with health and love,
And draw forth power from above.

Imagine the light of the sun and moon shining down through you to empower this mixture, then sprinkle it around your property to form a barrier and container.

Now take your three pieces of ribbon or yarn and braid them together while chanting:

Ribbons black and red and green,
Bring power from the dark unseen.
Ribbons green and red and black,
Send all unwanted forces back.

Attach this talisman to your front door.

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Ghost Hunting Theories
Adult Snow Day: Are You an Innie? Or an Outtie?

Snow season is coming for the Northern Hemisphere and with it comes a deep desire to hibernate, seek heat and warmth, and even play and romp in fresh snowfall. If you want to claim an adult snow day, here’s a great plan –

Once you have established you are not going into work, keep your warm jammies and socks on. Trek into the kitchen and heat up some cocoa with a bit of spice as you consider your options today –

I keep Swiss Miss Dark Chocolate Sensation on hand because it’s not that pale-tasting stuff you usually get, but truly really chocolate tasting. But, I also like punching it up with some spice. I add a sprinkle of ginger powder, cinnamon, and a dash of cayenne for some heat – it does magical things.

When it’s snow season, consider having some homemade stirrers on hand. I make my own.

Take a plastic spoon and dip into peanut butter or melted white chocolate, milk or dark chocolate and then sprinkle with chips, mini marshmallows, or candied ginger. When they are set, I wrap up the ends in saran wrap with a ribbon tie and stand them up in a coffee mug at my coffee station. These make great gifts with a cocoa mix in a Mason jar and can work for cocoa or coffee!

“Snow Days” is an excellent movie choice. Consider putting that on and enjoying recapturing those snow day feelings of childhood where you own the day and nothing is expected of you but to tuck in warmly or go out and adventure.

Decide – are you an innie or an outtie? Do you want to stay warm and safe and tuck in or do you want to go out and explore and be a child again?

INNIE

Do you want to hibernate in a hot bath? Epsom salt mixed with essential oil scents, and some coconut oil and you have a hydrating, relaxing bath beyond belief. Turn the lights out, light some candles along the counter, and enjoy the flickering light. Add some music. I’d consider this –

Mix coconut oil and granulated sugar into a very thick paste and use this to scrub your body. Inhale the bath’s steam, enjoy the flickering lights and music, feel your muscles just melt. When you get out of the tub, rub yourself down with a good lotion. Now, it’s time for fluffy jammies and warm socks and a trek into the TV room.

A teapot and some teas, honey and sugar spread out on a table with a cloth napkin might be just the thing for today. If you have some cookies, a plate of those would be a good accompaniment. If you know you like to be an Innie during the winter months, keep supplies on hand for a fine tea time. You can add some little triangle sandwiches using cream cheese and deviled ham with crusts cut off or the childhood standby of tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches for dipping. Keep a loaf of sugar cookie mix in the fridge, they are great for dipping.

The movie lineup for the day could include snowy movies like “The Shining,” “Dead Snow,” “30 Days of Night,” or “Dr. Zhivago,” or escape the cold for a while with warm beach movies like “Couples Retreat,” “Dead Calm,” “Captain Ron,” or “The Other Woman.”

Keep pillows and a blanket on hand in case you grow drowsy. Adult naps are a precious and valued commodity. Take advantage of it, knowing that you are safe from the icy slippery world outside.

Consider re-exploring your love of music, especially instrumental music or even opera. Play it and feel it throughout your body. Pull out a sketchbook or a pile of unread books and dig right in. If you’re feeling particularly lazy, try a jigsaw puzzle or crossword puzzle.

If you have a fireplace, keep it going and enjoy the crackle and heat. If not, light some candles and get the ambiance in your room. This is all about the cozy cocoon retreat you are creating.

You may not go out in the snow this day, but consider sitting at the window and watching the world come and go in it, the birds that still stick around, the footprints in the fluff, the children riding sleds, the black and white colorless silent world of snow.

Appreciate the beauty of nature bound in ice. I subscribed to artist Jonna Jinton’s YouTube channel where I can get my Swedish Lapland blood fired up by the stark and haunting beauty of that region – and, as an innie, you might practice some lipsyncing –

Consider pine-scented incense or a candle that smells of sugar cookies for an added depth to the cozy feel. A vaporizer with Vick’s decongestant fragrance might create a warm and sentimental tucking-in feel to the room. You could even heat water and cinnamon sticks and cloves in a crockpot with no lid to fragrance the place.

Or, use the crockpot for some cooking stew, pot roast, soup, or chili is a dream way to intensify the olfactory senses and prepare for the cold dark night. Consider some hot cookies from the oven to nibble on as you watch “Christmas With the Kranks,” “Home Alone,” “Krampus,” or “Elf” in the quiet evening that comes early in the winter months.

OUTTIE

You want to be the first to plunge into the snow and have fun and frolic like a kid. I highly suggest a good thermos of hot cocoa, as you are not completely impervious to snow.

Bundle up in layers so you can come back in and shed. Also be sure if you have a fireplace, to put the wood nearby. When you come back in to warm up, you might to run a hot bath and heat a towel in the dryer for after.

You are, by no means, required to make a traditional snowman. Think outside the box on this one if you are a horror lover –

Or, just have fun with your car snow –

Sledding, snow forts, snow angels, snow sculpture and the like are all great possibilities. Why not consider making a bar out of snow and making an ice luge to have a little impromptu party?

Ice shot glasses

If you’re not ready for snow sculpture or parties, consider good old-fashioned sledding, but be creative in what your ride down the hill on –

Don’t want to go back in to get warmed up? Make a neighbor gathering place – a bonfire –

This can be a fun idea at the top of a sledding hill. Everyone can warm up before they jump on the sled and head down.

Take your camera on a hike through the woods and capture the untouched beauty with the lens. Instagram them and share a walk in the woods with others….

Help build a snow fort for the kids.

Don’t forget to reinforce it. Some folks like to make blocks with Tupperware bins or shoe boxes –

This is fine if you want a fort to hide behind while doing a snowball fight, but if you want a little igloo, you might try the way we made them as kids. Start with a tight snowball about the size of a basketball and roll it downhill or around on the round, picking up more snow until it’s about the size of a car tire’s height. Make a circle with a space for an opening. Stack alternating balls atop them and use 2×6 boards across the top in a square shape, to support further balls and more boards to hold the very top balls.

As cool as this fort is (below), be sure to reinforce the interior against collapse.

No matter what you decide to do when it snows, if you get a day off or you give yourself a day off, hibernate or explore, but be sure that whatever you do, you thank the snow for an excuse to remember what it’s like to hear your school district is closed for the day!

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Letting Go of Perfection

Life becomes much more interesting once we let go of our quest for perfection and aspire for imperfection instead.

It is good to remember that one of our goals in life is to not be perfect. We often lose track of this aspiration. When we make mistakes, we think that we are failing or not measuring up. But if life is about experimenting, experiencing, and learning, then to be imperfect is a prerequisite. Life becomes much more interesting once we let go of our quest for perfection and aspire for imperfection instead.

This doesn’t mean that we don’t strive to be our best. We simply accept that there is no such thing as perfection — especially in life. All living things are in a ceaseless state of movement. Even as you read this, your hair is growing, your cells are dying and being reborn, and your blood is moving through your veins. Your life changes more than it stays the same. Perfection may happen in a moment, but it will not last because it is an impermanent state. Trying to hold on to perfection or forcing it to happen causes frustration and unhappiness.

In spite of this, many of us are in the habit of trying to be perfect. One way to nudge ourselves out of this tendency is to look at our lives and notice that no one is judging us to see whether or not we are perfect. Sometimes, perfectionism is a holdover from our childhood — an ideal we inherited from a demanding parent. We are adults now, and we can choose to let go of the need to perform for someone else’s approval. Similarly, we can choose to experience the universe as a loving place where we are free to be imperfect. Once we realize this, we can begin to take ourselves less seriously and have more fun. Imperfection is inherent to being human. By embracing your imperfections, you embrac
Life becomes much more interesting once we let go of our quest for perfection and aspire for imperfection instead.

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Apologies

If we can remember that our response to others is important, we can realize that trust and forgiveness go hand in hand.

In life there will always be times when we are affected by the actions of another person. When this happens, we often receive an apology. More often than not we say, “It’s alright,” or ” It’s okay,” and by saying this we are allowing, accepting, and giving permission for the behavior to happen again. When we say “thank you,” or “I accept your apology,” we are forced to sit in our feelings rather than ignore them.

There are many of us who feel that it is easier to brush off how we really feel than to express our discomfort with something that has happened to us. While this may initially seem like the best thing to do, what it really does is put us into an unending pattern of behavior; since we are not honest with another person, we continue the cycle of letting them overstep our emotional limits time and time again. By doing this we place ourselves in the position of victim. We can put an end to this karmic chain by first acknowledging to the other person that we accept their request for forgiveness; often a simple “thank you” is enough. To truly create a greater sense of harmony in our relationship, however, we need to gently, and with compassion, express our innermost concerns about what has transpired. By taking a deep breath and calling upon the deepest parts of our spirit, we can usually find the right words to say and verbalize them in a way that lets the other person recognize the consequences of what they have done.

If we can remember that our response to others is important, we can begin to realize that trust and forgiveness go hand in hand. And when we react in a way that engenders a greater amount of honesty and candor, we will establish a more positive and empowering way of being and interacting others.

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King Arthur’s Christmas Tea

Mistress Guernen Cimarguid this did for the Colorado Welsh Society the week after she finished the Long Poem…. [language note: Welsh “ch” is pronounced as in Scots “loch”; “te bach” = “tay
bahk”] (Dedicated to Autocrats Everywhere)

‘Twas long ago in Camelot, one snowy winter’s day, King Arthur had been
thinking, and to Merlin he did say, “What shall we do for Christmas, bach, to celebrate this year?
December’s hard upon us, and the day is drawing near.

“This year I don’t want any wars, or green men with an ax, I don’t want any dragons, or anything to
tax Myself or my Round Table.”, “Well,” said Merlin with a grin, “Let’s have a good old Welsh te
bach, and ask the neighbors in.”

“I like the idea,” Arthur said. “I’ll leave it up to you, You’re the Welshest man among us, and I
know you love a ‘do’.” “All right,” said Merlin, “if you wish, I think I can contrive. Just leave
the whole thing up to me until the guests arrive.”

Merlin sat and made a list of debts he had to pay. He looked in all his address books, the cards
went out that day, And in the country round about there soon began to be A great anticipation of
King Arthur’s Christmas Tea.

Then Merlin made arrangements, and recruited helpers, too, Queen Guenevere and half her maids signed
up for kitchen crew. And half of the Round Table soon were helping them as well, A Christmas
application of a very special spell!

Camelot got house-cleaned from the bottom to the top, Sir Lancelot turned out to be a dab hand with
a mop. Sir Lionel and Dinodan then polished up the floors, While Percival and Galahad hung holly on
the doors.

Sir Modred and Sir Tristram soon set up the Christmas tree Right in the center of the hall, a fine
fair sight to see. Then Lamarok and Sagamore hung paper-chains and balls And lastly Merlin lit the
lights that twinkled through the hall.

Meanwhile, in the kitchens they were baking up a storm, Teisennau bach and crempog, and Welsh cakes
fresh and warm, Pwdin Mynwy, Bara Brith, and tons of gingerbread, They made them all by bushels so
the guests could all be fed.

Then everyone dispersed to change into their Christmas best, And Merlin went to Arthur, telling him
he’d soon have guests. Then he himself went off as well to tidy up a bit, And draw a breath or two
in peace before the panic hit.

Of course some guests came early, there always are a few Who must anticipate the start of almost any
‘do’! So Merlin set them all to work to help and make the tea Which as usual wasn’t ready by the
time that it should be!

Merlin poured the sherry, he had made it all himself, And let it set to age at least three hours on
the shelf, Then added just a pinch of bat, he wanted it to be The very best of beverages for
Arthur’s Christmas tea.

King Melwas arrived early with the Lady of the Lake, And Niniane not far behind, they each had
brought a cake! King Mark and Queen Iseult came late, Cornwall was quite a drive, But they wouldn’t
want to miss it, not while Tristram was alive.

King Lot came down from Orkney on the wings of the North Wind With his Queen and sons and servants,
it was clear they meant to spend The holidays at Camelot, invited they were not, But that’s the way
with relatives, some put you on the spot!

Kings Urien and Charlemagne and Maelgwyn Gwynedd came And several hundred others who I won’t attempt
to name. There was tea and cakes a-plenty, there was sherry, port and rum, And whatever you can
think of, why, I’m sure the guests had some!

They ate and drank and laughed and talked, the children had a ball When they found the Christmas
crackers Merlin hid about the hall. There was music, too, the harpers played until their strings
wore out! And conversation filled the place until you had to shout.

The party lasted half that day and half the night as well, If the food and drink had not run out I
think they’d be there still. And when at last the guests had gone Arthur surveyed the hall And said
to Merlin, “Merlin, bach, you really gave your all.”

“It’s a special magic,” Merlin said, and sighed, for he was tired And Arthur nodded. “Yes, it is,
and one you’ve well acquired. I’ve never seen a party that was so full of Christmas cheer, Let’s
have another like it, please, but not before next year!”

  • Mistress Guernen Cimarguid The Recipes from stanza #8 King Arthur’s Tea Recipes Pancakes Snow
    Pancakes Welsh Cakes Crempog Bara Brith Bara Sinsir Pwdin Lump (Christmas Pudding) Pwdin Mynwy
    Teisen Lap, substituting for Teisennau Bach

Presented for educational purposes from: Welsh Fare, S. Minwell Tibbot, National Museum of Wales,
1979, p.28. ISBN: 0-85485-040-6


Ffroes (Pancakes, also called Crempog)
one pound plain flour one ounce butter one ounce lard four eggs a little milk a little water
(currants, if desired)

Sift the flour into a bowl. Melt the butter and lard and pour into a well in the center of the
flour. Beat the eggs, add a little milk and gradually pour into the flour, beating well to make a
thick, creamy batter. Then add a little water and beat again for a few seconds to make it light in
consistency. Melt an ounce of fat on a frying-pan or on a bakestone and pour on it half a cupful of
batter. (A few currants may be added at this stage, if desired.) Allow the pancake to bake until
small bubbles appear on its surface, then turn and bake on the other side. Place on a plate and
spread with butter and a little sugar. Continue to bake the remainder of the batter, and pile the
pancakes on the plate to keep warm.


Ffroes Eira (Snow Pancakes)
Take a cupful of clean snow instead of the water in the above recipe and fold it into the batter.
The snow helps to give a light consistency. From Dowlais, Glamorgan. It was a general tradition to
prepare pancakes for afternoon tea when celebrating the birthday of any member of the family in
Dowlais, as in many other districts on south Wales.


Welsh Cakes
one pound plain flour six ounces lard half a teaspoonful salt one cupful sugar one cupful currants
half a teaspoonful bicarbonate of soda half a pint sour buttermilk

Rub the lard into the flour and add all the other dry ingredients. Dissolve the bicarbonate of soda
in the sour buttermilk and work into the dry ingredients to make a soft dough. Turn out on to a
floured board, roll out until it is about a quarter of an inch thick and cut into small rounds. Bake
both sides on a very lightly greased bakestone over a moderate heat.


Crempog (Pancakes) ten ounces plain flour half a teaspoonful salt two
ounces butter three quarters of a pint of warm buttermilk two eggs, well beaten three ounces sugar
one teaspoonful bicarbonate of soda one tablespoonful vinegar

Melt the butter in the warm buttermilk, pour gradually into the flour and beat well. Allow this
mixture to stand for a few hours, if possible. When ready to bake the pancakes, stir the sugar, the
bicarbonate of soda and the vinegar into the beaten eggs. Pour this second mixture into the first
one and beat well to make a smooth batter. Drop the batter from a tablespoon on to a well greased
and hot bakestone or griddle. Bake over a moderate heat until the pancakes are golden brown on both
sides. Then spread butter on each pancake whilst hot and serve warm. (A cupful of sour cream stirred
into the batter acts as a further raising agent.) From Llanfachraeth, Anglesey Pancakes were an
essential part of the welcome given to visitors when invited for afternoon tea in the counties of
Caernarvon and Anglesey. They were also prepared there on Shrove Tuesday. On this occasion three
kinds of pancakes were prepared in the farmhouses. For the master and his family crempog wen and
crempog furum were served, while the servants were given crempog surgeirch (see the book). It was
also a general custom in the Lleyn peninsula on Shrove Tuesday for the children to go around from
house to house singing a suitable verse at the door while begging for pancakes: “Sgwelwch chi’n dda
ga i grempog? Mae ‘ngheg i’n grimpin grempog Mae Mam rhy dlawd i dlawd i brynu blawd Mae ‘Nhad rhy ddiog i weithio ‘Sgwelwch chi’n dda ga i grempog”

(Please may I have some pancakes? My mouth is parched for pancakes My mother is too poor to buy
flour My father is too lazy to work Please may I have some pancakes?)


Bara Birth (“speckled” bread: Currant Bread) two pounds plain
flour one ounce yeast twelve ounces butter six ounces soft brown sugar six ounces currants six
ounces sultanas (yellow raisins) three ounces raisins two ounces candied peel quarter teaspoonful
nutmeg or mixed spice half a teaspoonful salt two eggs one dessertspoonful black treacle a little
warm milk and warm water

Put the flour in a mixing bowl and allow to stand in a warm place for a short while. Rub the butter
into the flour, add all the other dry ingredients and mix thoroughly. Cream the yeast with a little
sugar in a smaller basin and blend it with half a cupful of warm milk. Make a well in the center of
the dry ingredients, pour the yeast mixture into it and sprinkle a little flour over it. Cover and
allow to stand in a warm place for a few minutes. Beat the eggs, pour them on the yeast mixture and
proceed to knead the ingredients to a soft dough. Melt the treacle in a warm water and gradually add
it to the dough, as required, when kneading. Cover the bowl and allow the dough to rise for and hour
and a half in a warm place. Then turn out on to a well-floured board, divide it in equal parts and
put into warm greased tins. Bake the loaves in a moderately hot over for an hour to an hour and a
half. From Bala, Merioneth.


Bara Sinsir (Gingerbread) half apound plain flour two teaspoonfuls ground ginger one teaspoonful mixed spice two ounces butter eight tablespoonfuls black treacle or syrup one ounce soft brown sugar one egg quarter pint milk half a teaspoonful bicarbonate of soda

Melt the treacle, butter and sugar over a low heat. Sift the flour, ginger, spice, and soda into a
bowl and pour in the melted treacle mixture. Beat the egg and milk together, add them to the other
ingredients in the bowl and mix all together thoroughly. Grease a shallow cake tin and line with
greaseproof paper. Put the mixture into it, spread evenly and bake in a moderately hot oven for
approximately forty minutes. From Llanybyther, Carmarthenshire.


Pwdin Lwmp (Christmas Pudding)

one basinful plain flour one basinful suet one basinful currants one basinful sugar one basinful
candied peel a little salt one tablespoonful treacle one or two eggs, well beaten warm buttermilk
one teaspoonful bicarbonate of soda

Dice the suet finely and work it into the flour. Add all the other dry ingredients and mix
thoroughly. Pour the eggs into a hole in the center of this dry mixture. Dissolve the treacle and
soda in the warm buttermilk and add gradually to the other ingredients to give a moist consistency,
stirring well with a wooden spoon. Put the mixture into greased bowls, cover with greaseproof paper
and clean cloths, and tie securely. Boil in the usual way for four of five hours. From Mynytho,
Caernarvonshire. The old traditional method was to boil the mixture in one large lump in a linen bag
the custom that gave it the names pwdin lwmp (lump pudding), pwdin clwt (rag pudding) or pwdin cwd
(bag pudding). The mixture was placed on a large damp cloth, the edges of which were then bunched
together and tied securely with strong cord to form a bag. This bag was then suspended from a stick
placed across the top of the boiler or cauldron and immersed in boiling water. This pudding was
prepared for dinner on corn threshing day on the farms, as well as for Christmas day. As a second
course on threshing day, it was served with warm rice pudding, whereas it was served with menyn
melys (sweet butter) on Christmas day.


Pwdin Mynwy (Monmouth Pudding)
Presented for educational purposes from: Celtic Cookbook, Helen Smith Twiddy, Y Lolfa, 1979, ISBN:
0-904864-50-2 ½ lb. white breadcrumbs 4 small eggs 4 tablespoons sugar (flavored with 4 drops of
vanilla essence) 1/4 scant cup of hot milk ½ lb. strawberry jam 3 tablespoons melted butter ½ lb.
chopped dried fruit a little sherry

Pour the milk and (half the) sugar over the breadcrumbs. Leave to absorb the milk. Separate the
yolks and whites of eggs. Whisk whites with half the sugar. Pour half the breadcrumb mixture into
pudding dish – spread the base of the dish with the sherry-soaked dried fruit (soak overnight for
best results). Spread the jam over the breadcrumbs and finish off with the final amount of
breadcrumb mixture. Bake in a slow oven for 30 minutes or till set. Bring out and pour over whisked
whites of eggs. Bake in very hot oven for 5 minutes until meringue is browned.


Three recipes from Lady Elysant and her Mum as a substitution for Teisannau
Bach. Many thanks, dear ladies. Teisen Lap (version 1) 1 lb flour 4 oz lard 4 oz margarine 2 heaped
teaspoons baking powder 7 oz sugar 8 oz currants 3 eggs a little nutmeg

Rub the fat into the flour and add the dry ingredients. Add the well beaten eggs and enough milk to
have a soft mixture. Bake in a moderate oven (375 degrees), using a shallow tin.


Teisen Lap (2) (this may be the oldest of the three) 1 lb flour 4 oz
fat 4 oz brown sugar 4 oz mixed fruit 1/2 teaspoonful of spice 1/2 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
(dissolved in milk) 1 egg 1/2 pint of buttermilk or sour milk

Rub fat into the flour, add sugar, fruit, spice; mix wekk together. Add the beaten egg and the milk
and beat to a soft dough. Divide the dough and roll out to an inch in thickness; bake on a bakestone
or hotplate; time about 15 minutes, when nicely brown on one side, turn them over.


Teisen Lap (3) This cake should be baked in a Dutch oven before an
open fire to make it the traditional Welsh way but the results are just as good if you bake it in a
well greased oblong tin (spread the mixture thinly) in a moderate oven (375 degrees) for about 35 –
40 minutes. 1 lb flour 1 teaspoon baking powder Pinch of salt A little grated nutmeg 4 oz butter 4
oz sugar 4 oz dried fruit (sultanas and currants) 3 eggs 1/2 pint milk (sour milk is delicious)
Sieve flour, baking-powder, salt and nutmeg. Rub in lightly butter, add sugar and fruit, whisk the
eggs, and add to mixture. Gradually add the milk, mixing all with a wooden spoon. The consistency
should be soft enough for the batter to drop from the spoon.

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Druid Tree Workings: Witnessing the Death of an Old Tree
by Dana

Many of us on the path of nature spirituality grow close to trees–so very close. What happens when a tree that you love dearly, who is a good friend and mentor–tells you that it is time to go? In this post, I share the story and passing of one of my dear tree friends, a White Oak with a giant burl. After I share the story, I offer some general thoughts about how we, as humans, can support and honor the natural lifespan of our tree friends. This post is meant to be a compliment to my earlier post: Holding Space and Helping Tree Spirits Pass. My earlier post talked about trees who were cut before their time–while this post honors those who have the privilege of living a full life and dying naturally.

The Story of the Big-Burled White Oak
When I first came to the new Druid’s Garden Homestead here in Western Pennsylvania I was extremely drawn to a White Oak tree. She had an enormous burl on her and was easily 200 or more years old. She sat holding back the bank of the stream at the edge of our property. At her roots was even a seat from two stones–I would come down there and sit every day, observing the stream. I created my first sacred grove on the property just below where she grew and did many of my rituals and journeys there for my first two years on this land. As I observed and spent a great deal of time with this magnificent oak, I found a large stump–it was clearly a second oak tree that had been cut, probably 20 or 30 years ago. The previous owners had done selective logging throughout their time living here, at great cost to the forest. The more I observed my White Oak friend, the more I realized that she had lost a companion, someone important to her. I could tell from how she grew–her branches grew in a way that at one time, you could tell she was sharing space with another tree. I could sense this in her, a deep sorrow, from time to time. She would not speak much of this companion, but I sensed her sadness.

My oak friend and I would talk often about many things. She taught me much about the land, of the Genus Loci (spirit of place) here, and the history of the land. She shared how happy she was that we came and that we brought other druids to meet her. She told me she had waited her whole life to meet humans who cared and who remembered their own ancestral ways, who were reconnecting with the living earth. I told her that we were so young, we were learning, and we had so much further to go. She said we were doing our best and she said that was enough.

Two years ago, in Fall 2019, she asked me to find a new place on the property to do my ritual work and not to use the grove by the stream again for some time. She asked that I not raise or direct any energy near her or to her. She told me that she was passing, that she had lived a full life, and that it was time for her to go. I cried and was so sad, and I asked her if she might not stay a bit longer. In this age, we have so few good elders of any kind, I shared–human, tree, or otherwise–and I selfishly wished that she would stay. She said gently and kindly, no, my time has come. She said she was very pleased that she could live a full life and die a natural death–when so few trees, even here on the property and in the region due to such extensive logging–could do so. She felt it was an honor to live, an honor to die in this way, and she was ready to go

This is not the first ancient White Oak that I’ve observed die naturally. I had another White Oak friend when I still lived in Michigan. This oak was also old and wise and he, too, told me he was going to pass a few years before he did. Oaks die in stages–the first year, you’ll notice about half the crown is no longer producing leaves. In the second year, there may only be a small amount of the oak left producing leaves–a large branch or two. And usually, at the end of that second year, the tree lets out one final breath and passes over the winter. This is just how my Burl oak friend went.

Honoring her wishes, throughout 2020, I would come to visit, make regular offerings, but keep my distance. As she came back into leaf, her crown was much thinner, with only about half the leaves of the previous year. I cried and was sad, but continued to hold space for her. I honored her request to do my spiritual work elsewhere on the property. The winter passed, and I hoped secretly that she would come back with a full crown in the spring, having changed her mind. But this past summer, she had very few leaves left–just one large branch. As part of my Samhain and late fall ceremonies, I made her offerings and continued to visit with her. At Samhain this year, she told me goodbye and I could feel her energies shift.

I did not witness her fall–I was not meant to witness her fall. It would have been too hard on me, after too many hard years. My partner did, and that is his story to tell. But he told me while I was at work, and when I returned, I visited my friend again. Her spirit was transformed, different. It’s not that she’s gone, but the presence she was has altered from a living being to something interwoven with the soil web, the spirits of place.

The best way that I can explain my understanding is this: trees that die naturally undergo a spiritual transformation slowly, just as their physical bodies return to the land. All of the soil beneath your feet contains the nutrients from those fallen trees–after the mushrooms and bugs and woodpeckers begin their slow transformation, the spirit also transforms. They get woven back into the Genus Loci of the land, the spirit of place. It will be decades, perhaps, until this tree returns to nature–longer since she’s fallen over the stream. But that too will be a process that I will continue to observe and interact with, and do what I am asked.

Helping an Old Tree Pass
I am honored to be able to tell you this story of my dear friend passing in a natural way and also share some general thoughts for those of you who come into these kinds of circumstances. I think one of the most important things to realize is that a lot of trees don’t get to live their full lifespan. Humans come to cut them down, especially in areas where there is a lot of logging. Or fires, diseases, etc, can take them before their time. It is a true honor to work with a tree that gets to live a full life and pass naturally. Here are some of the things that I learned:

Accept that the tree will pass and honor that passing. Just like people, trees die. All things that are currently alive have a natural lifespan. The tragedy is not in their death, which is part of the cycle of nature. The tragedy is when they are not able to live a full life when they are logged and cut without any honor or ceremony or respect. Thus, to witness the passing of an elder tree, one who has been able to live a full life, is truly an honor. Recognize and respect this.

Listen carefully to the wishes of the tree. I got the sense with both of my ancient tree friends that passed that they did not want any energetic interference–no rituals to raise or direct healing energy, no energy work of any time. Offerings of friendship and acknowledgment were fine, as was light conversation. You can’t force someone to live whose time has come. Thus, ask your tree friend what it is you can do and to that fully–even if they tell you to stay away, as my tree did.

Tell stories and remember. Those that are remembered live on. I will always remember my tree friend, and her remains will be with me on our land for a very long time. Remember your tree. Remember and tell stories, like I’ve shared here. Tell others of the life and death of this tree and allow that memory to stay strong. Paint something beautiful. Create a song.

Consider other tokens of remembrance. With permission, you can perhaps use some of the wood or something else from the tree to create objects, tools, ritual items, etc. In our case, with permission, I will also cut some of her wood to use, and dig up some of the clay from her roots, and create things that honor her. For the maples that she took out when she went down, I have asked permission to harvest some of their wood for my ongoing natural building projects (I use wood from our land, but I am not willing to cut any trees down who are thriving, so I try to wait till they pass naturally or are taken down by a storm).

Observe and grow. Our white oak has produced numerous babies, some of whom are already quite large, and some who are still fairly young. I will do my best to honor my friend through tending her offspring–helping them grow tall and strong, developing relationships with them as they mature, and honoring the legacy of her passing.

While seeing a tree friend pass is certainly a very sad experience, I do think that holding space for our tree friends is no different than seeing a relative who has lived a long and healthy life finally move on. It gives us a chance to reflect upon the cycles of life, to honor friendships that we have created, and to deeply reconnect with the living earth. I am honored to have known this white oak in her life, I am honored to have witnessed her passing.

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Gilberto Ride Again
by Stephen Halpert
Chapter 30

Gilberto’s eyes widened as he and Ramon walked with Sara Midgley into her condo on Beacon Street. It was in an old mansion that overlooked the Public Garden. Sara’s living room was spacious with high windows, thick drapes and exquisite, thick oriental carpets.
On the far wall of her living room hung an original painting by John Singer Sargent depicting two flirty women teasing a younger man.
Gilberto watched as Sara rushed into the kitchen. “I’ll make coffee,” she said. She came back out quickly, turned, and rushed down the hall, slamming her bedroom door.
Gilberto looked at Ramon as they heard the loud sobbing.
“Hear that? Gilberto said.
Ramon nodded and sighed. He looked around the living room and frowned. “A little too frou frou for me,” he said. “No place to just stretch out.”
“Maybe that’s what the bedroom’s for,” Gilberto said.
Ramon smiled. “Maybe on these rugs we should take off our shoes.
Gilberto shook his head no. “
Atop a mahogany bookcase were framed photographs, mostly of a younger collegiate Sara. Gilberto noticed several small photographs of men with scrawled inscriptions.
“That’s Buzz,” Gilberto said pointing to a crew cut youth in an argyle sweater. “I guess they must go back a long way.”
“Funny, he always looked like a nerd.” Ramon pointed to another photo. “That guy looks familiar,” he said.
Gilberto nodded, took out his phone and photographed each framed picture. “Doesn’t hurt to check things out.” He emailed the photos to Rain.
Sara swayed into the living room. She wore a loose green velour robe and elaborate embroidered slippers. Judging by how she swayed, Gilberto thought she had probably sedated herself, and it was already kicking in.
Her lids heavy, eyes glassy, she toyed with the zipper of her robe and looked seductively at Ramon.
She grinned. “We could order pizza. I’ve already put on coffee.”
She sat clumsily and patted the cushion beside her, smiling at Ramon. Her words slightly slurred, she said, “Please Ramon come sit beside me.”
“You feel all right now?” Ramon said.
Gilberto indicated the Sargent painting “That woman on the left is a good likeness of you,” he said.
Sara grinned. “That’s why I bought it. I love her eyes. They’re so mischievous.”
Ramon frowned, sighed and sat next to her reluctantly. Sara stretched her arms over her head and leaned back. ” Please Ramon be closer beside me. Gilberto won’t mind. We’re all friends.”
“That small inscribed photo to you is from Buzz,” Gilberto said “You must have known him for a long time.”
Hearing that made her grin. Whatever medication she had taken was kicking in stronger and she squirmed seductively unzipping and zipping the top of her robe. She took Ramon’s hand. “I’ll bet you could give a girl a real good time.”
“How long ago were you buddies with Buzz,” Gilberto asked, trying to distract her. “Must have been long before you came to Atlas.”
She ignored him and patted the cushioned seat. “Please Ramon, I need you closer beside me. I know Rosa won’t mind; she’ll understand. She’s my good friend.”
Gilberto chuckled. “What’s your idea of a good friend,” Sara.”
Hesitantly Ramon inched closer. Sara giggled and turned to face him her hands stroking his chest. “Oh don’t be such a stuffed shirt, Ramon. I know how that Latin blood inside you boils.”
She leaned against him, yawned, closed her eyes, drifted into sleep.
He looked at Gilberto and shook is head. Suddenly the fire alarm sounded in the kitchen.
Gilberto and Ramon left Sara on the couch and rushed in. The cord attached to the electric coffee maker had burst into flames.
Gilberto pulled the plug from its socket and put the whole thing into the sink. He opened his phone and called Rain. “Someone severed the electric cord sufficient so it wouldn’t fall apart but once it heated, would burn and cause a dangerous fire. I’ve got the plug disconnected, but this place could go up in flames. I don’t know what else an intruder might have done.”
“Sounds like she needs protection,” Rain said. “I’m on it. Be there in a few.”
“Well at least we know it’s not Buzz,” Gilberto said. “Someone else must have it in for her.”
“The ex-husband maybe?” Ramon said as they returned to the living room.
Gilberto shrugged. “Who knows?” They both looked at Sarah, who had stretched out on the couch and was clutching a pillow, snoring softly.
Rain arrived. With her were two agents who began examining the kitchen. “I think we should let whoever it is come at her and then grab him,” Rain said.
“Easier said than done,” Gilberto said.
“We’re running checks on those photos.”
Ramon picked up Sara and carried her into her bedroom, putting her down on her bed. He covered her with a thick patchwork quilt and left the room, closing the door.
“We have to protect her,” Gilberto said.
Ramon frowned. “Wish we knew from whom?”
“Maybe from herself,” Gilberto said softly. “Maybe all this is a game she’s spun like a spider web.
Rain perused the photos. She studied the large Sargent painting, carefully and lifted it off the wall. Built into the wall was a small safe.
“Now if we just had the key,” Rain said.
“”I’ll check the keys in her purse,” Ramon said.
Rain carefully ran her fingers against the back of the painting. “Ah ha,” she said and taking a small pen knife from her pocket she pried up the backing.
“Will you look at that,” Rain said, removing a thick wad of papers and currency.
“We’re not breaking any laws,” Gilberto asked. “You know search and seizure sort of thing?”
“I guess,” Rain said sounding deceptively vague. She took her phone and began photographing the papers. They ranged from documents to hand written correspondence dating back decades. Then she carefully rolled the paper back up and along with the cash returned it to where it had been. Then she and Gilberto hung the painting back on the wall.
The two tech experts came into the living room. “This place is wired for sound. Someone’s listening to everything said, for how long we have no idea.”
“I think we should awaken Sara Midgley,” Rain said. “See if she can tell us something.”
“Oh I’m sure she could tell us a lot.,” Ramon said.
Rain, Gilberto and Ramon walked down the hall to Sara’s bedroom. They opened the door. The room was empty. Sara Midgley was nowhere in sight.
The tall bedroom window was open. It gave out onto a fire escape.
Rain shook her head. “Someone either snatched her, she disappeared into thin air, or she’s a lot trickier than we’d have guessed,” she said.
Below the window a car sped away.
(To be continued)

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Kitty Kat’s Korner

5 Weird Cat Behaviors
By Audrey Pavia

Cats can be weird. They do things like knead on blankets as if they are making bread dough, bump you repeatedly with their heads for attention and chatter like parakeets when playing with their toys. As if all that wasn’t goofy enough, they sometimes zoom around the house for no apparent reason and stick their butts in your face when you try to pet them. Although cats do a bunch of wacky things that don’t make sense to us, according to experts, these behaviors make plenty of sense to cats.

Bump that head
When cats bump their heads against you, it’s a sign of affection. But what is behind this way of saying “I love you”?

“Head bumping and rubbing cheeks stem from scent rubbing, where cats release the ‘facial pheromone’ from their cheeks,” says Liv Hagen, manager of Shelter Behavior Services for the Animal Humane Society in Minnesota. “They rub this pheromone on objects and people they are claiming as theirs.”

The head, cheeks and neck are also the most comfortable places for a cat to receive petting, so this can be an offer for interaction that is positive for the cat.

“The cat is showing you what feels good,” she says.

Facial rubbing can also be a way for a cat to soothe herself when she is feeling unsure. “You may have noticed your friend’s shy cat keep her distance from you but rubs like crazy on the chair she’s sitting by,” Liv says. “This is a behavior that can help cats feel certain of something. ‘I don’t know you, and I feel a little stressed, but I do know this chair is mine, and that makes me feel better!’”

Need to knead
One of the most common yet mysterious behaviors cat owners often witness is kneading. Your cat places his front paws on a soft blanket, a pillow or your stomach, and begins to push in and pull out, alternating the left paw with the right. This action is often accompanied by a dazed expression and sometimes a drooly mouth.

According to Liv, kneading behavior in cats is a sign of contentment.

“Kneading may come from kittenhood, when cats knead during nursing,” she says. “Experiences that satisfy a biological need are very positive for animals, and the behaviors displayed during these experiences are tied to and thus can carry over to other positive ‘feel-good’ situations.”

Liv says that kneading begins as a response to the gratification of satisfying a biological need (like being close to Mom and getting milk) and then later translates to the need for affection, social interaction, comfort and safety.

“When a cat kneads on their human or other object, like a pile of blankets, it may be their way of acknowledging contentment and satisfaction,” she says.

Chat it up
If you have a cat, you’re probably no stranger to the “chatter.” Your cat spies a bird out the window or is stalking a toy. He starts to chatter his teeth and make little chirping sounds as he stares intently at his “prey.”

According to Jill Goldman, PhD, a certified applied animal behaviorist in Los Angeles, California, this chatter is one of at least 12 vocal sounds cats makes. So why do they do it?

“The chatter is believed to be an involuntary action while cats observe prey,” Dr. Goldman says. “Its function is uncertain, but it’s possible the juddering jaw movement is a recreation of the actions used by the cat to kill its prey.”

Gotta zoom
Watching your cat run around like a lunatic for no apparent reason can be pretty funny. Although it seems random, your cat has real motives for this crazy behavior.

“Zoomies can happen as spontaneous fun or can actually be in response to a specific trigger,” Liv says. “Sometimes, lack of play or an uncomfortable situation can trigger zoomies. If your cat has regular vet visits, a clean bill of health, and space to run and play hunting games, they are probably having a silly moment. Enjoy!”

Liv adds a word of caution for cat parents who are present during a session of feline zoomies.

“Zooming can be very arousing for cats,” she says. “Some cats flop over when they’re done with their zoom, but running and letting loose can also lead to overstimulation. Be aware of twitching, swatting and tail lashing, which all might be signs your cat is about to turn his exuberance onto you.”

In this situation, Liv recommends being ready to engage your cat with a wand toy or by tossing treats the cat can chase and “kill.”

Presenting the butt
You know how your cat likes to stick his tush in your face all the time? Turns out this behavior is related to head bumping. Presenting the butt is basically the tail end of the odor-exchange-social-greeting sequence, according to Dr. Goldman.

“When friendly cats scent exchange, they rub their bodies against one another, usually moving in opposite directions, starting head-to-head, then body, and ending with their butts facing one another,” Dr. Goldman says. “Cats rub their heads, bodies and tails alongside one another to exchange odors from scent glands located on their head, mouth, chin, ears and tail. This is likely why your cat’s butt ends up at your face: You weren’t moving in sync.”

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Georgia Nicols Weekly Horoscope: December 6, 2021 – December 12, 2021
The 2022 Annual Forecasts are available for pre-order. Annual Forecasts will be sent via e-mail on January 1st.

All Signs
This is a busy week. Unfortunately, everyone’s energy might be scattered in different directions. There’s a strong chance that by midweek, things will spin out of control but it’s nothing we can’t handle. (One hopes.) Be on the lookout for squabbles, which might erupt because of the confusion. Please remember: When the world gets wobbly, do not let anyone place blame, especially on you. Likewise, do not place blame on others. This is life, and caca happens. Look at your world like the kitchen sink. If there’s dirty dishes in the sink, roll up your sleeves and begin. You gotta start somewhere. (Of course, when the going gets tough – the tough hire help.)

Aries (March 21-April 19)
On Monday, you feel pumped with new ideas, future travel plans and meeting people who are different. Interesting! By Tuesday, the situation might start to look a bit shaky. “Is this even doable?” By Wednesday, someone might be angry, possibly about shared property, debt, or who is responsible for what. By Thursday, someone is sulking. (Doubtful that it’s you, you don’t waste time sulking. You speak up!) On Friday, tread carefully. Don’t believe everything you hear, especially if someone is throwing shade on someone else. Get the facts before you leap to conclusions. By Saturday, a sigh of relief! A rainbow! Things are lighthearted and social. Fun occasions beckon to you. “I’m on it!

Taurus (April 20-May 20)
At the beginning of the week, you feel confident and encouraged, especially about financial matters. Furthermore, travel for pleasure looks promising! However, by Tuesday, there seems to be doubt about some of your plans. (Certainly, doubt about something going on around you.) Double check details about inheritances, shared property, taxes, debt and insurance matters because things are fuzzy. (“Whaaat?”) By Wednesday and Thursday, the gloves are off. Conflict with partners, spouses or close friends is something you might have to face. Caution against the blame game or gas lighting someone. In turn, don’t let anyone do this to you. Hang in there because by Saturday, things turn completely around. You’re happy, in fact, you’ve got big ideas!

Gemini (May 21-June 20)
The Sun is still directly opposite your sign along with Mercury, which means you have a strong focus on partners, spouses and close friends at this time. (This happens for four weeks only once a year.) Although this week begins on a nice high note, things begin to get out of hand on Tuesday; and by Wednesday, conflict with coworkers or someone who might have something to do with your health could be an aggravation. This conflict might also focus on your pet. On Thursday, someone will play the guilt game. “Hey, I wasn’t even there.” Fortunately, by the weekend, all of this is history. That’s why it’s wise to keep your eye on the future – after all, you’re going to spend the rest of your life there.

Cancer (June 21-July 22)
For starters, no matter what happens this week (and this week is a roller coaster ride), the strong theme throughout is that you’re ready to work and get stuff done. Oh yeah. You will be productive and you will get results. Factoid. Monday is a solid day. You’re happy. By Tuesday, some distinct confusion (can confusion be distinct?) enters the picture. You might be misled by someone either innocently or on purpose. Be careful. Keep your eyes open. By midweek, conflict with kids, romantic partners and people in the entertainment world and the hospitality industry will be an aggravation for you. Cope as best you can. Hang in there because by the weekend everything is much happier! (Whew! What a relief!)

Leo (July 23-Aug. 22)
This week is a party hard, work hard week. Or to put a finer point on it, it’s more like a love/hate week. (Or a happy/angry week?) Actually, the week starts off great! However, some kind of confusion with a romantic partner might disappoint you. (Remember: Unexpressed expectations almost always bring disappointment.) Or there might be some confusion, even deception, dealing with your kids? By midweek, family arguments or tension with a family member is likely. This might even relate to the fact that you’re very passionate about something with your work (perhaps a coworker?) Just cope as best you can with patience and grace — after all, you are royalty. By Saturday, everything is back to normal and feelings are good. They are also passionate! Possibly, you have ambitious ideas about work?

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22)
This week your focus on home, family and home repairs continues. Fortunately, it begins in a beautiful way on Monday; but by Tuesday, something confusing might be going on at home. Perhaps a misunderstanding with a family member. “You called me just to tell me that?” By midweek, Wednesday/Thursday, because fiery Mars is in your House of Communications, you might be a tad aggressive when talking to others. Be careful about coming on too strong, which will defeat your purpose if you want to have a two-way conversation. Patience will help. Romance is very passionate this week. Likewise, you might feel equally as passionate about sports or something to do with the entertainment world. By Saturday, everything is copacetic. Thank goodness. A wild and crazy week.

Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22)
Your fast pace and busy schedule continue with errands, short trips and appointments. Plus, you’re eager to talk to many people. (You always welcome opportunities for lively conversations.) More than any other sign, your surroundings are important to you because you are affected by your immediate environment – colour, smells, layout and design etc. This week you might have strong feelings about a redecorating project or about how your home looks or how you want to entertain. What might seem to be a casual thing to someone else, is important to you. Perhaps this is why you have some squabbles midweek, especially about finances or the cost of an entertaining event? Be clear in all your communications with others because confusion is rampant.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21)
Okay –this is a tricky week. You continue to have a strong focus on money, cash flow and earnings. Mars in your sign, will make you aggressive and ready to go after whatever you want. Mars is your ancient ruler, which is why you are a forceful and direct sign. (Read: In your face.) To begin with, Monday is a smooth day but by midweek, confusion and deception might anger you or make you feel disappointed. The confusion might be about the ownership of something, or how to spend an allotted amount of money. Fortunately, Venus in your House of Communications, will soften your words and make you diplomatic. Venus will also help you to see the beauty of your daily surroundings. (Bonus.) By Saturday, life is easier!

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 21)
This week has challenges for everyone. Fortunately, you have the advantage of having both the Sun and Mercury in your sign, which means things will tend to go your way. Monday looks great! However, on Tuesday, confused communications with a parent or a family member might make things go sideways. This might even trigger conflict that arises midweek, especially about a hidden secret or something going on behind the scenes. You have strong feelings when it comes to money and your possessions this week. There is something you want to do. Hopefully, it will be resolved by Saturday because you’re definitely smiling by then. That’s good.

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 19)
This week has mixed messages and different influences for you. In one way, you’ll be strong and aggressive, and willing to fight for your rights, especially with groups. But in another way, you will prefer to retire and play things low-key. This will be particularly evident on Wednesday/ Thursday, when tension with others will be apparent. Possibly, you’re upset because of a deception? Or a hidden secret? Whatever happens, with Venus in your sign now, you’ll be graceful and diplomatic, regardless of how you feel. This is still a good week to buy wardrobe items for yourself. Just do it!

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 18)
Your popularity continues! In particular, you will enjoy the company of younger people. However, on Tuesday, some kind of confusion or deception might disappoint you. This could be related to a hidden love or a hidden love affair? Because Mars is at the top of your chart, your ambition is aroused. This also means if someone stands in your way, or you feel thwarted by the efforts of others, you will defend yourself! This could put you in conflict with someone around Wednesday/Thursday. Don’t get your belly in a rash because eventually, all of this subsides and by Saturday, you’re laughing!

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20)
The Sun is still at high noon in your chart casting you in a flattering spotlight. Monday is a lovely day. By Tuesday, you will encounter confusion. By Wednesday and Thursday, arguments about social issues, racism, politics and religion might grip you. These arguments might resolve nothing. Issues like these need a logical, calm mind to make any headway. Fortunately, a passionate friendship is important to you this week, and it will be a comfort to you. (For some, this passion will be so strong that possibly, a friend will become a lover.) In either case, your ideals are strong. (All of this brouhaha will be settled by Saturday.)

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Weekly Horoscopes Beginning Sunday, 05 December 2021

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 sometimes complain that so many rely on you, and in so many ways; but deep down, you’re happy to help and, being an Aries, have more energy and confidence than most. The challenge? Now you need both support and, especially, insights about tricky matters. Ask for it. This may seem strange, but what you learn about yourself and others will be life-changing.

Someone’s suggestion to try a new hobby will get your immediate interest. If you do not know this person well, you will do so, soon. Activities shared will bring you closer together. This could mark the start of a romance for you if you are single. A housemate will suggest you don’t have time to take on anything new but you will feel differently. You aren’t going to change your mind once you’ve decided on something.

It’s true that Aries can act hastily but don’t underestimate your ability to probe beneath the surface, alter direction or inspire others. All these traits should surface following on from Saturday’s Solar Eclipse. True, this particular eclipse could get off to a slow start and yes, there is the possibility that by mid-week you will be infuriated that others aren’t seizing the moment and riding the crest of a wave with you. Yet it may be that you need to get fired up before you can fire-up others! All that is possible given it’s likely that you’ll have new aims to announce before the working week given that from Monday 13th, you will likely be pushing forward on new platform.

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

Your horoscope for this week:

Yet again, you’ve managed to sidestep certain arrangements that would lead to far-reaching changes. While these have been discussed for ages, you’ve managed to avoid them, mostly because things just didn’t feel right. Actually, that’s a sign changes are timely, if not breakthroughs. Learn to recognise, and embrace these, and you’ll streamline the process of growth that’s becoming an increasingly important element of your life.

You don’t expect everything to go as anticipated. That’s why you will leave yourself time for the unexpected. What you do intend to keep perfectly planned is finances. You will keep to your budget this Christmas and this will call for you to start preparing well in advance. You’ve always been savvy to consumerism and nothing will tempt you to make purchases you can’t afford. A workmate’s selfish behaviour will surprise you. You’re starting to realise just what kind of person they really are.

Saturday’s Solar Eclipse was a special kind of new Moon. Hopefully, it has ushered in fresh energy. It’s unlikely you’ll feel this much before Wednesday however. You may then be propelled into action by others who are determined to have you on their team or in their army. They’re likely not wrong in thinking that you have talents that are underused. Yet it’s possible that they’re underestimating your entrepreneurial spirit. It may be that though you see merit in their ideas, you also realise that you could initiate these yourself. In short, the struggle may be between whether or not you are employed or become the employer. Obviously much depends on your personal chart, but over the next couple of weeks especially this theme will likely be heard again and again and advice prove invaluable.

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

Your horoscope for this week:

The fact is, certain activities and alliances are just plain dull. The solution? It’s to let go of what isn’t working; and soon. That may seem risky; but as events unfold, now and over the coming weeks, you’ll realise you’re finally free to explore in ways that previously weren’t possible. By the pivotal Gemini Full Moon on the 19th, your path will be clear.

Promises you made someone can’t be fulfilled. Other obligations will get in the way and you might feel guilty now for having put yourself in this position. You aren’t deliberately trying to get out of an obligation although someone will accuse you of doing so. Midweek is not a good time to make a big decision about your health or career. There will be occasions when you might choose to take action, no matter what anyone else might say.

There is very real danger that you could overlook or forget something important in the first half of the week. Note that Saturday’s Solar Eclipse (a special kind of new Moon), brought fresh energy. Others are now ready to move in new direction. It may be that other that you’re hindering others by not having completed certain tasks and require a near military approach to get this done in the second half of the week. Don’t underestimate your ability to focus when you have to! True, you might need to gather strength from Taurus, Leo, Scorpio or Aquarius friends. Their fixation in getting a task done – and to their satisfaction – could actually prove helpful. With Mars moving into your opposite sign early next week, it really would be advisable to conclude what you can before this Friday: especially if plans are in any way related to distribution, publishing or education.

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

Your horoscope for this week:

Events, most welcome and some thrilling, have kept you busy. So much, in fact, you’re just now recognising you’ve been neglecting looking after yourself and your interests – practical, financial and otherwise. Not only is there no rush, begin now and you can slowly reflect on whether some changes should be more far-reaching or there’s more exploring to do. If so, the time to begin is now.

It’s all due to your skills, knowledge and past experience that you are able to resolve a workplace problem. Those in high places will be suitably impressed and this puts you in line for a promotion. Discussions around Thursday will make it pretty clear someone has been keeping something secret from you. Once you’ve had a chance to think about it you will decide that what was once important to you doesn’t really matter anymore.

Recall that Saturday’s New Moon was also a Solar Eclipse. These events are important but generally don’t bring something incredible on the day itself. It takes time for the energy to build. It would under be understandable – especially given how sensitive you are to the lunation cycle, if you felt slightly lost and adrift as the week begins. That situation will change. By Wednesday, your creativity should once again be at height. True, you might also need to deal with major and complex financial issues. Yet by then, you’ll likely to be in the mood to address these and, before the First Quarter Moon on Friday, move tentatively into areas about which you have as yet little knowledge. It might also be useful to use the second half of this week to clear the decks as best you can, – given that once Mars arrives in the worker-bee area of your solar chart next Monday, your daily workload should increase dramatically.

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

Your horoscope for this week:

It’s been a busy, often exciting but, also, demanding period. Now, however, the focus shifts from the wider world to your own life, loves and activities. While you needn’t worry about problems, certain matters and, even more, certain individuals need your attention. Move swiftly, and it will be easy to make up for lost time. Wait, and things will become more complicated by the day.

You’re ready to move ahead with plans recently discussed. Results will be quickly seen and this will make it possible to get even further ahead with this later in the week. You are justified in feeling proud of your efforts when you hadn’t expected to make such good progress. Other people will benefit from the decisions you are now making and because of this you won’t be short of support to help you achieve your aims. In fact, help is always at hand when you need it.

There is still drama in the air. Until Saturn and Uranus complete their apparent right angle on December 24, the ‘war’ between needing to break away from existing roles and embrace new ways or working and living could leave you feeling torn in two. Following on from Saturday’s Solar Eclipse others could press you answers. Perhaps they need to know your plans before they can make their own decisions. Anticipate being pressed into discussing major issues mid-week. True, you might not have answers ready. What should be revealing is the number of people who offer support. Through networking, you could yet attract the very advice and practical assistance you need for making that now obvious step forward.

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

Your horoscope for this week:

There are times when you’re so preoccupied with tidying up the chaos created by others – from family or friends, to colleagues – you deal with one task after another. However, you’ll have noted how several events point out the need to rethink, if not substantially change, certain arrangements. The problem? Others will hate the idea. The solution? Do it discreetly. They’ll never know.

You have a hard-working nature and you are used to coping under pressure. Responsibilities are increasing and you handle this well. You are prepared as you expected this to be a busy time but others aren’t as organised. It will be up to you whether or not you help them. Services will be disrupted later. This won’t affect everyone when the problem seems to be geographically localised. This is why some people find it hard to believe what is going on.

Saturday’s solar eclipse brought attention to the backbone of your solar chart. This is the first eclipse of its kind since 2002. Eclipses may be viewed as knots on a thread that span several centuries although each is different as the backdrop is set against different planetary alignments. The cosmos never does exact repeats. Yet you may be aware that you’ve come to the end of a cycle – most likely connected to working and living relationships and now need to move into something that is steadier and perhaps yes, involves those born under Taurus, Leo, Scorpio or Pisces. Developing ideas with these individuals should gather pace and mid-week.

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

Your horoscope for this week:

For ages you’ve been sidestepping several tricky situations. Usually, you’re the one who’s guiding others around potential difficulties. However, while you’ve long known about these matters, the problems you’re facing erupted suddenly. Tempting as it is, don’t try to deal with these yourself. Get others involved, both because you can use their support but, also, they’ve a lot to learn about such matters. That time has come.

When you think about all you have to do this month, you might realise you’ve taken on more than you can comfortably handle. It’s not going to be easy to escape some commitments now you have made them but you might consider reducing your responsibilities. Are you single? A colleague has a Christmas twinkle in their eye. They will make it obvious they have a romantic interest in you at one of the first Works festive get together you attend.

Saturday’s Solar Eclipse offered a fresh start for all signs. Yet this one could get off to a sluggish start. By Tuesday you might even be confused. That situation will pass. The likelihood is that you need more and better information: prompting thoughts about further training in 2022. Indeed, you could be encouraged to do this – most likely buy a Scorpio who can see that you’re now ready to do the necessary in-depth research and questioning. It’s probable too, that by the first Quarter Moon on Friday 10th, that you’ll be encouraged to improve fitness generally (physical and spiritual). While most would agree that the work-play balance is never precisely right, it could be that yours is particularly awry and that that situation needs to be addressed before end of year.

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

Your horoscope for this week:

When certain tricky issues arose, you felt it would be better if nothing was said. While, at the time that made sense, since then the resulting lack of information has caused serious confusion, for others and, as a result, there’ve been misunderstandings. Unappealing as the idea of reviewing this from the beginning seems, it’s the only solution. The sooner you do it, the better.

You would be bored without anything to do. That’s why if you have recently finished a project, you will need something new to get your teeth into. Besides, accepting new responsibilities is the best way, at present, to gain further challenges. The pleasure you get from taking these on will fill any gaps in your life. A work or social event will not go exactly as planned which will be disappointing but considering new approaches is all you need to do to turn this situation back in your favour.

Saturday’s Solar Eclipse in neighbouring Sagittarius offered a fresh start for all signs. Eclipses do mark beginnings. Yet they can take some time before they deliver on any promise. In this instance, the focus is very much on your working relationships and your value within them. It could be that pay matters are given much consideration. It might also be that you need to alter strategy as regards information sourcing. This would be an interesting development! It’s likely you’re now more interested in global events and specifically, what’s happening in neighbouring countries. Whilst this needn’t necessarily alter your career path, the fact that by the First Quarter Moon on Friday colleagues are aware of this developing interest might also lead to you being invited to a key meeting.

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

Your horoscope for this week:

Ordinarily you’ve a talent for turning even the most unsettling events to your advantage and, in the process, ensuring that others benefit too. However, with the Sagittarius eclipsed New Moon on 4 December triggering serious shakeups, even simple arrangements have been in chaos. Actually, that’s the good news. These will break up old patterns and, better yet, lead to discussions as timely as they are far-reaching.

You hadn’t expected so many people to object to your plans and ideas. This makes you wonder where you are going wrong and what made you expect a more enthusiastic response. Did you miss out on some conversations that would have given you a better impression of other people’s feelings? Whatever your plans, don’t give up. Eventually others will come round to your way of thinking and before the week is over, the Wheel of Fortune will spin in your favour.

Saturday’s eclipse was in your sign. This ‘sophisticated New Moon’ offers so much but yes, will take time (as much as three quarters of a year) to develop. Energy will be boosted when Mars arrives at this same degree in a couple of weeks’ time. This then, is a period of preparation. It seems likely that you’re full of plans and have much to discuss. You also know where the brick walls are i.e., what is and what is not possible. By mid-week, and reassured by a small team or army that all is yet achievable, you could cast doubts aside and make significant progress. Interestingly, it doesn’t seem to be so much the financial investment involved that holds you back, but perhaps physical limitations. You perhaps need support from a Capricorn (or someone willing to take extra responsibility) to find a way around restrictions and to find the best pathways to follow when Mars reaches Sagittarius on 13th.

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

Your horoscope for this week:

Few things annoy you more than when somebody takes over decision-making, then ignores crucial practical requirements. Tempting as it is to rush to the rescue, the only way those in charge will learn is by facing, and dealing with, the matters in question. The irony is, you’re likely to learn just as much from their solutions, which are entirely different from anything you’d have imagined possible.

You could be neglecting other matters due to you devoting yourself towards one specific area. On realising this you will also see the sense of taking a more flexible approach to everything you do. A career matter you’ve been worried about isn’t showing any signs of being resolved. You’re tired of having this hanging over you and you are ready to take action to put this problem behind you once and for all. This may involve issuing an ultimatum.

This is one of those curious times when you really could be ahead of the game. Following on from Saturday’s solar eclipse, and whilst Venus is still travelling through your sign, you could make real headway. Whereas in the past design may not have grabbed your attention, by mid-week you may be acutely aware of the value of getting things just right in this department. Spending a little extra to ensure this is the case might not be a problem either. Before the First Quarter Moon on Friday, you, perhaps alone amongst all the other signs, seem to be particularly aware of getting details right. Whether you’re involved in an advertising platform or simply want to display products and talents, the effort you put in, should reap great reward when Mars reaches your sign in the early part of next year.

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

Your horoscope for this week:

Recently, you’ve had to acknowledge certain once-cherished arrangements – personal, creative or professional – can’t continue as they are. While this saddens you, it’s also destiny challenging you to take an entirely new approach. The objective? It’s not about saving them as they are, but considering what would work in the future. Be bold and imaginative. The more daring your efforts, the bigger the payoff will be.

You might regret having turned down a recent offer or opportunity. You feel you are missing out now. Go back and show your interest. It isn’t too late to try again and it could turn out the chance is still there to take someone up on their offer. A gift you had been hoping to buy someone could cost considerably more than expected. If you spend some time shopping around, you could find a suitable alternative at a more affordable price.

Obviously much depends on your exact birthday, but surely, 2021 has proved challenging for all Aquarians. The presence of both Jupiter and Saturn in your sign is both a curse and a blessing. The blessing comes from the opportunities that Jupiter brings. The apparent curse from Saturn is that it demands you take more responsibility (or closes a door just as you reach it!). Yet with Saturday’s Solar Eclipse came a fresh burst of energy. By mid-week when Mars moves to right angle with Jupiter in your sign, you should be ready to deploy fresh strategy even though your expectations will likely have been modified. You might also realise that it’s essential to join forces – most likely with those of other cultures or who speak several languages or have multiple skills. These individuals could in fact be your passport to better times.

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

Your horoscope for this week:

On occasion, you reorganise elements of your life, not because it’s needed. Rather, long ago you realised how informative a good shakeup can be. Recently, however, events prompted this, and necessitated getting others involved. That led to complications, mostly because not everybody understood how rethinking things could refresh both existing arrangements and provide a new vision for the future. If anybody can teach them, you can.

A group effort is taking up a lot of your time and energy. A lot is being expected from you. Taking some time off, occasionally, will do you good. You have a rough idea on what to expect from a test or interview that’s scheduled for later in the week. Even so, it won’t be until you get the results that you will breathe out a huge sigh of relief. Some team bonding and having a great time will keep you relaxed in the weekend.

The full impact of Saturday’s Solar Eclipse and the effect on your career, hopes and aspirations, might not be felt until after Mars changes sign next week. These next seven days all about preparation, investigation and applying due diligence. This should be regarded as imperative and urgent. You may need assistance too – specifically from a Scorpio or Aquarius. Though taking different approaches, they could alert you to potential pitfalls while simultaneously guiding you through an administrative maze. With this accomplished however, and by the First Quarter Moon in your sign on Friday, you could be armed and well prepared and yes, energised ready to seize the moment as soon as Mars arrives in Sagittarius next Monday.

~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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“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,
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Merry Meet and Merry Part
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Goddess Bless!
GrannyMoon

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By GrannyMoon Posted in Pagan

GrannyMoons Weekly Feast: 28 Nov 2021

Friends live within my heart
May the Earth keep you safe
The Sun keep you warm
And the Moon help you to see any harm.
Till we meet again.

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

The Moons

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 This Month

Celtic Month of Elder – November 24th to December 23rd
Goddess Month of Astraea – November 28- December 25

November
November 30th,
the night of Hecate Trivia, the night of the crossroads.

December
Dec 4: New Moon,
More powerful and longer-lasting than a regular New Moon because it is also a total Solar Eclipse. The strongest planetary influence on the Solar Eclipse is a challenging quincunx aspect to Uranus that brings unexpected changes.

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Sunday Classes with GrannyMoon at Sticks and Stones, Fairfax, VA

December
Face to Face Class: 1–3:00 ~ WitchCrafting – Dec 5
Face to Face Class: 1–3:00 ~ The Herbal Cauldron – Dec 12
Face to Face Class: Noon–2:00 ~ The Magick of Crystals – Dec 19

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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:
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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!
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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!
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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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Pearls of Wisdom Tarot

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Being Truly Thankful

Our gratitude deepens when we begin to be thankful for being alive and living the life we are living.

Often when we practice being thankful, we go through the process of counting our blessings, acknowledging the wonderful people, things and places that make up our reality. While it is fine to be grateful for the good fortune we have accumulated, true thankfulness stems from a powerful comprehension of the gift of simply being alive, and when we feel it, we feel it regardless of our circumstances. In this deep state of gratitude, we recognize the purity of the experience of being, in and of itself, and our thankfulness is part and parcel of our awareness that we are one with this great mystery that is life.

It is difficult for most of us to access this level of consciousness as we are very caught up in the ups and downs of our individual experiences in the world. The thing to remember about the world, though, is that it ebbs and flows, expands and contracts, gives and takes, and is by its very nature somewhat unreliable. If we only feel gratitude when it serves our desires, this is not true thankfulness. No one is exempt from the twists and turns of fate, which may, at any time, take the possessions, situations, and people we love away from us. Ironically, it is sometimes this kind of loss that awakens us to a thankfulness that goes deeper than just being grateful when things go our way. Illness and near-miss accidents can also serve as wake-up calls to the deeper realization that we are truly lucky to be alive.

We do not have to wait to be shaken to experience this state of being truly thankful for our lives. Tuning in to our breath and making an effort to be fully present for a set period of time each day can do wonders for our ability to connect with true gratitude. We can also awaken ourselves with the intention to be more aware of the unconditional generosity of the life force that flows through us regardless of our circumstances.

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Witch’s Homestead Spell
N
OVEMBER 28, 2021 BY STORM FAERYWOLF

This spell will help enchant your home, making it a sacred place of love, magic, healing, power, and protection.

Gather these materials:

  • Lavender flowers
  • Cinnamon
  • Rose petals
  • Sea salt
  • A large bowl
  • 3 pieces of ribbon or yarn: black, red, and green

Ground and center. Using your hands, mix the salt and herbs together in the bowl while saying:

Lavender, cinnamon, rose, and salt,
All baneful spirits you do halt.
Be now filled with health and love,
And draw forth power from above.

Imagine the light of the sun and moon shining down through you to empower this mixture, then sprinkle it around your property to form a barrier and container.

Now take your three pieces of ribbon or yarn and braid them together while chanting:

Ribbons black and red and green,
Bring power from the dark unseen.
Ribbons green and red and black,
Send all unwanted forces back.

Attach this talisman to your front door.
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Gratitude Meditation
NOVEMBER 22, 2021 BY DEBORAH BLAKE

It is always good to take an attitude of gratitude. No matter how difficult things might be, or what you might feel your life is lacking, there are still so many ways in which you are fortunate. It can be helpful to occasionally take the time to remind yourself of all that you have.

Light a white candle in a firesafe container and place it where it can’t be knocked over. Then sit or stand comfortably in front of it. Take a few deep breaths and focus on the beauty of the light. Then close your eyes and meditate for a while on the blessings in your life. These may be as simple as food on the table, a cat for company, good weather, or a job you enjoy. Don’t forget to be grateful for the very act of breathing. When you are done, blow out the candle with gratitude for its light and warmth.
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Journey Spell
NOVEMBER 23, 2021 BY SAPPHIRE MOONBEAM

When traveling, one of the best stones to take with you on your journey is black tourmaline. It is one of the most widely used stones for grounding and spiritual protection. This stone can also be used to remove negative energies around you.

Before you leave on your travels, place the black tourmaline in your receptive hand (which is usually the left hand if you are right-handed and vice versa). Close your eyes, concentrate on the energy of the stone, and imagine yourself arriving safely at your destination. After you have visualized your safe arrival, place the black tourmaline stone in a small bag that you use for crystals and stones. Keep this bag either on your person, in a pocket, or in a handbag until you arrive back home.
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Spirit Element Meditation
NOVEMBER 24, 2021 BY EMBER GRANT

Of all the elements, spirit is the most intangible. To get in touch with the element of spirit, adorn your altar with black and white decorations, white candles, and clear quartz crystals. Sit before your altar in the candlelight and hold a pentacle in your hands. Visualize yourself at the center of the universe, connecting with the energy of all things. You are everywhere and nowhere all at once. Whisper this chant to help with focus if necessary:

Transcend, transcend;
the beginning and the end
will blend. Find the center,
the beginning, and the end—
I enter. Feel the spirit,
above and below, over and under.
Let it fill me with wisdom
and with wonder.
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Thank Mother Earth Ritual
NOVEMBER 25, 2021 BY JAMES KAMBOS

The Thanksgiving celebration centers around food, so it seems only right to honor Mother Earth on this holiday. For this ritual of thanks, prepare your menu and set your table as usual. However, be sure to include a dish of corn. Corn is associated with the mother goddess and is one of the most sacred of all foods. You may simply heat up some canned or frozen corn. Place the dish of corn near the head of the table. When everyone is seated, the host/hostess should briefly raise the dish of corn, then say alone or as a group:

Mother Earth, we’ve scarred
you, but you still give.
Your bounty allows us to live.
With caring hearts and working hands,
We thank your soil found in all lands.
Let us honor you in this small way,
As we give thanks on this
Thanksgiving Day.

Reserve a few kernels of corn. Later, scatter the reserved corn outside on the earth.
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Anti-Black Friday Gratitude Ritual
NOVEMBER 26, 2021 BY THORN MOONEY

The holiday season is a wonderful time to enjoy friends and family, but it can be easy to forget that this doesn’t have to include overspending, overconsumption, or the stress that can sometimes surround shopping for others. To remind yourself of the blessings you already have and encourage closeness with loved ones, do this ritual, either alone or with a group.

Place a bowl in the middle of the table. Each participant should have a pile of tokens of some kind. You may use marbles, beads, pieces of candy, or practically anything small. Everyone should have at least ten tokens.

Take turns going around and dropping a token in the bowl while expressing gratitude for a blessing in your life. Be as specific as possible. You must take a turn for each token, which may mean that you have to dig a little! A higher number of tokens challenges participants to reach for blessings they might otherwise have forgotten about.
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Knot Magic Manifestation
NOVEMBER 27, 2021 BY DALLAS JENNIFER COBB

To manifest something, use knot magic to focus your intent. Take a three-foot-long piece of string or cord. Close your eyes and envision what you want to bring into reality. As you tie each of nine knots, say the phrase below, and in as much detail as possible, see your desires coming to fruition. When the cord is complete, keep it on your altar so it stays in sight and you continue to draw your desires to you.

By knot of one, my magic has begun.
By knot of two, my words ring true.
By knot of three, things come to me.
By knot of four, I create more.
By knot of five, this energy is alive.
By knot of six, this spell is fixed.
By knot of seven, the answer is given.
By knot of eight, I align with fate.
By knot of nine, this thing is mine.
So be it.

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Heartwings Love Notes 1010 Kindness of Neighbors

Heartwings says, “A neighbor can be someone you are close to in your heart whether or not they live next door.”

“Hello, my name is Mark Blazis, I’m your neighbor.” A tall man with kind eyes stood on my doorstep holding out a bag of day-old bread. “I thought maybe you could use this.” I thanked him, and that was the start of my long association with Mark Blazis and his dear wife Helen. From time to time he would stop at a local bakery, pick up bread and bring it to me and others. I was often the beneficiary of his generosity. His mother, who lived in Worcester, and I, also became fast friends and spoke on the phone nearly every day.

There were no neighbors nearby where I grew up. I have been fortunate in having very special ones since. He and Helen were lovely ones. We often exchanged gardening tips and family news over tea. Years earlier, when I lived in Manchester by the Sea I had a neighborhood with wonderful neighbors. One in particular was a glorious source of help and information about sewing and other things. Too, while our younger children were friends, her older daughter used to babysit mine.
All of this was long ago. The world has grown smaller since. First the Internet, then Zoom as well as a growing field of other methods of communication have made it possible to think of people across oceans as neighbors. I once wrote a song that has proved to be prophetic. It began “The world is a worldwide neighborhood, with neighbors on every side.” I have friends and neighbors everywhere now, and meet more all the time.

The funeral home doors were wide open. My young friend and I joined the line, standing before the steps as more and more people arrived for Mark’s visiting hours. Dying suddenly and unexpectedly though he did, people still found out and gathered in the hundreds to pay tribute to his gifts to them and to the world of nature. My young friend and I moved slowly through the rooms for about forty-five minutes.
Then I spotted a sofa and sat down for a bit of a rest. The lines snaked in and out of many rooms as the people who knew Mark waited patiently to speak with his family. My friend spotted a wheelchair sitting folded up in a corner, pointed to it and said, “Would you like to sit in it? I’ll push you.” I thought that was a capital idea. As I got on, people in the line helped me get settled, unfolding the foot rests. How kind. Now I no longer had to stand. Though feeling rather weary, I felt blessed.
About fifteen minutes passed as we inched forward. Suddenly another blessing was granted me: one of the funeral directors appeared and said, “Come with me. He guided us past the long lines of people, right to the family. We were able to pay our respects and then the director helped my friend bring her car to the handicapped entrance. I said goodbye to the helpful wheelchair and returned it to the corner. I had to wonder if my dear neighbor, Mark, had somehow done me one last favor and sent the kind man to my aid.

May you be a good neighbor to others and receive the same back.
Blessings and best regards, Tasha Halpert

P.S. Do you have any stories to share? Your emails make my day. I feel so grateful to be able to share mine with you, and when you share with me it is so special. Thank you for reading my Love Notes too. You can write to me with comments and or suggestions at tashahal@aol.com. Please visit me at http://www.heartingsandfriends.com.

Just to announce my publication! “Poems and Prayers” is now live and available for purchase in the Kindle Store! The ebook is out and the print book is coming,so excited! More to come when the printbook is available. Tasha

Hello,

Congratulations, your book “Poems and Prayers” is now live and available* for purchase in the Kindle Store! If you republished your book, your changes will be live in 24 hours.

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Creativity, Mental Health, and Well Being: A Case for the Bardic Arts
by Dana ~ The Druid’s Garden

Creativity is the birthright of all people. When humans are young, play and creativity are central to our own development. Children don’t worry about it being ‘good’; they just make things, play with crayons, laugh, dance, and sing. They play. As children get older, school and society often discourage individual creativity and play, particularly in a culture that values economic growth above all else. The result of this has been a stifling sense of creativity, with many adults believing in the myth of talent (that you have to be good at something immediately to practice it creatively) or insisting they have no creativity.

The bardic arts are those in the druid tradition that focuses on creative works: storytelling, creative writing, fine arts, fine crafts, and any other endeavor where you are building in your creativity. The ancient bards were part of the druid community and were the storytellers and historians of their people; undergoing rigorous training and learning how to pass on the legacies and traditions of their community. In the druid tradition today, we see any creative practice–for the good of the self, community, or unknown others–as part of the path of bardic arts. Druids see practicing the bardic arts and cultivating creativity as a spiritual act. Even with this positive framing, many people feel they “aren’t creative” and may be blocked.

Hence, culturally, we live in a world where a lot of people are discouraged from creating anything–and while this is starting to change due to the challenges of the last few years, I think we have a long way to go. Not being able to cultivate a sense of play and creativity has serious implications for our mental health and well-being. In this post, I’ll explore some of the reasons that creativity is good for all of us, drawing upon scientific research as well as druid sensibilities.

(I’ll also point readers to my longstanding series on the bardic arts, which can be found in these articles: taking up the path of the bard part 1, part 2, and part 3; cultivating awen in your life, bardic storytelling, bardic arts and the ancestors, and visioning the future. I’ll also point readers to my 2019 OBOD Mount Hameus lecture on the bardic arts in the druid tradition!)

Creativity, Bardic Arts, and Mental Health
The idea that creative practices are tied to mental well-being has a fairly well-established history. In the 19th century, treating mental illness with the bardic arts was standard medical practice. This was before the age of pharmaceuticals and modern industrial treatments. According to this study from 2016, the idea of “therapeutic mental health landscapes” was common. People would be surrounded by gardens, beautiful trees, and landscapes, and be able to engage in a number of creative practices as therapy. This same kind of thinking: that creative practices have therapeutic effects can be found in research on World War I soldiers, in managing anxiety disorders, in helping individuals with compassion fatigue, and in managing depression. Studies from 2012 and 2008 demonstrated that women who engage in quilting and other crafts-based activities in their leisure time have more mental well-being and general happiness than those that do not. Similar findings are true for “men’s sheds” that provide socializing and opportunities to work wood. These are just some of the hundreds of studies that demonstrate the efficacy of creative practices on well-being and mental health.

Scientific research has begun to explore the relationship between creativity and mental illness, both psychologically and genetically. This study from 2015 examined the relationship between schizophrenia and bipolar disorder and creativity. The study used a mathematical model to predict whether people who were diagnosed with mental illnesses had a higher disposition for creativity–and sure enough, they did. This led the researchers to suggest that creativity and certain mental illnesses may have the same genetic base. One study from 2003 explores divergent thinking (when people have to be creative within constraints) and makes the case that there there is a spectrum between creativity/genius and psychosis and madness/psychopathy. Thus, individuals may fall at different points on this spectrum. Most recently, genetic research suggests that one gene, the COM-T gene, may be linked to creative thinking. This same gene is also linked to certain forms of psychosis, such as schizophrenia. From this research, we see some link between creativity and mental illness.

In my own study of the creative arts within the druid tradition, I found that creativity helped address mental health challenges and create stability in a tumultuous world. As part of my 2018 Mount Haemus lecture, I surveyed 266 druids worldwide about their creative practices. Many, many participants felt that their bardic arts were necessary to their functioning as human beings. It wasn’t that bardic arts was simply a hobby to them, but rather, it was a critical and integral part of their own lives and helped with their well functioning. In my survey, of those who regularly practiced bardic arts, almost half responded in this way to the question “Why do you practice the bardic arts” with a discussion about mental illness and/or health and well-being. Some of their answers included: “My creative practices are akin to my breathing. I would be lost without them” and “I practice bardic arts to stay sane and grounded”; “Bardic arts help me navigate the difficulties of life.” Thus, 50% of my participants used creative practices not only for self-expression but for mental balance. Some people used the bardic arts to make sense of the world itself, while others used it to help process issues relating to their personal life or broadly to 21st-century life.

A personal example offers another interesting point to this discussion. On one side of my family, we have a lot of mental illnesses. And it has been a source of some discussion over the years, as some members of the family have debilitating mental diagnoses and others of us showed no signs of mental illness. At first, it seemed random; some of us lost the mental illness lottery and others were spared. It wasn’t until I started digging into this creativity research that I had the ah-ha moment. Those of us who had dedicated creative practices had little to no struggles with mental illness; those who did not have regular battles with mental illness. Did those with mental illness not create? Or did the lack of a creative practice allow mental illness to take root due to the lack of coping mechanisms? Or perhaps some of both?

Another piece of this puzzle involves the state of mental illness in most industrialized nations. On the rise for mental illness of pressing concern are the youngest generations: children and college-age students have much higher instances of mental illness today when compared with decades ago. Changes to the school system and the rise of the testing culture have had the creative arts stripped from the curriculum. When funding grows tight, the arts are the first thing to go. We lock kids away in boxes, make them sit quietly and learn facts, test the hell out of them, never let them play or be outside, cut out music and art classes (with Common Core in the US, this is now even worse than before)–and we wonder why kids are depressed? Then, to have them cope with this reality, they get medicated. If children can’t play and create, of course, it is likely to cause a lot of psychological harm. What exactly does refusing them creative practices do? When these children grow into unhappy and disgruntled adults, is it surprising?

Adults have other issues. Most are conditioned to believe they are not creative and have no capacity for creativity that they literally engage in defeatest dialogue–“I could never do that” and “you’re so talented.” The myth of talent, that you have to be good at something the first time you try it, has caused serious harm to many who otherwise would create. The “I could never do that” shows a lack of understanding and willingness to experience creativity as a process–a process of learning, growth, exploration, struggle, and success. Being creative takes only a few simple things: a willingness to do it and persevere, some basic tools and instructions, and the time to invest. And yet, for many adults in modern western culture, the idea of creating is outlandish. I know this from firsthand experience–I’ve cultivated my own creative skills over a long time and now, that I’m a highly skilled artist, literally every time I share my work, I end up in one of these defeatest conversations.

So given all the above–how do we cultivate creativity? How can we gain the wonderful benefits of the Bardic Arts in our own lives?

Embracing Creativity and Flow for Mental Health
Let the awen flow!
Let the awen flow!

Finding ways of allowing ourselves to create–without judgment, without reservation, without blocks–can be an extremely freeing experience. By shifting our ideas of producing a high-quality creative work (which comes with time and practice) and instead simply making the act of creating the key goal, we can start to overcome some of these challenges and reap the rewards of creative practice in our lives.

A “flow” state is a creative state where a person gets deeply immersed in their work. In a flow state, you may lose track of time, have a deep focus on your creative activity, and often emerge from this activity feeling calm, refreshed, and grounded. A flow state is one way that druids would describe the ‘flow of Awen’ – it is when you are deeply immersed and simply flow with your creative practice. The flow state cultivates deep calm and relaxation and has health benefits similar to meditation.

All people are capable of getting into the flow state–and we can cultivate it by setting up the right conditions for it to occur. So here are a few things we can do:

Create time for creativity and creative practice
Work to develop a base level of technical skill in what you are doing–when you are too new at a skill, you will likely not get into flow states as easily

SEtup any conditions that may aid you: the right tools, music, the right setting, etc.
Rather than forcing a particular project that you want to create, try to allow yourself to work on whatever you feel drawn to in that moment. This particular thing has worked exceedingly well for me–it does mean I have a lot of projects ongoing, but I am always ready to make progress on one or two of them when I sit down to create.

For me, for example, I often get into it as a writer by playing instrumental music, sitting down at a set time each week, and doing some brainstorming to get me in the mood (most of my blog posts are written in the flow state, and revised at a later place). As an artist, my requirements are a bit different. I usually put on a familiar movie or music track (this time with words) and lock myself in my studio. And in either case, I ask myself, what am I most excited to work on? Of course, this kind of dedicated creative practice, along with my other spiritual practices, do help me maintain my mental balance and stability, even under conditions that can be difficult. You’ll note that with each of these, I’ve had to practice ways of getting and staying in flow states–and once I did, I had a method that “worked” for me, and therefore, allowed it to come often.

To be clear, I’m not saying that an emphasis on the creative arts is the solution to all mental illnesses. But what I am saying is that according to a lot of druids in my study, and based on some of the other factors shared above, it may offer us a buffer to stave off mental illness. Creative practices may be one of several things we can do to protect ourselves from the debilitating and rampant mental illness that is plaguing our culture. And we get some cool paintings, stories, or songs out of it too!

Thus, creativity can be a buffer not only for these challenging times where mental health and self-care seem to be at an all-time low, but also a buffer to help us understand, process, and experience the world. I certainly use my own artwork to do that: I paint my feelings and emotions surrounding fracking and mountaintop removal here in my home. I paint my feelings about the loss of my beehives due to colony collapse disorder. I paint my frustration about the inability of our world’s leaders (particularly here in the US at present) to do anything substantial about climate change and mass extinction.

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Balance

A balanced lifestyle is simply a state of being, in which one has time and energy for obligations and pleasures.

Like pieces of a puzzle, the many different aspects of your being come together to form the person that you are. You work and play, rest and expend energy, commune with your body and soul, exalt in joy, and feel sorrow. Balance is the state that you achieve when all of the aspects of your life and self are in harmony. Your life force flows in a state of equilibrium because nothing feels out of sync. While balance is necessary to have a satisfying, energetic, and joyful life, only you can determine what balance means to you.

Achieving balance requires that you assess what is important to you. The many demands of modern life can push us to make choices that can put us off balance and have a detrimental effect on our habits, relationships, health, and career. In creating a balanced lifestyle, you must ascertain how much time and energy you are willing to devote to the different areas of your life. To do so, imagine that your life is a house made up of many rooms. Draw this house, give each part of your life its own room, and size each room according to the amount of importance you assign to that aspect of your life. You can include family, solitude, activities that benefit others, healthy eating, indulgences, exercise and working on self. You may discover that certain elements of your life take up an inordinate amount of time, energy, or effort and leave you with few resources to nurture the other aspects of your life. You may want to spend less time on these activities and more on the ones that fulfill you.

A balanced lifestyle is simply a state of being in which one has time and energy for obligations and pleasures, as well as time to live well and in a gratifying way. With its many nuances, balance can be a difficult concept to integrate into your life. Living a balanced existence, however, can help you attain a greater sense of happiness, health, and fulfillment.

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Ghost Hunting Theories
The Mystery of the Blue Light Lady

Hays, Kansas; an idyllic slice of America, but like most of the country’s land, it has seen some tragedies. One of those involves a woman named Elizabeth Polly who has come to be referred to as the “Blue Light Lady.”

Born in the mid 1800s, Elizabeth married a man named Ephraim Polly. Her husband was transferred to Ft. Hays to be the steward for the hospital. They had one child. As the hospital steward’s wife, she volunteered her time at the hospital helping patients with cholera. Then, she tragically succumbed to the disease.

Elizabeth requested to be buried at Sentinel Hill in her blue dress and white bonnet of her work.

Ever since that time, her apparition in a blue dress and bonnet is said to pace the hillside, awaiting soldiers to tend to. Some people hear footfalls and see a blue hazy light.

It is interesting to note that Sentinel Hill is made of bedrock and her grave was marked by four posts of limestone. (LINK) These posts were stolen by thieves in the early days of Hays, Kansas. The legend claims that tragedy found each of the thieves in the hours after the theft: one felled in a gunfight, two killed in a carriage accident, and the other hit by a train.

There is something to be said about death sites and grave sites adorned with stones that seem to play a factor in leaving a sort of “spiritual tag” or “location beacon” for the deceased. In fact, when studying 50 haunted locations looking for common factors, I found this relating to their geology –

  1. Limestone: 13 of 14 sites with limestone ranked a 5 or 6 on the haunted scale
  2. Shale: 12 of 13 sites with shale ranked a 5 or 6 on the haunted scale
  3. Sandstone: 20 of 22 sites with sandstone ranked a 5 or 6 on the haunted scale
  4. Granite: 1 of 2 sites with granite ranked a 5 or 6 on the haunted scale.

One clear account of the blue light lady is reported here –

(LINK)The apparition crested the hill and floated along the prairie like a stray tumbleweed. It paused once to glance up at the full moon, then continued on its descent toward our hiding spot in the bushes. As the blue light drew closer the shadows of her face became distinguishable features and the pattern of her long, prairie dress and bonnet came into view and even though the apparition faded before touching the ground, I heard footsteps shuffling through the dirt.

How long will the blue lady continue to be seen? That’s an interesting question when it comes to hauntings. You see, perhaps in the 1800s or 1700s there were stories by locals around the world of encountering apparitions, but those stories over time became less and less reported. So, future generations know nothing about the situation when they encounter it. Now, they have come across an apparition and try to find a current reason or local reason for it. Their story of its origins could be completely incompatible with the earlier generations who related it to some other dead individual.

How long does a place stay haunted? That’s another vital question to be answered!

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Gilberto Rides again Chapter 29
by Stephen Halpert

The next morning Gilberto sat at his desk in his office and eyed a pile of unopened mail. He wasn’t sure what had become of the current shipping invoices. He felt lost and out of touch with the responsibilities of his job.
He looked at the visitor’s chair by the office window and to his surprise watched a wisp of smoke slowly materialize into Buzz. He sat there scowling.
He looked as disoriented as Gilberto felt. But maybe these feelings within him emanated from Buzz. After all, since his accident he had become an empath and often felt the feelings of others.
Buzz had discarded his blue hospital jonnie and now wore his usual three piece blue serge suit from Brooks Brothers. Gilberto sighed. They had bought those suits together not too long ago. His hair wasn’t disheveled but neatly combed. Gone was his usual Florida tan replaced by transparency.
Gilberto’s phone rang. “I must see you.” Sara Midgley sounded her usual emphatic self.”
“Sure,” Gilberto said.
“In your office, five minutes.” The call ended.
Buzz smiled and looked pleased. He nodded at Gilberto, put his fingers to his lips.
“Not to worry,” Gilberto said. “I won’t say a word.”
Buzz nodded again, then faded.
“I need to talk to you,” Sara Midgley barged into his office, she looked rumpled, her blouse was buttoned wrong and hung under her jacket.
Gilberto looked up, “Sure, what?”
Her eyes were red, puffy, tears stained her cheeks. Her hand shook. “I dreamed of Buzz last night. He came to me and oh, Gilberto it was so vivid, like he was right there beside me.”
Gilberto nodded and steepled his fingers. “Maybe he was.”
“Stop that,” she said. “That’s not funny.”
“Sara, I wasn’t trying to be funny. I’ve read that when someone departs suddenly before their time, like he did, their spirit can remain active and may not cross over.”
“What do you mean before their time?” Her voice was raspy, nervous. Gilberto saw her hand twitch. “You say you saw him last night?”
“Yes, he scared me. He looked angry, fiercely angry.”
Now both her hands shook. “I’m terribly frightened. I don’t know what to do!”
Gilberto nodded. He sniffed, but no scent of flowers. “Why do you think he was angry? Does he have a reason to be angry with you?”
“I-I can’t think…”
Gilberto could tell she was lying, and he wasn’t sure how to pursue this conversation. Maybe if he said nothing, more would emerge from her. He sighed. “Sure, whatever you say.” He was silent, and she continued to sob. Then finally he spoke. “Why are you telling me this?”
She knuckled her eyes. “Tissue?”
He reached into his desk and gave her the box. She blew her nose, then sighed. “I-I don’t know what to do.”
He could tell she was frightened, even unhinged. “You’ll be speaking at his memorial service.”
That he didn’t know. No one had mentioned it to him before. “Thank you for telling me.”
She began to cry again. “I hadn’t expected this,” she said in a half whisper, her words slurred. “It was horrible. I got very cold, so cold I shivered so hard my teeth chattered.”
Gilberto leaned forward expectantly. “Then what?”
“I could hear his voice in my head. He was roaring words,” she paused.
“What was he saying?”
“I-I don’t remember. She paused, then said no more.
Lying again, Gilberto thought. His intuition was functioning on high. He could tell she felt guilty about something, but what?
“I’m sorry.” He didn’t know what else to say. Something caught his eye. He saw that same wisp of smoke slowly evolve. Then Buzz materialized. Even though he was basically transparent, Gilberto could see his face was contorted with anger. Fortunately for Gilberto, Sara saw him too. Her eyes widened. She opened her mouth but no sound emerged.
Gilberto watched her closely. “You see him too,” he said.
She nodded, wiped her eyes and hiccupped. Then he heard Buzz’s voice in his head.
“Watch her when you say this. Tell her I said she set me up.”
Gilberto looked at Sara and took a breath. He’s telling me you set him up. What does that mean?” He kept his eyes on her face, and at the same time, noticed her hands were shaking again.
Her face paled. “I-I don’t know. I can’t imagine…”
Gilberto sighed. He noticed Buzz was grinning now. “She never was a good liar,” came his words in Gilberto’s head. Then a laugh, and the transparent Buzz flickered out of view.
“Sara,”” Gilberto said. “Tell me what’s going on. I know you’re hiding something.”
Her face contorted. She began weeping again, but Gilberto could tell this time her tears were not genuine. Somehow, she was back to maintaining her denial.
“Sara, you’re lying! You had something to do with Buzz death!”
She fell forward, clutched her knees weeping hysterically.
Gilberto grabbed his phone, buzzed Ramon. “Help me,” he said. ” Sara, meltdown.”
Moments later Ramon came into his office. He looked at Gilberto oddly.
“Tell him,” Gilberto said. “Tell him everything.” He tried giving her water. She shook her head. “Buzz,” she said. “He wants to kill me.”
Ramon nodded, said nothing, waited for Sara to go on.
Ramon looked at Gilberto. “Tell me.”
“Buzz is one angry spirit,” Gilberto said.
“Protect me,” Sara Midgley implored. “Please protect me. Ramon, Buzz wants to kill me. Take me home, please.”
Ramon eyed Gilberto waiting for his indication. What was next?”
Finally Gilberto said. “Sara, Buzz will break into your sleep every night until this business with him is resolved. I urge you to come clean.”
Sara turned to Ramon. “Please stay with me. Protect me.”
“From whom,” Gilberto interrupted. “Having Ramon right there beside you won’t count. You must know something about Buzz’s death. For the sake of your sanity get it out.”
Her face contorted; her expression twisted. Her voice rasped. “Stop this. Ramon make him stop. He doesn’t know what he’s talking about.”
But Ramon stood his ground. “Gilberto will join me. We’ll both take you home.”
(To be continued.)

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Kitty Kat’s Korner

The Power of Play
By Steve Dale

Cats are the most popular pet in America. There are lots of reasons for this, and no doubt one is that they are considered low maintenance. But are they really? When compared to dogs, I suggest they are not low maintenance but just different maintenance. It’s true that few cats are taken for walks to do their potty business, and few cats really want to visit a park so people can toss a ball to retrieve. However, today we know that cats are social, they do bond to family members, and their intelligence requires that their brains are used. Cats require mental and physical stimulation. Living in a boring and mind-numbing environment can lead to stress, health issues and behavior problems — sometimes to the point of developing serious medical issues like Pandora Syndrome or feline lower urinary tract disease or feline cystitis (all are interrelated). These medical conditions may not only be painful but can lead to a cat having accidents outside the litter box.

Or, when cats don’t have appropriate activities, they can create their own “fun.” This kitty fun time could include pulling down the blinds, scratching where they shouldn’t, unraveling every roll of toilet paper in the house or pushing around other pets, which can create a relationship problem among pets in the house. All of this can also lead to relinquishment. Who would think that cycle all begins with chronic boredom? So what can you do? Use the power of play. Here are four ways to keep cats engaged:

Activate Prey Drives
What we feed cats isn’t as important as how we feed them. Cats are hard-wired to seek prey and then pounce and kill. While cats are safer indoors, they don’t get this opportunity as a house cat — unless a wayward mouse is unlucky enough to get into your house.

There are all sorts of food puzzles that can be hidden for cats to find. An example is the Indoor Hunting Feeder for moist or dry food, which is one way to trigger prey drive. Leave food in the hunting feeder — at first near the existing food dish — but gradually move it farther and farther away, ultimately hiding the feeders for cats to “hunt” for them. The texture of the dry food feeder is something cats enjoy digging claws into.

You can also leave food in plastic dishes in various places around the house for cats to discover, which similarly activates prey drives. You can even teach your cat to play hide-and-seek. Kids love this and so do lots of cats. When they find the kids, they receive a spoon of tuna or salmon or a piece of cheese — a really fantastic treat.

Activating the prey drive alleviates boredom, allowing for cats’ natural hunting instincts. It also supports better digestion, as cats do best when eating multiple small meals compared to one or two very large meals.

Turn on the Catflix
Some cats do watch TV, and there are all sorts of videos available for them to watch, such as:

~8-Hour Bird Bonanza (with a guest appearance by a squirrel) on YouTube.

~If you have an iPad, iPhone or Android phone, download free games from the App store or Google Play store, like Friskies JitterBug, Mouse in Cheese: 3D game for cats and Mouse for Cats — Mice-Catching Cat

~Taller cat trees, like the Classic Cat Tree ($109; Armarkat.com) or Prevue Pet’s Party Tower are not only a playground for multiple cats but when placed near a window offer a great view of passing butterflies and birds.

~Placing bird feeders and plants attractive to butterflies outside where your cats can see them from a window isn’t just a nice thing for the environment, but it’s better than turning on Netflix if you hap-pen to be a cat.

Go Interactive with Play
Interactive play is great exercise while enhancing the bond and trust between people and their kitties. We also know it can be a great stress buster for cats and probably for people, too. Classic examples are fishing pole type toys with feathers or fabric at the end. You can even affix a feather at the end of a bathrobe tie.

Using the power of play to keep kitty engaged and stave off chronic boredom sounds like a pretty good cat parent super-power. Less stress, health issues and behavior problems can be yours and kitty’s if you take our above advice and a little time and effort on your part — and some happy pouncing on the part of your cat. Examples include the Interactive Robotic Cat Toy and the Catit Design Senses Circuit Cat Toy.

Try Self-Play Cat Toys
Arguably, cats are more eager to engage in activities without people around compared to dogs. However, the toys have to be interesting in order for that to happen, which generally means movement and perhaps high-pitched squeaky sounds.

Ten years ago, there were only a pawful of these cat toys and today there are hundreds — too many to list in a single story. That’s the good news. What works for one cat may not be preferred by another, as individual cats have their own preferences. So, getting a handle on what your cat likes helps.

Examples of self-play cat toys include the SmartyKat Hot Pursuit Electronic Concealed Motion Cat Toy ($29.99; chewy.com), Petlinks Mystery Motion Concealed Mouse Cat Toy ($42.86; amazon.com), the SnugglyCat Ripple Rug Cat Activity Play Mat and the Vealind Pet Interactive Fun Roller Exerciser 3-Level Tower of Tracks Cat Teaser Ball Toy.

Self-play toys don’t always need to be purchased. Many cats have hours of fun running through tunnels your children connect using paper sacks from the grocery store or playing with a ping-pong ball, plastic top to a milk carton or a crumpled piece of paper in the bathtub or on the kitchen floor.

Toy Tips for Tiger
Now that you know what kinds of play relieve chronic boredom, clue into these simple feline fun facts.

Rotate toys. Leaving out the same old toy all the time can get dull. Hide a toy in a closet for a few weeks and the return debut will be triumphant, as if it is an all-new toy.

Use empty boxes. We all get cardboard boxes from Amazon and elsewhere. Of course, the boxes aren’t for packaging products — they’re for cats.

Make it smelly. Rub some tissue in a safe scent – such as lavender or valerian root — and leave it out as a “surprise scent sampler.” Don’t forget about catnip or silvervine.

Bring on the outdoors — safely. Some indoor cats take to the idea of being walked outdoors on a leash and harness — certainly getting out into the world is stimulating. Or create a catio, which allows cats to get fresh air in a safe environment.

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Georgia’s Weekly Horoscope: Sunday, November 28, 2021

The 2022 Annual Forecasts are available for pre-order. Annual Forecasts will be sent via e-mail on January 1st.

All Signs
This week begins in a dreamy way that makes us start to wonder about future goals. “What if?” As the week progresses, many of these ideas will start to become a reality. Therefore, this is the week to be confident. Shoot for the stars! Goethe said, “There is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents … Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now!”

Aries (March 21-April 19)
This is a perfect time to hatch plans for future travel and opportunities to explore your world because these ideas will appeal to you now. Not only do you want to expand your world through travel, many of you also want to expand your world through further education and training. What exciting schools might you attend? Do you want to learn a new language? With Venus at the top of your chart, authority figures are receptive to your suggestions and applications. (Good to know.) Meanwhile, this is a passionate week. However, many of you will also use this energy to help others, especially those who are less fortunate. (Can’t go wrong there.)

Taurus (April 20-May 20)
This is an excellent time to dream big and conjure up all kinds of future possibilities because with Jupiter at the top of your chart, this is a fortunate time for you. People see you as successful. Many things will go your way. Furthermore, Saturn at the top of your chart indicates that you are in a time of harvest, when you are reaping the benefits of the last 30 years of your life. (Certainly, the last fifteen.) How timely then, to define some goals this week or at least, to dream big! Travel for pleasure appeals. Your focus on shared property, debt and insurance issues continues to be strong. Tension with partners will ease this week because Neptune softens potential conflicts. What do you want your future to hold?

Gemini (May 21-June 20)
Many planets benefit you right now. Some are supportive of you, especially in a practical way, which means gifts, goodies and favours from others will come to you. Your desire to travel and explore the world is strong, which means this is only one area where you can conjure up dreams for the future. Fiery Mars is in the part of your chart that will energize your work efforts. This is an excellent week for creativity, goalsetting and inspiration. By the end of the week, you’re ready to pull yourself up by your bootstraps. You know what you want to achieve and you believe that anything is possible. And it is! (Be patient with partners and close friends while the Sun is opposite your sign. This creates a natural polarity that encourages conflict.)

Cancer (June 21-July 22)
It’s appropriate for you to think about future goals and dream big because you are energized to work hard now. You are very hands-on with your approach to things because you want to be efficient and effective in everything you do. You want to make your actions count. Sometimes inertia holds you back from beginning. You like to cling to familiarity. Read Goethe’s comments in the All Signs section above. He points out that once you commit to a decision, amazing things will unfold – even things you never dreamed would be possible. You have been getting along with less, but you have survived. About 18 months from now, your reputation will be shining! What are you going to do to deserve this? (Apparently something.)

Leo (July 23-Aug. 22)
This is a playful time with increased activity with kids plus a strong interest in the arts, the entertainment world and a chance to express your creative talents. (The stuff you like.) This week is an excellent time to think about how you can achieve something that is important to you. First visualize what might seem to be impossible. That way you get a handle on how it looks. Define it. Name it. Once you can name it – you’re halfway there. As the week progresses, you can embrace a plan that can unfold in a doable way. This year your focus is on external goals – more than it’s been in the last 17 years.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22)
Your focus on home and family continues, especially because family discussions are important at this time. In particular, they could involve home improvements and repairs. Many of you are entertaining at home as well, and some of you are able to grab a vacation. Yay! However, at the beginning of this dreamy week, you will start to visualize things that you would like to see happen in the future. These things could be related to your career or your work or they might be fun possibilities that offer escape and exciting adventure. You still have wonderful opportunities to improve your health, as well as improve your job. If you’re successful in doing this – what’s next? A marathon?

Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22)
This is a busy active time for you due to short trips, errands, appointments plus, conversations with siblings, relatives and neighbours. Many of you are reading, writing and studying more than usual as well. Nevertheless, this week offers you chances to dream about future possibilities. Some of you will focus on money, cash flow and how to feel more financially secure. Many of you have increased responsibilities with kids or young people at this time. Many of you are also redecorating or entertaining at home and enjoying the beauty of your home. Since these areas are a strong focus, perhaps they will be sources of where you might decide to dream big? Ideas?

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21)
This week, Mars is in your sign dancing with dreamy Neptune, which prompts you to imagine possible futures for yourself. It makes you focus on ambitious goals. Naturally, this triggers your desire to brainstorm all kinds of possibilities for your future. As the week wears on, you will see ways that some of these dreams can become a reality. You might set about implementing certain plans in a way that they will come to fruition. This energy continues all week. By Friday, you are still enthusiastic about what is possible for your future. This is a wonderful thing! Read the quote by Goethe in All Signs above. The key is commitment to a plan!

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 21)
This is an interesting week because you like to think about your future a lot and in particular, you like to dream big. Well, it so happens that the planetary influences this week push absolutely everyone in that direction. You will feel right at home thinking about future goals and ways to achieve them. With the Sun and Mercury in your sign, this is the perfect time to define clearly what you want for your future. Meanwhile, Venus will attract money and gifts to you this week. At this point in your life, residential moves and job changes are par for the course. Naturally, this leads to new worlds full of new possibilities. It’s exciting!

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 19)
This week will suit you perfectly because this is one of the best times all year to think about future goals. More than most, you take a long range of view of things because you are practical, and also perhaps unconsciously, because you know you are a long-lived sign. Ideas about finances, making money and matters about your financial security are things you might think about this week. You might also see ways to help a charitable organization or those who are less fortunate. Meanwhile, with Venus in your sign, you are unusually charming and diplomatic with everyone.

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 18)
This is a fortunate time for you because lucky Jupiter is in your sign, which is something that can happen only once every 12 years. Meanwhile, this is a stage in your life when you are setting off on a new path of re-inventing yourself. What could be more timely than this particular week that encourages daydreams, visualizing goals and then suddenly, seeing that these goals are actually doable! Your ambition is aroused now because Mars is at the top of your chart. Meanwhile, you are interacting with friends and groups more than usual. Why not bounce your ideas off someone to get their feedback? (A secret affair is likely for some of you.)

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20)
You will continue to make a fabulous impression on everyone because the Sun is at the top of your chart casting you (symbolically speaking) in a flattering spotlight. This is why bosses, parents and VIPs are so impressed with you. This is the perfect week to visualize what you want for your future. You are an imaginative sign, and you have great visionary powers. Presently, you’re letting go of many things – people, places and possessions because you’re in a state of transition. But you are obviously heading for a whole new beginning in about a year. When you open those future doors – where do you want them to lead?

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Weekly Horoscopes beginning Sunday, 28 November 2021


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 thrive on the challenges that come with new settings or learning new skills; but even you could struggle with the unsettling events you’re experiencing. These shakeups are being triggered by eclipses, on 19 November and soon, on 4 December. The trick for you, as an Aries and somebody who thrives on change, is to explore everything but commit to nothing, at least that you can’t rethink.

Someone with a powerful personality will disagree with your plans. Be ready to defend your beliefs and interests. If there is something you really want to do, don’t let anyone else put you off this. You owe it to yourself to keep going. Contracts involving someone you have known for years should be pleasing and profitable but arrangements with a new customer or colleague will be slow to get off the ground. You might suspect this is a relationship that is unlikely to last.

In the East the Lunar cycle is interpreted rather differently to in the West. It’s interesting that both systems note that the days before any New Moon warrants special attention. In the East, this is viewed as a challenging time when demons must be addressed and appeased. In the West, the advice is to lie low. However, you choose to interpret it, the days before next Saturday’s Solar Eclipse should be both a time for contemplation. That’s not always easy against the backdrop of the working schedule. Yet this makes this a good time to make assessment of your long-term aims and objectives and, to a degree, determine who you can really trust. Given that a major adventure awaits next week, knowing which working colleagues you’d like to accompany you on the next stage of your career journey is surely worthy of careful thought.


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

Your horoscope for this week:

Usually, the unsettling influence of the Full Moon ends swiftly. However, that was on the Friday the 19th, it was in Taurus, and the first of a pair of eclipses. The next is on Saturday, 4 December. What’s more, you now recognise shakeups as welcome breakthroughs, if in disguise. Feeling impatient? For now, wait and watch. Within days all that chaos will begin to make sense.

Your thoughts are on a long-term goal. You would appreciate a partner or relative’s support. Even if at first, they don’t seem interested, keep working at it. You are gradually breaking down their defences. The possibility of a new source of income will come your way but don’t be too quick to take up this offer. This will be something that should not be accepted immediately. Look into it further before making a definite decision.

Your ruling planet, Venus, moved into another of the Earth signs at the beginning of November. Venus turns retrograde in that area mid-December and will leave what is in fact one of the high-level communication areas of your solar chart in early March next year. This entire period, should be used for information gathering and yes, to some extent, tying up loose ends. Recall that we are still between eclipses. Until next Saturday’s Solar Eclipse, there is much soul-searching to be done. Take time to look around and calculate the investment of time and energy that others are putting in. How – and should – they assist you? There’s high probability that as of early next week your attitude to delegation will alter.


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

Your horoscope for this week:

You’re brilliant at spotting the promise in the many unsettling events you’ve been facing, and you’re right in sensing they’re breakthroughs. The challenge? Being patient. It will probably take until 19 December, when the Gemini Full Moon brings both ongoing changes and your rapidly shifting feelings to peak that your choices are clear. Until then, busy yourself with tasks you’ve been putting off for ages.

You won’t be content to join others in your usual weekday activities. You want to escape boring routine and you’re too restless to patiently settle for mundane chores. Instead, you’re longing to escape the familiar and venture into unknown territory. Changes in the workplace may seem exciting but they could benefit some more than others and you might start wondering whether they are really fair. It may be up to you to expose an unfair practice.

In the East, the 25th day following the New Moon is seen as having special and positive energy. That this coincides presently with the Moon passing through the creative area of your solar chart, and as the Sun accents relationships, a working partnership could easily develop. Recall that we are between eclipses. In a few weeks the lunar node will leave your sign. The dramas of the last 18 months will be firmly in the past. How do you want this particular scene in your life to conclude? Wouldn’t it be nice if it offered a teaser of what is yet to come? Even if it’s just a rough guide, do your business planning in the first half of the week. Thereafter, and especially in the nights before the Solar Eclipse on December 4th, the energies are not as wholesome. You could even think of these as dark forces trying to sabotage your efforts. Don’t be discouraged, that new partnership is coming and could truly go places.


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

Your horoscope for this week:

If you’ve already realised that, whatever you do or decide, events will be unsettling, you’re ahead of the game. Between the current pair of eclipses and planetary activity indicating a series of breakthroughs, events will speed once-tricky plans ahead. So much, in fact, you could feel overwhelmed. For now, back off, watch and learn. Within weeks, if not days, you’ll recognise just how timely those changes are.

You’re trying to do too much. You want to please everyone but you aren’t going to do this by working yourself to exhaustion. Have more patience with yourself and remember too that you can’t and won’t achieve all your goals immediately. At times you and a loved one or housemate will be at cross purposes. It may be that they want to try out new things when you want to continue the way you’ve been going in the past.

In the East, the 25th day after the New Moon is seen as a special time – so the start of this week should be super productive. However, in the nights ahead of the Solar Eclipse on December 4, you could feel undermined, unsure and yes, at some level even manipulated. Don’t allow your imagination to run wild. Perhaps you simply need rest. Dreams may be vivid but also essential in healthy rebalancing. Work wise, and with Venus stay in your opposite sign of Capricorn extended, it may be that you need to adjust pace to suit a work colleague who is presently clearly distracted, but whom you sense has the right expertise to dovetail with your own.


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

Your horoscope for this week:

Accepting the fact changes aren’t up to you hasn’t been easy. However, try to give in to those often-unsettling twists and turns, and soon you’ll be discovering a whole new world of options for existing arrangements and activities, involving you alone and, often, others. The secret? Say yes to the unexpected or simply plunge into exciting, if unfamiliar, ideas. The results will thrill you.

Things may be tense at home. A heart-to-heart talk will clear the air. Restoring peace where there is disharmony will give your spirits a boost. Those you live with will show their appreciation. Spending a lot of time wondering why you can’t get into the swing of your usual routines makes you your own worst enemy. There will be too many distractions in your environment destroying your concentration. A change of scenery will be the answer.

Recall that we are between eclipses: the Earth’s magnetic field is altered and your behaviour might be adjusted too. You can take control. In fact, if you followed an Eastern way of thinking, you would use Monday and Tuesday productively and successfully. Dangers come in the second half of the week in the nights before the Solar Eclipse on December 4. This is when it could appear as though demons have arrived leaving you undermined or toyed with. Take care that you too aren’t guilty of manipulating situations. Over Wednesday and Thursday, it might seem as though every good idea is brought to an abrupt halt. This though, would surely give you rethinking time. That’s normally the task of retrograde Mercury but on this occasion, it may be that you realise routes to success which true, are super challenging but potentially more rewarding.


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

Your horoscope for this week:

Once you understand that life’s about shakeups, some as dramatic as they are sudden, you’ll exchange anxieties about them for enthusiasm. True, you’ll remain short of facts for ages. However, you’re not alone in that, and the more you chat with others, the clearer it will be everybody else is at a loose end. The solution? Forget about planning ahead. Live one day at a time.

It is not a time to act on impulse. A workmate will have taken on far too much. You did try to warn them but they did not want to hear. Sooner or later, they are going to need your support. Just be careful you don’t end up taking on other people’s responsibilities. Your practical skills will be put to good use in money affairs and in domestic matters too. Don’t be surprised if you make money from a creative talent.

In the East, the 25th day after the new Moon is considered to be particularly productive. You could find Monday and Tuesday especially so – but also rewarding. The Moon passes through neighbouring Libra and, assuming you have your act together which is very likely, this could be an exhilarating and productive period. After that though, the Moon moves into Scorpio and heads towards what is known of the as the ‘dark of the Moon’ – the few days before the solar eclipse on December 4. This year that coincides with the Moon’s passage through Scorpio. You could experience mischief-making or discover items and news that are far from helpful. View this though as a useful clearing out time and at every possible level. Rid yourself of negative thoughts. Soon after the Solar Eclipse you should feel re-energised and ready to explore.


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

Your horoscope for this week:

Ignoring others’ complaints about unsettling developments may seem unsympathetic. As you’ll notice, however, their woes will shift as circumstances do. The real problem is their reluctance to give serious thought to far-reaching changes. Actually, this applies to you, just as much. The sooner you say farewell to elements of the past, the happier you’ll be. The secret? Stand back and let events unfold as they must.

You’re in a curious mood, wanting to know what everyone else is getting up to and yet if someone shows interest in your affairs, you will get annoyed with their inquisitiveness. Conversations will be interesting but you can’t ask all the questions. Be willing to share what you know too. You might get the feeling something new is in the pipeline and you could benefit from this in some way. Keeping a dream diary could prove enlightening.

It may be that the first half of this week proves a most productive time – and by far. Not only is the Moon making passage through your sign, but this is also the 25th day of the lunar month. Astrologers working in the East would view this is a remarkably positive time. Your ideas will likely be warmly welcomed – particularly at work and so helpful to your career plans; but yes, things could come unstuck in the second half of the week when costs become known. Think of these are simply estimates. There will be room for negotiation; most likely after the Solar Eclipse on December 4. Note too, that though not always recognised for having financial acumen, it is there beneath the surface. Once you are aware of both the energy and resources available, you could yet steam ahead with a fresh project as of next Monday.


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

Your horoscope for this week:

As you begin this tricky week, your mood’s likely to drift from upbeat to questioning what’s next. That’s no surprise. You and everybody else are in the midst of a cycle of unsettling but ultimately worthwhile changes. While, ordinarily you’d try to focus on a single objective, your instincts are correctly telling you to ensure that both your thinking, and your plans are flexible.

Somehow you might get involved with a neighbour’s problems. You hadn’t planned on being the one to help them out but you won’t mind this. Just don’t lose track of time as you have other things to do. Most things in the career environment will go your way but don’t assume it will all be easy. It will be a colleague’s dilemma that could cause you some frustration and when you look at the problem, the solution will be staring them in the face.

Unlike many other signs, Scorpio is willing to look at the underside of life. You understand that for every bit of good, there is a balancing force. That awareness should stand you in good stead during the second half of the week. It’s not a bad period, but it is certainly true that in the nights before a New Moon, imagination can run riot (people think they see imps or elves and sense general mischief). On the working scene, you may find that others attempt to manipulate you or that they have been manipulated and don’t know how to extricate themselves from difficult situations. All can, and probably will, be restored after the Solar Eclipse on December 4. It would be wise ahead of this period, to listen carefully to what is discussed between Monday and Wednesday. Plans are likely to hit a brick wall and will need energy to be re-fired early next week. By taking careful notes, you should be well placed to follow up on ideas and even to become their ‘midwife’.


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

Your horoscope for this week:

While you thrive on new ideas and the occasional exciting change, the events triggered by the powerful Sagittarius eclipsed New Moon, on Saturday 4 December, could overwhelm even you. The trick is to explore absolutely everything, but avoid finalising plans. For now? Focus on shedding burdensome activities and alliances. This ensures both your mind, and schedule, are open to what’s coming next.

Travel is a strong temptation. Just being able to escape familiar places for a wee while sounds incredibly inviting. You may not just be dreaming of this possibility either for there is a strong chance you will persuade a partner or close friend to book a fairly lengthy vacation. Advancement will come through the people you now meet. A powerful professional could make you an intriguing proposal. The impression you give others will mark up points on the popularity scales.

Next weekend’s Solar Eclipse is in your sign. This most sophisticated New Moon is part of a sequence linking back to the end of 2002. You were likely aware then, that over the subsequent 18 months you would be developing a new path. The problem with Sagittarius is that it doesn’t always do intensive planning. You enjoy adventure taking it as it comes. Yet you could learn from that previous period. Any planning you do now should prove super useful in the months to come. Actually, it’s likely that at least four projects will be discussed (and especially with Gemini, Libra and Aquarius colleagues). In the second half of the week, as we go into what is known as the ‘dark of the Moon’, matters could so easily go awry. Take care that you’re not seduced into undertaking a journey for which you are ill-prepared. Timing is everything. One useful task would be to assess assets and if necessary, move these to safer place.


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

Your horoscope for this week:

No sign invests more time in thinking through both changes in existing elements of your life and future plans. While usually you’ve facts enough to make sound decisions, with both circumstances and your own priorities shifting regularly, you’re uncharacteristically unsure what to do or commit to. Try something out of character. Sidestep planning and allow events to unfold when, and as, they must.

Unlike some of your restless friends, you won’t feel like venturing too far away at the moment. You will prefer to remain closer to home. There is someone you need to talk to and if you can’t see each other face to face, the phone will have to do. Some importance is attached to conversations. The weekend holds special promise of romance when your love life is likely to reach an important point.

You will likely experience moments of both delight and enlightenment in the first half of the week. Recall that we are between eclipses – a special time when it is possible to tune into fresh energies. That may be especially true on Monday – which is the 25th day of the present lunar cycle when clearing up outstanding matters should prove straightforward. In those nights before the December 4 Solar Eclipse when the Moon is no longer visible, it can appear as though things are awry. There’s a dark mysterious quality which to some, can also bring mischievous and difficult thinking. It’s not the most productive of periods. You too could feel unsettled and challenged – most likely by a line of political thought which you find unacceptable. Note however, that following on from the eclipse, and with Venus enjoying is extended stay in your sign, that progress in partnership is probable.


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

Your horoscope for this week:

After the past several weeks’ shakeups, you’re seeking a fresh perspective; but every time things seem clear, you’re forced to rethink arrangements, plans or both. The secret? Relax, possibly in a way you rarely allow yourself to do. Just for now, view the world around you and your own life as something that’s about discovery, not perfectly shaped plans. Things will be far less complicated.

A friend or neighbour with an unusual hobby will let you in on what sounds like a fanciful secret. Even so you will be intrigued and a little research will prove they are telling the truth. The offer of a promotion or new job with a different employer is worth considering but think carefully about what you may be letting yourself in for. Calm your enthusiasm and look at this realistically. Avoid taking unnecessary risks.

The start of this week could prove super productive. Recall that we are between eclipses when ideas flourish and you could build up a really good head of steam. Anxious to get things underway, you might not be prepared for the brick wall that you encounter mid-week. It’s then, as the Moon goes through Scorpio that you could meet difficulties in the form of a reality check. Note that this is the few days before a Solar Eclipse. In what is known as the ‘dark of the Moon’ it can seem there is mischief afoot. It’s generally not easy to push things forward. On this occasion, you could come up against an intransigent mindset, making it apparently impossible to move forward. Yet these times too will pass. Nor are they all necessarily bad. You might benefit from doing either a deep clean or going through the contents of an untouched area. The process might even reveal long forgotten treasures.


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

Your horoscope for this week:

Over the past several weeks you’ve wrestled with your own unsettled feelings but, just as much, been distracted by the complaints of others. As you’ve explored, you’ve realised some were merely moaning about having to make an effort, while others truly needed support. Now that you’re better at spotting the latter, you can lend others backup and, in the process, deal with certain of your own issues.

You’re planning on getting in trim for a future festive celebration. A friend will tell you there is no need to make a big effort but you might suspect they are just being polite. Changing your diet and practising relaxation techniques could be the start of you embarking on a healthier lifestyle. A friend who is special to you will have made some mistake about plans or events that take place as the week ends. Arrangements to meet someone at a train station or park could mark the start of a long-term friendship.

Arguably more than any other sign, Pisces seems aware that there are times of deep mystery and confusion, chaos, misunderstanding, and general mischief. In the nights before the Solar Eclipse on Saturday, December 4, those ‘imps’ could come out to play. This is arguably not the best time for making clear decisions. The good news is that this week opens on the 25th day of the lunar cycle – a magical and very positive time of the month. Seize that time. You can make real progress over Monday and Tuesday. This will be especially true with regard to business partnerships. True, you could experience difficulties mid-week these though are unlikely to be of your making and should resolve once legal conundrums are dealt with early next week. Another positive feature of these next seven days is the desire to clear out items and ideas that are no longer healthy. This might not be spring clean time; but similar energies would doubtless be productive.

~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
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The GoddessSchool ~ http://GoddessSchool.com

  1. High Priestess Certification and Ancient Mystery Teachings
  2. Herbalism 101
  3. Herbalism 202
  4. Herbalism 303
  5. Earth Signs and Omens
  6. The Priestess Entrepreneurship
  7. Natural Witchcraft
  8. Practical Magick: Spell Casting for Every Day Use
  9. The Magic of Crystals

10.Introduction to Energy Healing

11.Introduction to Paganism

12.Introduction to Meditation

13.Introduction to The Goddess Tradition and The Feminine Divine

14.Kuan Yins Gentle Embrace Reiki Certification

15.A Year and a Day of Contemplation with Kuan Yin

16.Tarot, Numerology, Natal Charts and Dream Readings

17.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!
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“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

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By GrannyMoon Posted in Pagan

GrannyMoon’s Weekly Feast: 21 Nov 2021

May the world be kind to you, and may your own thoughts be gentle upon yourself ~Jonathan

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

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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Celtic Month of Reed – October 28 To November 23

Celtic Month of Elder – November 24th to December 23rd

Goddess Month of Cailleach/Samhain runs from 10/31 – 11/27

November

Week 4. National Family Week

26:  Yes, it is—Thanksgiving!

28: National French Toast Day

30: The Night of Hecate Trivia, the Night of the Crossroads.

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Sunday Classes with GrannyMoon at Sticks and Stones, Fairfax, VA

November

21: Face to Face Class: Noon–2:00 ~ The Magick of Crystals

December

5: Face to Face Class: 1-3:00 ~ WitchCrafting

12: Face to Face Class: 1-3:00 ~ The Herbal Cauldron

19: Face to Face Class: Noon–2:00 ~ The Magick of Crystals

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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 the entire Healing Arts Course (1-3) which includes a free Reiki certification course when all three are ordered!

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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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Pearls of Wisdom Tarot

2 of Wands

Take the time to evaluate before making your decision. Explore all of your options. Always allow your intuition to take the lead. Remember to breathe!

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November 22, 2021 – November 28, 2021

~Coventry Creations 2021

In the last week of November, the energy lightens up enormously, with only Mercury moving into  Sagittarius, and the Sun conjoining Mercury.

We start the week off with the Moon moving through family-oriented Cancer. Connecting with family members and loved ones will be important this week. It’s also an excellent time to do some home improvements or redecorating.

On Wednesday, Mercury moves out of Scorpio and into fiery Sagittarius. Your mind will focus on potentials and possibilities, rather than the day-to-day grind. It’s time to focus on your goals and develop strategies to achieve them.

This weekend should be relatively enjoyable, with the Sun conjoined to Mercury. Use this energy to connect with friends and your social network.

Recommended Candles: Happy Home (Blessed Herbal), Mercury (Truth Serum), Crown of Glory (Motor City Hoodoo), Success (Chakra Magic)

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

Exactly who gets to decide who you are?

Time to leave the past in the past

This month, not only are we faced with an eclipse in Taurus, we’re faced with the problems of our past. We’re not talking about some cheesy Hollywood revenge film here. We’re talking about confronting our past with help, support, and (of course) a little bit of magic.

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Giving Thanks Can Make You Happier

From Harvard Health Publishing

Each holiday season comes with high expectations for a cozy and festive time of year. However, for many this time of year is tinged with sadness, anxiety, or depression. Certainly, major depression or a severe anxiety disorder benefits most from professional help. But what about those who just feel lost or overwhelmed or down at this time of year? Research (and common sense) suggests that one aspect of the Thanksgiving season can actually lift the spirits, and it’s built right into the holiday — being grateful.

The word gratitude is derived from the Latin word gratia, which means grace, graciousness, or gratefulness (depending on the context). In some ways, gratitude encompasses all of these meanings. Gratitude is a thankful appreciation for what an individual receives, whether tangible or intangible. With gratitude, people acknowledge the goodness in their lives. In the process, people usually recognize that the source of that goodness lies at least partially outside themselves. As a result, being grateful also helps people connect to something larger than themselves as individuals — whether to other people, nature, or a higher power.

In positive psychology research, gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.

People feel and express gratitude in multiple ways. They can apply it to the past (retrieving positive memories and being thankful for elements of childhood or past blessings), the present (not taking good fortune for granted as it comes), and the future (maintaining a hopeful and optimistic attitude). Regardless of the inherent or current level of someone’s gratitude, it’s a quality that individuals can successfully cultivate further.

Ways to cultivate gratitude

Gratitude is a way for people to appreciate what they have instead of always reaching for something new in the hopes it will make them happier or thinking they can’t feel satisfied until every physical and material need is met. Gratitude helps people refocus on what they have instead of what they lack. And, although it may feel contrived at first, this mental state grows stronger with use and practice.

Here are some ways to cultivate gratitude on a regular basis.

Write a thank-you note. You can make yourself happier and nurture your relationship with another person by writing a thank-you letter or email expressing your enjoyment and appreciation of that person’s impact on your life. Send it, or better yet, deliver and read it in person if possible. Make a habit of sending at least one gratitude letter a month. Once in a while, write one to yourself.

Thank someone mentally. No time to write? It may help just to think about someone who has done something nice for you and mentally thank the individual.

Keep a gratitude journal. Make it a habit to write down or share with a loved one thoughts about the gifts you’ve received each day.

Count your blessings. Pick a time every week to sit down and write about your blessings — reflecting on what went right or what you are grateful for. Sometimes it helps to pick a number — such as three to five things — that you will identify each week. As you write, be specific and think about the sensations you felt when something good happened to you.

Pray. People who are religious can use prayer to cultivate gratitude.

Meditate. Mindfulness meditation involves focusing on the present moment without judgment. Although people often focus on a word or phrase (such as “peace”), it is also possible to focus on what you’re grateful for (the warmth of the sun, a pleasant sound, etc.)

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MY THANKSGIVING MESSAGE

November 19, 2021

I am honored and blessed to have you as part of my life.  May this holiday season bring love to your life, health to your body, and peace to your home now and always.

Thanksgiving isn’t just a holiday that comes once a year. It’s an everyday thing, giving thanks daily for the gifts of clean air, food, water and loving healthy relationships. Peace, love and a true thanksgiving!

Have you stopped to think about it?

What DO you have to be thankful for?

Having the Gratitude Attitude

Yes, it might feel great to win the lottery. Money, houses, travel – these are wonderful, but not enough by themselves. You need the right frame of mind to fully enjoy life. You need the attitude of gratitude.

Be Grateful

Be thankful that you are able to breathe on your own without the use of a machine. Be thankful that you can get out of bed without assistance. Be thankful that you can walk, talk, and see. There’s so much to be grateful for every day of your life, it’s just changing your attitude.

Life is better when you feel blessed, when you can look around and say “Thank you, Creator.” Religious or not, when you see life as a wonderful gift, your experience is a richer one than any amount of money can provide. Imagine going through life like you’re a child, and every morning is Christmas.

It’s tempting to think gratitude comes from having what you want. You see yourself giving thanks if you had money, a loving family, and maybe a house on the beach. Still, you know there are ungrateful, unhappy people with these things, and poor people full of gratitude for what little they have. Where does this feeling come from?

Creating Gratitude

Gratitude arises from how you look at things. It is the natural feeling that comes from truly appreciating the people and things in your life. It is also something you can learn.

You’re never too old to start learning how to be grateful.

First, you have to stop and smell the roses. You can’t be thankful for something you don’t notice or enjoy. Roses really do smell great, by the way.

Then, you need to make this appreciative approach to roses and life a habit. There’s no need to ignore the ugliness in the world, but you have to habitually see the beautiful things.

Start writing down every positive thing that happens to you, and all the things you like. I recommend buying a journal just for writing about gratitude. Do this until you start automatically seeing the good things in life. If you’ve ever bought a white car, and started seeing white cars all over, you know how awareness can alter your perception of reality.

To see wonderful things all over, train yourself to look for them.

When you are in the habit of “counting your blessings,” gratitude, and a much richer experience of life is the natural result. The Great Spirit Honors you when you count your blessings. You will find you are receiving more out of life then you ever did before once you develop a gratitude attitude.

Be thankful for what you have and have had.

May you feel the true blessing of being thankful this Thanksgiving.

I am grateful that you took the time to read this message.

Many Blessings,

Cherokee Billie

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Llewellyn’s Spell A Day

Solar Energy and Inspiration

NOVEMBER 21, 2021 BY BLAKE OCTAVIAN BLAIR

The sun is great to work with for a burst of motivating energy and forward movement. A simple tool that represents all these energies in one concise focal point is the Sun card in the major arcana of the tarot. For today, put the Sun from your favorite tarot deck on your altar, and gather a carnelian or citrine stone and a white or yellow candle. Arrange the items on your altar, and light the candle, placed in a holder in which it can safely burn down. Bring your attention to a task that you’ve lacked motivation to do. Focus on the tarot image, and see the radiant light of the Sun imbuing you with energy. Feel yourself beginning to glow with warm, radiant, glowing energy. Feel the inspiration welling up within you, and pay attention as ideas come to mind of how you can spring into action on your task.

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Fuzzy Slipper Magick

NOVEMBER 20, 2021 BY NAJAH LIGHTFOOT

Today we’re going to use our third eye vision and look ahead into the future. I’m envisioning a day in the near future when you’ll want to relax, let go, and be. It will come after a time when you’ve been working hard spiritually, emotionally, or physically. This will be the day when you’ll need some fuzzy slipper magick.

Today, cast your eyes into the future and visualize a special pair of slippers or socks that make you feel instantly relaxed and comforted. Hold to that vision and visit it frequently until you see those magickal socks or slippers appear in an ad or a store. On that day, purchase or procure those slippers so that when your day of need arises, you will have magickally brought into being that which you need most, solidifying your power to visualize and manifest.

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Strengthen Your Foundation

NOVEMBER 19, 2021 BY MICHAEL FURIE

Early today, the sun is in Scorpio and the moon is in the opposing sign of Taurus. These are both “fixed” signs that prefer a strong foundation and a steady environment. Their near-perfect opposition today, with the earth caught in the middle (the eclipse), can result in a chaotic vibe. We can use magic to transform this condition. You’ll need a small table, a white candle, a black candle, and a chair.

Place the black candle on the left side of the table and the white one on the right. Safely light the candles, first the left one and then the right. Sit in the chair, placing both feet flat on the floor and both hands flat on the table, one in front of each candle. Close your eyes and feel yourself magnetically held in place. Feel solid and strong, fixed in place to the earth, where nothing can disturb you. Say this verse three times:

Chaos return to calm, foundation

steady and strong.

Open your eyes and extinguish the candles.

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Dream Pillow Healing

NOVEMBER 18, 2021 BY ELIZABETH BARRETTE

The root of health is sleep. The best healing happens at night. If you can’t sleep well, you probably don’t heal well either. So focus on ensuring a good night’s sleep to improve the rest of your health.

You can make a dream pillow by sewing a pouch or by putting one drawstring bag inside another, with their cinched openings in opposite directions. Fill the pouch with herbs for healing and sleep. A good combination of seven magical herbs is hops, chamomile, catnip, lavender, mint, rose petals, and sage. Use organic herbs if you can find and afford them. Fill most of the space with hops and/or chamomile, then add smaller amounts of the other herbs. Close the pouch by sewing it shut or pulling the drawstrings. Then say:

Sweet herbs, send me peaceful

sleep and heal me in the night.

Tuck the dream pillow into your bed and sleep with it at night.

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All My Luggage Spell

NOVEMBER 17, 2021 BY STORM FAERYWOLF

Many people travel at this time of year. Though it’s nice to have the freedom to travel, the hassles can be frustrating, one of the worst being lost luggage. Even if you don’t have immediate travel plans, this spell can prepare you for when you do.

You will need your suitcase(s) or other travel bag(s), a spool of wide, brightly colored ribbon, and scissors.

Ground and center. Measure and cut a length of ribbon, roughly nine feet long, for each of your bags, plus a shorter one about six feet. Tie each longer ribbon to a bag, saying:

Ribbon bright, I tie you here,

To keep my luggage safe and near.

The final ribbon you will carry with you while you travel, as a link to the others. Tie a knot in it and say:

A final knot to keep the others

Bound to me by silken colors.

Travel well!

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Rose Milk

NOVEMBER 16, 2021 BY KATE FREULER

Roses are famous for their association with love of all kinds—romance, friendship, goodwill, devotion, and more. Something many people don’t realize is that rose petals are also edible. To make rose milk, you will need one fresh rose and a cup of milk (either dairy or vegan). Make absolutely certain your rose comes from an organic source and has not been sprayed with chemicals.

Pull the petals off the rose one by one and place them in the shape of a heart on your altar or any flat surface. Put the glass of milk in the center. Visualize pink, loving light all around the rose petals. Now drop the petals into the milk one at a time. With each petal, state out loud something you’d like to attract in a relationship, such as trust, affection, support, or physical chemistry.

Allow the petals to sit in the milk for an hour in the fridge, then strain them out and dispose of them. Drink the milk or add it to your cereal or coffee. Focus on the pink vibrations that are now in your body, drawing loving energies straight to you.

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Sweet Words Spell

NOVEMBER 15, 2021 BY DEVIN HUNTER

Venus is in Capricorn today, bringing our relationships and matters of the home front and center. We might just find ourselves getting into arguments with our partners or close friends and family. Add the holiday tension many of us are feeling to the mix and, well, things could get rough! Cast this spell to have what you say be heard and to have your opinion be desired rather than dismissed.

To do this spell, all you need is some honey. About a teaspoon will do just fine. If you do not have honey, feel free to use any type of sweet syrup. Place the honey on your tongue, but do not swallow. Instead, close your eyes and swirl it around in your mouth. When your mouth is sufficiently coated, say:

As this honey is sweet to me,

So shall my words to you be!

Then swallow and speak your words with confidence for all to hear.

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Heartwings Love Notes 1009 Living with Thanksgiving

Heartwings says, “Gratitude is vital to a happy life.”

The celebration of gratitude called Thanksgiving has been a part of humanity since before recorded history. Harvest festivals were held in agricultural communities when the last crops were gathered in, and reverence in the form of offerings was given to whichever deity was worshipped for having helped with the growth of the crops.

People would gather to perform songs, dances, and other rituals to celebrate the harvest and pay homage to their deities. They believed that while they might plant and tend, they could not control the potential for disease, drought, bad weather, or other disasters. This was the province of the deity. These ceremonies were held to ensure good fortune would continue.

Our Thanksgiving, as every child learns, originated with the Pilgrims who had left England to avoid being persecuted for their Protestant faith. When it came to giving credit for their survival, the religious element remained strong: the worship of their Christian God as the source of the harvest bounty. His power and goodwill was invoked as a way of acknowledging their need for his good graces.

However originally, and logically, the deity worshipped by the more primitive peoples was feminine—a goddess by whatever name she was called. Offerings of the first fruits, or the last, were common as part of the celebrations. There were even a few different tribes that sacrificed a young girl as part of their harvest ritual.

An offering to acknowledge gratitude has been a common practice all the world over. Spilling a few drops of newly poured wine could be said to be similar to our saying grace at the beginning of a meal. Being thankful for my food at every meal is a good way to remind myself to be thankful throughout the day for whatever blessings I may receive. However, daily gratitude need not be confined to consuming food and drink.

When I step into my hot shower, I give thanks. When I slide into my comfortable bed, I do so again. A nice sunny day is another occasion for thanks. I have been and will again be grateful for some circumstances which might at first glance seem nothing for which to say thanks. These may at the time have seemed something to regret yet turned out to be helpful or useful lessons. This Thanksgiving as always, I will think about all that I am grateful for, and the day after it I will continue to do so.

May you find much to rejoice over, and for which to be grateful.

Blessings and Best Regards, Tasha Halpert

Do you have special circumstances for which to be grateful? If you would like to share them with me, I would be grateful to you! Your correspondence, dear reader, warms my heart and feeds my soul. Thanks in advance for writing to me at tashahal@aol.com and do visit my web pages at www.heartwingsandfriends.com .

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A Peanut Butter Cup Pie is the New Thanksgiving Flex

by Trey Hilburn III

Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Thanksgiving Pie Sells Out and eBays for $500+

Do you want to flex really hard on Thanksgiving? Well, Reese’s is giving folks the chance. Their latest branded 3-pound peanut butter cup pie is all the rage on social media right now. The pie was exclusively available on Reese’s site and sold out in a couple of hours. I personally managed to score one not realizing that it was going to be a Thanksgiving phenomenon.

Now that the Reese’s pie has sold out in record time, it has gone on to eBay. The highest bidders are taking this one home for Thanksgiving and the bids are high. One of the recent bids opened at $310 and ended up selling at $500+!

When Reese’s opened up their peanut butter cup pie sale, they weren’t only exclusive to Reese’s site they were also limited to 3000 pies. Those 3000 pies got bought up really fast. The pie retailed for $44.95 each.

“When you bring together friends and family for Thanksgiving dinner, no table spread is complete without dessert, at Reese’s, we wanted to create a dessert that everyone wants a piece of.” Bo Jones, Senior associate brand manager for Reese’s said in a press release.

The folks that are selling the pies on eBay are raking in the cash now and earning huge profits on their Thanksgiving investment. Personally, I’m torn between bringing this sucker to Thanksgiving dinner to a house full of excited friends or selling it for hundreds of dollars.

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Sitting with Our Sadness

Sitting with our sadness takes the courage to believe that we can bear the pain and we will come out the other side.

The last thing most of us want to hear or think about when we are dealing with profound feelings of sadness is that deep learning can be found in this place. In the midst of our pain, we often feel picked on by life, or overwhelmed by the enormity of some loss, or simply too exhausted to try and examine the situation. We may feel far too disappointed and angry to look for anything resembling a bright side to our suffering. Still, somewhere in our hearts, we know that we will eventually emerge from the depths into the light of greater awareness. Remembering this truth, no matter how elusive it seems, can help.

The other thing we often would rather not hear when we are dealing with intense sadness is that the only way out of it is through it. Sitting with our sadness takes the courage to believe that we can bear the pain and the faith that we will come out the other side. With courage, we can allow ourselves to cycle through the grieving process with full inner permission to experience it. This is a powerful teaching that sadness has to offer us — the ability to surrender and the acceptance of change go hand in hand.

Another teaching of sadness is compassion for others who are in pain, because it is only in feeling our own pain that we can really understand and allow for someone else’s. Sadness is something we all go through, and we all learn from it and are deepened by its presence in our lives. While our own individual experiences of sadness carry with them unique lessons, the implications of what we learn are universal. The wisdom we gain from going through the process of feeling loss, heartbreak, or deep disappointment gives us access to the heart of humanity.

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Ghost Hunting Theories

Using Protective Stones

As a psychometrist, I can tell you that objects hold memories and feelings, but stones hold energy. Utilizing the energy for our own protection and goals is a long-held practice rooted in something very real – energy!

In dealing with spirit energy and wanting to protect oneself, whether at home or on investigations, here are some of the stones I suggest you consider carrying or wearing.

Turquoise

It is considered a whole body healer. Natives believe it to be a bridge between heaven and earth. It is said to move at the highest vibration of love and healing.

This stone is well used for situations where you are grieving or you need to let go of resentment and let in love.

Hematite

This absorbs negative energy and calms down stress. It is very protective and grounding. Can transform negative energy into positive.

I used to carry this one when I was going on job interviews or confronting someone that I was worried about dealing with.

Labradorite

Protects against negative energy, strengthening the aura, keeping you from having any energy leaks. It also provides confidence.

This is a great stone for when you have to be brave or when you might be around negative people. It’s a fantastic work place stone.

Amethyst

This is a healing stone for physical and emotional. It is helpful for insomnia and nightmares.

I would suggest this one be placed in your pillowcase when you sleep.

Rose quartz

This one is great for a happy heart, to attract love, to heal the heart, to clear out anger and jealousy.

This is a stone you should have on you when dealing with family, especially if there are old hurts. Life is too short to come from anywhere else but love.

Black Tourmaline

This one blocks negative energy and psychic attack.

It should be #1 for any ghost investigator. It also helps remove negative energies.

Fluorite

This one clears negative energies from your aura. Creates harmony from chaos. Concentration and balance.

This would be a good one to have at work to keep the energy around you from affecting you while helping your concentrate.

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How to Use Tarot in Your Daily Routine (Without Overwhelming or Scaring Yourself), According to Author Jessica Dore

by JULIANNE ISHLER

Woman is reading Tarot cards on the table in cafe

There are many types of ways to make decisions, both big and small. Some people create a pro/con list, while others mull it over until their heads feel like they’re going to explode. There’s no right or wrong way to go about it, but there are ways you can connect with yourself to access one of your most powerful decision-making tools: your intuition.

Tarot cards are just one of those ways you can tap into your inner self to get clarity around what’s best for you. Tarot is a highly personal practice, as well as a subjective one. Just as different people have different interpretations of the cards, there are also different methods to tap into the wisdom of a deck.

Of course, using the cards in your daily routine can be an excellent guide for helping you gain clarity and perspective. If you’re interested in starting a tarot practice or enriching the one you have, Jessica Dore, a licensed social worker, tarot reader, and author of the book “Tarot for Change,” believes you can integrate the cards into your routine for deeper fulfillment — and transform yourself in the process.

“I’m a big believer in making your practice your own, doing what feels best for you, and not getting too caught up on thinking these are the rules of what a tarot practice should look like,” she tells Apartment Therapy. Instead, getting familiar with your deck and learning the council of characters or archetypes presented to you can help you explore many different facets of yourself while putting the right questions in front of you. Dore talked to Apartment Therapy about her tarot reading process and how you can interpret and interact with the cards for deeper self-insight.

Jessica Dore: When I started reading tarot for myself probably 10 years ago or so, I found it very helpful to have a physical object that I could sit down with every day and have this ritual of pulling a card and then maybe journaling about it or looking up some meanings in books or on the internet. I just found having that time to check in with myself incredibly powerful. I think that really brings it back to a very basic thing that seems so simple, but it was really amazing, you know? Life is busy and it can be really transformative to do something very simple, like have a daily practice of pulling a tarot card and interacting with the image.

AT: How can someone use tarot for daily guidance and insight into their lives?

JD: Well, I think it’s common for people to feel intimidated by the deck — like you have to know what all the cards mean in order to get anything out of it or you have to have some pre-existing knowledge. I think the most important thing if you’re interested in using cards in this way is to find a deck that feels… you know, it’s a collection of 78 images and so you want to find images that are resonant for you. It’s like finding images that feel good in whatever way you need them to feel, and then just pull the card and experiment.

You don’t have to have any pre-existing knowledge, you can use a book like my book, or there’s many other books out there. There’s a lot of information on the internet — you can look up what the different cards that you pull mean but you can also just interact with the image. When I teach tarot classes, I encourage people to find a balance between relying on books and resources online that will tell you set meanings for the cards, and then also giving yourself space and time to interact with an image and just see what it brings up for you, just by looking at it.

I think that in itself can be really, really powerful and it’s one of the things I wanted to relay in the book, by offering writings about the cards that were not prescriptive. It doesn’t say, “Here’s what this card means.” It’s just a reflection that came from my own interacting with the image and then obviously various sources. I wanted to show people how anyone can do that.

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Waiting for Someday

All the joy and passion you can envision can be yours right now, rather than in a future point in time.

The time we are blessed with is limited and tends to be used up all too quickly. How we utilize that time is consequently one of the most important decisions we make. Yet it is far too easy to put off until tomorrow what we are dreaming of today. The hectic pace of modern existence affords us an easy out; we shelve our aspirations so we can cope more effectively with the challenges of the present, ostensibly to have more time and leisure to realize our purpose in the future. Or we tell ourselves that we will chase our dreams someday once we have accomplished other lesser goals. In truth, it is our fear that keeps us from seeking fulfillment in the here and now — because we view failure as a possibility, our reasons for delaying our inevitable success seem sound and rational. If we ask ourselves what we are really waiting for, however, we discover that there is no truly compelling reason why we should put off the pursuit of the dreams that sustain us.

When regarded as a question, “Why not now?” drains us of our power to realize our ambitions. We are so concerned with the notion that we are somehow undeserving of happiness that we cannot see that there is much we can do in the present to begin courting it. Yet when we look decisively at our existence and state, “Why not now, indeed!” we are empowered to begin changing our lives this very moment. We procrastinate for many reasons, from a perceived lack of time to a legitimate lack of self-belief, but the truth of the matter is that there is no time like the present and no time but the present. Whatever we aim to accomplish, we will achieve it more quickly and with a greater degree of efficiency when we seize the day and make the most of the resources we have at our disposal presently.

All the joy, passion, and contentment you can envision can be yours right now, rather than in some far-flung point in time. You need only remind yourself that there is nothing standing between you and fulfillment. If you decide that today is the day you will take your destiny into your hands, you will soon discover that you hold the keys of fate.

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Communication

Expressing ourselves honestly in any relationship is essential to our well-being.

When we are in a relationship where we feel listened to and understood, we count ourselves lucky because we know how rare that experience is. We reserve our most intimate selves for the people who, along with us, cocreate an open space where we feel free to express ourselves and listen without judgment. These relationships, which thrive on open communication, can mean the difference between existential loneliness and a deep sense of belonging. We all long to feel heard, understood, and loved, and clear communication makes this possible.

Sometimes problems arise in the process of expressing how we feel, but it is always worth it to do the work. Even in our less intimate relationships, expressing ourselves honestly is essential to our sense of well-being. Whether at home with family or in the outside world, successful communication requires some forethought; otherwise we risk blundering through our relationships like the proverbial bull in a china shop. However, too much forethought can stifle us or cause us to pad our words so extremely that we end up saying nothing at all or confusing the matter further. The good news is that there are many methods that can come to our rescue, from meditation to visualization to journaling.

If the person we need to communicate with is open to sitting in meditation together for a set period of time before speaking, this can be invaluable. When we are calm and centered, we can count on ourselves to speak and respond truthfully. We can also meditate on our own time and then practice what we need to say. A visualization in which we sit with the person and lovingly exchange a few words can also be a great precedent to an actual conversation. If writing comes easily, we can write out what we need to say; it may take several drafts, but we will eventually find the words. The key is to find ways to center ourselves so that we communicate meaningfully, lovingly, and wisely. In this way, we honor our companions and create relationships in which there is a genuine sense of understanding and respect.

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Gilberto: Chapter 28

by Stephen Halpert

Gilberto and Maria finished supper with Diana Rain. Gilberto felt uneasy.

“Odd,” Rain said. “Buzz having a massive heart attack. Last we heard he was resting comfortably and making progress recovering from a stroke.”

“Maybe someone didn’t want him to recover.” He took a deep breath, felt his chest tighten. For close to twenty years he had worked with Buzz, found him personable, fair, a good boss and an even better friend. Tears almost came to his eyes and he swallowed hard. He feared Atlas had grown too fast and now repercussions were setting in.

Maria served coffee. She looked quizzical.  “I wonder about the hospital security around him?”
“Couldn’t have been all that professional,” Rain said. “But we won’t know anything until the autopsy is filed. And Smith always says conjecture is for amateurs.” She thanked Maria and Gilberto for the supper, said good night and left.

Gilberto frowned. “If Atlas folds or gets bought up…”

Maria took his hand. “You’d still be Director of Shipping. You know too much.”

“Don’t know that I’d want to, be,” Gilberto said. “Maybe its time for a change.”

“Soccer coach at Houndstooth, maybe?” Maria smiled, leaned over and kissed him “Come with me. We’ve unfinished business to tend to.”

He shook his head. “Too much on my mind. I think I’d best talk with our broker and see about selling our Atlas stock. As it is we’ll make good profit.”

“You can do that in the morning. Right now I want you beside me. Seriously I need to be close to you. I’ve a lot on my mind as well.”

His eyes widened “Something is bothering you?”

“I wouldn’t say bothering. Thar’s the wrong word. I think I need to decide about this baby business. I’m over forty and not so sure about getting pregnant again.”

He turned and looked into her eyes. “That’s your decision.”

He sighed. He had hoped for a son but was careful not to impose his wishes upon her.

“But you’ve wanted a son,” she said. “You’ve never mentioned it but I can tell.”

“You’re reading my mind.” He tried to smile. But Buzz’s passing dominated his thoughts. He sighed again. “Nothing will be the same at Atlas. Buzz had his way of delegating responsibility. Now everything will be by committee.”

“And that worries you.” Tears filled her eyes. “And I’m complicating things.”

“No, no you aren’t.” But he couldn’t mask his feelings.

“Gilberto we’ve been together too long for me not recognizing how you feel regardless what you may or may not say.”

“I’m happy with you just the way we are.”

“I believe you. But still.”

His hand shook. “Buzz was like an older brother to me.”

“Yes,” she said softly. “And you worry about what Sara Midgley might concoct that could mess things up.”

He nodded. “Yes, there’s that too. But Maria you’re my rock. I need to know your happy and content.”

“Some feminists might construe that as chauvinistic.”

 He bristled at the thought. His next words came out harshly. “Some feminists can take a flying leap,” he growled.

She smiled. “I love you, Gilberto; always have, always will.”

He swallowed some water. “Maybe we should just go to bed.”

She grinned. “That’s what I tried suggesting earlier.”

He grinned. “I’m going to shower. See you in a few.”

He hurried into the shower and washed quickly. As he stepped out and wrapped up in a towel, he suddenly realized that he felt as though he wasn’t alone in the bathroom. Then he looked again and it seemed as though he saw Buzz. His eyes widened. “This can’t be,” he said. “You’re dead.” Then he realized that the figure he saw was oddly transparent. It was Buzz in a blue hospital jonnie and he could see through him. He clutched his chest and his teeth began to chatter.  

“Buzz, that you?”

He saw him smile, that same sardonic smile usually reserved for board room victories. He nodded and then vanished.

“Gilberto,” he heard his name spoken clearly.”

“Am I hallucinating,” he asked?

Then he saw him again, briefly in and out of sight, vague transparent visibility.”

“What can I do,” he asked. “How can I help you.”

He thought he heard Buzz say “set a trap. Worked too hard to see it all go up in smoke.”

“How? What kind of trap? What do you want me to do?”

“Then quite distinctly he heard Buzz say, “you’ll know at the time.”

“Who did that to you,” he asked? He wanted to say who killed you but those words stuck in his throat.”
Buzz faded in and out. Gilberto sensed it was a struggle for him to get his point across.  “What can I do,” he asked again.

“You’ll know. Smell the flowers.”

Those words he heard clearly. “You’ll know.” What flowers?  Then Buzz’s image evaporated, faded into nothingness. Again he heard him distinctly say “you’ll know.”

He stood shivering, clutching the bath sheet around himself. Flowers, what flowers? He didn’t understand. He bolted into the bedroom.

Maria looked quizzical. “Your face is stark white. You look like you’ve seen a ghost.”

He nodded, climbed into bed beside her. Shivering he clutched her for warmth.

She held him, stroked his back and shoulders. “When you can, tell me.”

Tears filled his eyes. “So cold,”  he clutched her, shivering  “Buzz,” he said.  “Buzz right there with me in the bathroom. He said I’d know.”

She nodded and reached for her black box of homeopathic remedies. She opened a small glass vile and carefully shook half a dozen white pellets into the cap. “Here,” she handed it to him. “Take these. It’s Arnica, good for shock. It’ll help.”

He swallowed them. The shivering began to subside. “He wants me to help. I think he was murdered and we’ll catch whoever killed him.”

Maria stroked his back. “And you’ll help him,” she said softly. “Then he’ll be able to move on and be at peace.”

(to be continued)

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OSTRICH FEATHER FUNERALS OF THE VICTORIAN ERA

by Cathy Wallace

Ostrich feather funerals might sound very odd to us in our day but in the 1800s, they were all the rage. An elegant funeral just wouldn’t have been prestigious at all without an abundance of ostrich feathers.

The fluffy plumes could be found just about everywhere at funerals – on lady’s hats, on top of the hearse, sticking up from the corners of the memorial tent, on horse’s heads, and in wreaths on the mourner’s front doors.

Funerals were used to communicate the wealth and high-class standing of the deceased and their family during the Victorian era. And one of the more obvious ways to convey prestige was to have lots of ostrich feathers at the funeral.

Abraham Lincoln’s Ostrich Feather Funeral

Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of the United States of America, was well-loved by the people he led and served. Great respect was shown to him at his funeral and burial service held at Springfield, Illinois in 1865.

The horse-drawn hearse that bore the body of President Lincoln was a gilded 14-foot coach topped with eight plumes of black ostrich feathers.

The carriage weighed 4,600-pounds – part of which was due to the 24-carat gold-encrusted fence work and ostrich feather stands along the roof.

In addition to the huge ostrich feather plumes on the rooftop, there were ostrich feather plumes on the horses’ heads.

President Lincoln’s casket was transported through some of the major cities in America, like this one in Buffalo, New York.

A large plume of black ostrich feathers was on the top of this funeral coach as well as smaller plumes on each corner. Each of the six horses had a tuft of ostrich feathers sticking up between their ears.

Similarly, the funeral car for President Abraham Lincoln that passed through Columbus, Ohio had an elegant coach and horses, all topped with ostrich feathers.

Lincoln’s New York City funeral procession had triple-layered plumes of ostrich feathers on the carriage. They almost look like little Christmas trees! The carriage was pulled by a dozen horses each with black ostrich feather plumes.

The funeral processions ended at President Lincoln’s hometown of Springfield Illinois.

Two years before his assassination, Lincoln wrote, “Springfield is my home, and there, more than elsewhere, are my life-long friends.”

The small town of 15,000 residents welcomed more than 100,000 visitors who came for the funeral services. Civil War soldiers stood by in quiet reverence near a grand canopy that had been erected for the viewing. And what noble decorations were chosen for the pinnacle? Ostrich feathers, of course!

The Duke of Wellington’s Ostrich Feather Funeral

The Duke of Wellington was the commander-in-chief of the military when Queen Victoria reigned in England.

It has been said that Wellington’s funeral was one of the greatest British events of the 19th century. It is estimated that 1.5 million people joined the procession route to the graveyard.

The funeral carriage was an eleven-ton behemoth cast from a bronze cannon that had been captured at the Battle of Waterloo. It was so unwieldy that it got stuck in the mud on the way to the cemetery and it took 61 policemen to get it out. But the ostrich feathers all over it sure looked good!

Louis-Philippe Brodeur’s Ostrich Feather Funeral

There was a long list of accomplishments and accolades for Louis-Philippe Brodeur of Canada when he passed away. He was a journalist, lawyer, politician, federal Cabinet minister, Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, and Speaker of the House of Commons of Canada.

So when his funeral procession was planned, he was honored by being conveyed to the cemetery in an 8-plume ostrich feather horse-drawn hearse.

Ostrich Feather Funeral Hats

If your ancestors were invited to an elite funeral during the Victorian era, they would have received a hand-delivered invitation at their door.

On the day of the funeral, they would have donned their finest clothes, often including ostrich feather hats and other ostrich feather accessories.

They would not have worn black unless they were a close family member of the deceased.

Lady Frances Evelyn “Daisy” Greville, Countess of Warwick, (1861 – 1938) was a social activist. She established agricultural colleges for women, founded a school for needlework, and used her ancestral homes to host events for the benefit of her workers and tenants.

She was said to have been the inspiration for the popular song “Daisy, Daisy” due to her rather unorthodox conduct. You’ve probably heard it:

Daisy, Daisy,

Give me your answer, do!

I’m half crazy,

All for the love of you!

It won’t be a stylish marriage,

I can’t afford a carriage,

But you’ll look sweet on the seat

Of a bicycle built for two!

And of course, she wore an ostrich feather hat!

Ostrich Feather Funeral Hats for Widows

Now, if your ancestor was a close relative of the deceased in the 1800s, they would have immediately donned black mourning clothes when they heard that there had been a death in the family.

And then they may not have worn any other color for years!

Mourning clothes were considered an outward expression of one’s inner grief. Going out without your black ostrich feather hat could signify that you did not love your departed family member deeply enough.

It was considered rude for anyone outside of the family to wear black mourning clothes. So if you have a photograph of your ancestors dressed in black – or with black ostrich feathers – you can be sure that they had a death in the family.

I’m not quite sure how one kept a sad countenance when wearing a hat like that!

In spite of her slight smile, the black feathers on this woman’s hat, her black crepe dress, and dark fur muff, scream, “I am a widow” without her needing to say a word to anyone about it.

And that was the point of mourning clothes during the Victorian era – one wore them so that sympathy could be given without anyone having to speak taboo words such as “death” or “passed on”.

A Victorian woman was expected to remain in deep mourning for a year and a day during which she wore only simple black clothing.

This was followed by six to nine months of “second mourning” which lasted six to nine months and allowed for some use of trim and small jewelry.

Next came three to six months of “half-mourning” which allowed for more elaborate fabrics and jewelry. Colors like gray and lavender were permitted as long as there was minimal ornamentation.

An ostrich feather on the top of the mourning hat was the perfect addition.

Ostrich Feather Funeral Mourning Clothes

A proper lady of the 1800s had a black ostrich feather hat ready in her closet in case someone died.

A black feather boa would be just the thing to wear to an ostrich feather funeral.

And a black ostrich feather fan with pink ostrich feather tips would be exactly right for a Victorian ostrich feather funeral. Really, dah-ling!

Ostrich Feather Funeral Horses

If your ancestors weren’t quite so “well-to-do” they may have rented a plain carriage – without ostrich feather plumes – to convey their loved one’s coffin to the cemetery.

But surely, they would have at least tried to have one ostrich feather on the top of each of the horse’s heads.

Ostrich Feather Wreaths

Most wreaths in our day are hung to celebrate Christmas. But it was not always so.

One of the most common Victorian funeral traditions was to hang a wreath on the front door when a family member died.

The wreath let community members know that there had been a death in the household so that they could pass by quietly out of respect. Even children were taught to play on a different street out of ear-shot of a home with a wreath on the door.

Most funeral wreaths were made up of black ribbons or black crepe. But the nicest ones were made of black ostrich feathers.

Ostrich Feather Funerals were Big Business

Pull out your wallet. It’s time to shop for some ostrich feathers!

Here’s a real deal. Seventeen-inch long ostrich plumes for just $18 per dozen. Nice.

Ostrich farm

But if you want some REALLY, REEEEALLY nice ostrich feathers, you better check your bank account.

Read the fine print in this ad . . . “Our special $5.00 plume, any color, looks like a $10.00 plume.” Five bucks for one feather!

Okay, maybe you’re thinking that doesn’t sound like so awfully much. But what if you need enough ostrich feathers to top off your hat, and all your daughter’s hats, and their boas and fans. And feathers for the hearse, and for the house, and for the horse? It’s adding up, isn’t it?

Now, wait. $5 in 1850 is worth $175.00 today! Yikes! Those really were some expensive feathers!

Ostrich

Prior to the 1860s, ostrich feathers were imported to Britain from across the Sahara desert and into South Africa where the birds were common in the wild.

Ostrich feather hunt

Since ostriches cannot fly and they live on the open deserts, they were easy prey. Riders on horseback chased down the ostriches, killed them, and plucked their feathers.

They didn’t even have to chase the ones that got really scared and stuck their head in the sand to hide.

The feathers were then bundled up and transported in camel caravans to North Africa. Then they were loaded onto ships and sent to France or Italy and on to London where they were sold.

Ostrich feathers

Feathers were Africa’s fourth-largest export – behind gold and diamonds – in the 1800s. And ostrich feathers were the most profitable because they were the most fluffy.

Ostrich Feather Farms

Of course, an ostrich that had been clubbed, shot with a bow and arrow, or poisoned was not going to produce any more feathers. But their very scarcity only increased the value of the feathers.

Eventually, some entrepreneurial-minded folks determined that there was a profit to be made in meeting the great demand for ostrich feathers. So they began to experiment with raising ostriches in captivity.

The ostrich farmers fed their birds well and built coops.

Ostrich farmers even set up incubators for the large ostrich eggs. This was helpful because the mother ostriches sometimes forgot to keep their eggs warm or even destroyed the eggs if they got spooked.

Rather than plucking feathers from dead birds, ostrich farmers clipped the ostrich feathers from the living birds so that more would grow in the next year.

A sack was put over the bird’s head while the feathers were clipped.

Ostrich Feather Processing

The feathers had to be sorted. Big was better than small, fluffy was better than stiff.

Just keep the feathers coming for those ostrich feather funerals!

When the Titanic sank in 1912, the most valuable cargo on board was a shipment of feathers. It was insured for $2.3 million in today’s money.

There was even ostrich feather sorting jobs.

Colored Ostrich Feathers

When planning an ostrich feather funeral in the 1800s, it was important to understand the rules of etiquette.

Ostrich plumes should be black if the deceased was an elderly person.

White ostrich feathers were used for children’s funerals.

A combination of white and black mourning clothes and feathers could be worn when the deceased was middle-aged or during the later stages of grief.

Ostrich feathers were even dyed different colors.

They were hand-dipped in vats and hung on lines to dry.

Your ancestors may have stopped by the local general store or millinery to check out the latest catalogs for colored ostrich feather samples like these published in 1888.

If they needed something more subtle for late-mourning stages, they could select pastel-dyed ostrich feathers.

Ostrich Feather Tourism

In 1885, Edwin Cawston had fifty ostriches shipped from South Africa to Galveston, Texas. From there he planned to have the ostriches sent to his farm in Pasadena, California.

Sadly, ostriches aren’t very good sailors. In rough seas, they can flip upside down in their pens causing them to be stuck on their backs with their legs flailing in the air. If they stay like that, they can die.

So every person on the ship was on 24-hour/7 day a week call, listening for the distressed cry of upside-down ostriches.

In spite of all their efforts, only 18 ostriches survived the voyage. But eventually, Cawston bred them and increased his stock from 18 to 100.

The Cawston Ostrich Farm formally opened in 1886 and quickly became a very popular tourist attraction.

Tourists could take a spin in an ostrich-drawn cart at the Cawston Ostrich Farm – while wearing the same ostrich feather hat they wore to the latest funeral of course!

Such a Fuss Over a Feather!

The decline of the ostrich feather as funeral decor came about when the feather was no longer considered to be “a rare and beautiful thing”. The ostrich farms made the feathers so plentiful that just about anyone could afford one.

Ostrich feathers ceased to be something that could only be obtained by the wealthy. And when the ostrich feathers lost the limelight, no one wanted them at all anymore.

But you know, that’s probably a good thing. Otherwise, we might all be wearing ostrich feather hats like this one to funerals.

Volunteer to Take Gravestone Photos

Now before you “make like an ostrich” and bury your head in the sand, we want to let you know that we really need YOUR help in taking photos of gravestones with the BillionGraves app!

If you still have questions after you have clicked on the link to get started, you can email us at Volunteer@BillionGraves.com. We’ll be happy to help you! We will assist you in locating a cemetery that still needs to have photos taken.

Are you planning a group service project? Email us at Volunteer@BillionGraves.com for more resources.

Thanks in advance!

Happy Cemetery Hopping!

Cathy Wallace and The BillionGraves Team

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Kitty Kat’s Korner

Why Do Cats Like Smelly Stuff?

By Susan Logan McCracken

You may have seen your cat sleeping on top of your shoes or rolling around on your smelly gym clothes. Maybe you were grossed out, laughed out loud or both. What is it with cats and smelly things?

Cats aren’t the only animals attracted to smelly things. To animals, the sense of smell is extremely important because they use it to communicate with other animals and learn about their environment. Animals rely on their olfactory sense the way we rely on our eyesight. A human’s visual cortex is the dominant part of the brain, while animals with a strong sense of smell have a dominant olfactory cortex.

A cat’s sense of smell

The number of olfactory receptors within the nasal passages indicates the strength of an individual’s sense of smell, according to a study published in the Indian Journal of Veterinary Science. With approximately 100 million olfactory receptors in the nasal cavity, a cat’s sense of smell is around 20 times stronger than a human’s with only 5 million.

As if that isn’t enough, cats have scent glands on their cheeks, around their mouths, under their chins, and on their foreheads just below their ears. What humans lack in their sense of smell, they make up for in eyesight, as a human is about 10 times better than a cat’s, even though cats do see better in dimmer light.

The vomeronasal organ

Cats and other animals have an extra olfactory organ in the roof of their mouth called the vomeronasal (or Jacobson’s) organ. When a cat engages this organ, she might stick her tongue out, open her mouth wide and wrinkle her muzzle. This is also called gaping, sneering, snake mouth or the Flehmen response. Big cats, dogs, and horses do this as well.

The vomeronasal organ is an extrasensory olfactory organ that allows cats to get a better whiff of something. You might think of it as what a magnifying glass is for our eyesight, the vomeronasal organ is for a cat’s sense of smell. Cats will use it if they smell something they have never smelled before and want to more accurately identify it.

A form of identification

Cats identify things through their sense of smell. Cats recognize people by their scent and their voices, according to a study published in the journal Animal Cognition. Cats greet each other by touching noses. They also greet people by sniffing them and rubbing their scent on them to mark them as safe for future reference.

You may have noticed that sometimes cats will sniff another cat’s butt. They do that because the odor emitted by cats’ anal sacs is unique to each individual cat and is another form of establishing the other cat’s identity.

Scents of comfort

Cats are comforted by the scent of their favorite people. In fact, if you are leaving for a vacation or even work for just the day, leave your worn bathrobe out. You may find your cat sleeping on it when you get home, as a cat with separation anxiety can be comforted by your scent.

The inside of your shoes contains high concentrations of your sweat and scent. Stinky shoes also contain bacteria that are attracted to the warm, moist environment. The bottoms of your shoes tell a story of their own to a curious cat. Cats can pick up the scents of grass, dirt, parking lots, other floors you’ve walked on, and the scents of other humans and animals who were there before you. Sweaty gym clothes also appeal to bacteria and curious cats. Apocrine sweat glands, which are located in the armpits and groin areas, produce particularly potent odors that come from fats and proteins that bacteria can easily break down. That and your scent in high concentrations may explain why cats are interested in your smelly gym clothes.

Perhaps our cats simply want to be immersed in our scent. Take it as a huge compliment.

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Georgia Nicols Weekly Horoscope:  Sunday, November 21, 2021

All Signs

This week the Sun and Mercury move into Sagittarius, which will create strong, positive vibes for everyone. People will be optimistic, chatty and family oriented. However, by Thursday, some tough energy in Fixed signs will be sobering. Ah yes, what the big print giveth, the small print taketh away. Nevertheless, for the most part, this positive influence will set the tone for the next four weeks. We will all be more adventurous! We will expand our world through travel and learning. “I want life to sizzle!” One sure tip about how to feel better is this: “A random act of kindness, no matter how small, can make a tremendous impact on someone else’s life.”

Aries (March 21-April 19)

This week heralds a four-week shift of energy for you and it’s a good thing because the Sun will be in your Fellow fire sign for the next four weeks supporting you in a positive way. Yay! This happens twice a year about four months before and after your birthday. It means your energy level will be higher than usual and you will be able to do whatever you want — working and playing. Survey your recent achievements. How are you doing at the art of living? Examine what has worked out and what has not worked out. Don’t waste time on regrets. Pull your energy together and move forward! Expect opportunities to travel and learn. (Keep a bag packed by the door.)

Taurus (April 20-May 20)

This is a positive week but things will be crunchy around Thursday. Patience will be your best ally then. In the bigger picture, you will be more intense about everything in the next four weeks. In particular, issues related to shared property, debt, inheritances and insurance matters will be important. Travel opportunities exist, especially travel for pleasure. With Jupiter at the top of your chart, you look successful! However, Mars is now opposite your sign, and this makes you easily impatient with others. Oops. (You rarely lose your temper because it’s not pretty.) Practice patience. Enjoy the beauty and artifacts of other cultures.

Gemini (May 21-June 20)

This is a lovely week! Be patient with others on Thursday when people might rub each other the wrong way. (A temporary glitch.) Meanwhile, for the next four weeks, the Sun is opposite your sign. This happens only once a year and when it does, it signifies that things in your life are reaching a culmination. You’re bringing something to a climax; but you might encounter conflict with others who stand in your way. If you have prepared properly, you will succeed. If things don’t work out, use this as an opportunity for reevaluation. All your personal interactions are extremely important. Meanwhile, keep your pockets open because gifts and goodies will come your way. (“We like!”)

Cancer (June 21-July 22)

Recently, you have enjoyed playful, lighthearted times with others, perhaps a vacation? Now it’s time to get back to work, which is why the next four weeks offer you opportunities to pull your act together. Focus on efficiency and effectiveness. Make your actions count so that you get results for your efforts. This will extend to your health, which is why you will do what you can to improve your body and your overall sense of well-being. You might have to fulfil obligations to someone else or perform a service. This means you will work to get better organized, plus work to benefit others as well. (Makes sense.)

Leo (July 23-Aug. 22)

The next four weeks are a lighthearted, playful time! You will be happier! Life will be good. Having said that, this week around Thursday, there will be challenges with someone at home. You are a royal. Take the high road. Demonstrate grace under pressure. Your involvement with young people will increase in the next four weeks. Grab a vacation if you can. (Romance is blessed!) Relations with coworkers are cozy; in fact a work-related romance will begin for many. Do note that the same influence that brings a more sociable, lighthearted mood to your world will also promote your creative juices! If you’re involved in a creative process – get busy! You will shine!

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22)

Home and family are your focus for the next four weeks. You might be more involved than usual with a parent. Family discussions and opportunities to tackle home repairs now exist. At a more personal level, you will enjoy a chance to cocoon and focus on the intimate aspects of your life. You’ll welcome a chance to relax among familiar surroundings because you need time off to contemplate and enjoy your own company. Avoid conflict this Thursday when things are crunchy. Fortunately, Venus is in a fun part of your chart encouraging playful times with kids, romance and fun, social outings. Visit restaurants, theatres and galleries. Enjoy your life while you have it.

Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22)

Many small changes are taking place, which is why the next four weeks are busy! Short trips, activity with relatives, neighbours and siblings, appointments, plus increased reading and writing will create a jampacked schedule. Just accept this and attack what you do with enthusiasm and confidence. Fortunately, things at home are pleasant, harmonious and supportive. Don’t get your belly in a rash this Thursday when interactions with others are difficult. Meanwhile, you’ll be energetic approaching things in a hands-on way, plus you’re full of clever new ideas. This is your chance to accomplish a lot in just a few short weeks. “I’m done!”

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21)

For the next four weeks, you will be more focused on money, cash flow, your belongings and your assets. Study how what you own can give you more control in your life. And look to see what you own that is no longer useful. Why own stuff you don’t need? It’s an albatross around your neck! Fortunately, more than any other sign, you can purge what you don’t need from your life. At a more subtle level, you will reflect upon your values. In other words, what really matters? It’s time to cull things from your life that are extraneous – items, possessions and people. Life is too short for boxed wine; and too short for those who don’t have your back.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 21)

Ta da! The Sun is in your sign for the next four weeks, which occurs only once a year. This is a marvellous opportunity because it will boost your energy and recharge your batteries for the rest of year. It’s okay to be more self-centred. After all, the next four weeks are all about you. With the Sun in your sign, you make a fabulous impression on others. (Beware of jealousy.) You have a great need to express yourself and be who you are. Relax because this is one of the few times when your first duty is to yourself; and if you don’t fulfil that duty – you’ll be of little use to anyone else. (In the same way that on an airplane, a parent must put their oxygen mask on themselves first before their child.)

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 19)

It’s curious, your personal year is coming to an end but your new year won’t begin until your birthday arrives. Therefore, this is a time of limbo. However, you can use the next four weeks to get more in touch with your subconscious, and learn more about how your subconscious directs your life in ways you’re not aware of. For example, childhood behaviour patterns that have outlived their usefulness. (“When the boss comes, Kurt always hides under his desk.”) This is also an opportunity to look back over the year and see how well you have managed. Are you pleased with what you’re doing and what you have achieved? Where do you want to make changes for your new year ahead? Ideas?

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 18)

Friendships are important to you. (More than any other sign.) In the next four weeks, you will give more thought to your friends and the groups to which you belong. In fact, this is the best time all year to examine the role that they play in your life. Do you hang out with quality people? Do your friends have your back? What about groups and clubs? What is true of your friends is generally true of you. Furthermore, your friends and colleagues can influence your mind, and your mind makes your decisions for your future. Strive to establish who you are without being overly influenced by others. Having said that, the next four weeks are the best time for a team effort. “Go team, go!

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20)

The Sun will be at the top of your chart for the next four weeks – something that can take place only once a year. This is a blessing for you because it symbolizes that the Sun is shining down on you. Furthermore, this light is flattering! This is why without doing anything special on your part, you will impress others. Therefore, examine your role in society, and your standing in your community. What is that role? Are you an influencer? Don’t pretend to be something you are not because the truth will come out. Begin to prepare for next year because it will be one of the best years that you have had in over a decade. Oh yea, you’re going places!

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Weekly Horoscopes Beginning Sunday, 21 November 2021

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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.

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Aries

Personal theme: I am!!

Fire & cardinal sign: March 21 — April 19

Your horoscope for this week:

Hopefully by now you’ve realised that certain battles aren’t worth fighting, especially because amazing new ideas or offers are coming your way. The problem? These can’t be rushed, and you’re not feeling patient. The solution? Deal with those tedious matters you’ve been putting off for ages. These may seem unimportant now, but within a short time they’ll be crucial, if not a real nuisance.

You aren’t sure whether or not to take a risk even though this is a one that excites you. You have a 50:50 chance of this turning out as you are hoping. Both your family life and working relationships are equally blessed when there is so much going on that will bring you happiness and pleasure. Be sure to showcase your skills during a group event. You might enjoy sharing your knowledge with others in a teaching situation.

We are now between eclipses and as of Monday, the Sun moves through another of the Fire signs. You should find that you have the enthusiasm and desire to break habits and that the cosmic winds are behind you. Hold the thought that after December 4, you’ll likely want to spread your wings through a new course of study, learning or travel adventure. That might mean saying goodbye to one system of working. So, this is a transition period: use the first half of the week for researching and if necessary, obtaining estimates. As of Thursday, when Mercury and the Moon together move into the other Fire signs, your enthusiasm rise even further. More than that, a creative burst will surely have got you noticed and possibly brought an interesting offer your way.

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Taurus

Personal theme: I have!!

Earth & fixed sign: April 20 — May 20

Your horoscope for this week:

Life is exciting. However, the swift pace has you feeling unsettled, if not just plain anxious. Actually, this is because breakthroughs are taking you into new territory, in terms of habits, your activities or even your goals. Tempted to dig your heels in? Don’t. This cycle is all about the unexpected. The more courageous your attitude and your actions, the better the results will be.

You feel a workmate who is trying to speak out for themselves is being completely misunderstood. Have a quiet word with them to make sure you are reading them correctly before speaking out on their behalf. You will do well in a competitive enterprise but in order to keep this up you need to keep your wits about you. It may be necessary to keep some of your plans and intentions quiet.

It seems likely that before the end of the year, you will feel the need to self-invest. First though, you need to say goodbye to certain methods and ways of working that have clearly depleted both energy and resources. With the Sun’s move into Sagittarius as of Monday, the will to do that and yes, the energy and support provided most likely by experts, teachers and colleagues who’ve been on their own career adventure, should provide just the momentum you need. Remember, yours is the sign of the bull. Every so often, there is a need for you to lead the charge. Sometimes that’s driven by red-hot anger and at other times you’re propelled by desire and sheer will. It’s the latter that should have the upper hand over Thursday and Friday and yes, perhaps Watery people (Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces) would be well advised to stand out of the way whilst you push forward.

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Gemini

Personal theme: I think!!

Air sign: May 21 — June 20

Your horoscope for this week:

Events are exciting and others are happily reorganising their lives and planning the future. While you share that excitement, you’re unsure what’s next. Actually, that’s no surprise, because things are unlikely to come together until the powerful Gemini Full Moon on 19 December. Once you understand that, you’ll be delighted you’ve time to explore your options at your leisure, and with those who’re likely to be involved.

It won’t matter if other people aren’t interested in helping you as the week begins. You will prefer to work on your own. A close friend or partner is not in tune with your needs and feelings and you won’t like the way they belittle your hopes and dreams. If you believe you can achieve, don’t let anyone hold you back. Avoid people whose company makes you nervous and seek out friends who love and support you.

The Sun’s arrival in your opposite sign of Sagittarius on Monday heralds the Solar Eclipse in that sign on December 4th. The latter will likely bring with it a new working partnership. The present should be viewed as a transition time. Recall that between eclipses the Earth’s magnetic field is altered. People tend to change their behaviour (that includes you!). It may be obvious as the Sun moves into your opposite sign on Monday, that others are seeking adventure and paving the way for you to self-invest move on. Taking time to observe reactions would be wise before Thursday. Over Thursday and Friday, as your ruling planet Mercury, joins the Sun in Sagittarius, your interest should be piqued. Yes, you may be aware of limitations through lack of qualifications. Perhaps you need to learn another language? Either way, don’t underestimate your ability to gain any required knowledge and expertise.

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Cancer

Personal theme: I feel!!

Water & cardinal sign: June 21 — July 22

Your horoscope for this week:

It’s been a tricky period for many. So much, in fact, you’ve spent days helping others deal with twists and turns, some welcome, others unsettling. Meanwhile, you’ve experienced changes but, to your surprise and relief, things have fallen into place, often magically. This is in large part due to your recent efforts to declutter your life and focus on what, and who, is worthwhile. It’s well-earned. Enjoy it.

You might be disappointed to learn someone close isn’t keen on joint plans you are making. You will wish they had mentioned this earlier but now you know how they feel it is only fair that their needs are respected. Work with them on finding a compromise. Think twice before agreeing to take on more responsibilities. Life is stressful and you need to start thinking about your health. Balance relaxation and pleasure with your more important concerns.

The rhythm of your working life is set to change: perhaps because new people have arrived on the scene. Recall that we are between eclipses when the Earth’s magnetic field is altered. Coincidentally, behaviour tends to change. Initially, you may find that you are slightly out of step and yet excited by the prospect of learning to dance to this new rhythm. As always, you will need time out to consider your position and yes, perhaps to practice new routines. Anticipate that during the second half of the week, that the pace will quicken with others demanding a platform to show off their expertise. You can allow them these moments as your time will come. Key will likely be transport arrangements: anticipate slightly longer working days than usual but yes, be prepared for interesting and dynamic encounters en-route. These don’t have to develop into full-blown working relationships, but it could be that you are alerted to yet more opportunities and particularly, the potential of an area that is up-and-coming.

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Leo

Personal theme: I will!!

Fire & fixed sign: July 23 — August 22

Your horoscope for this week:

Usually, you’ll tackle whatever you’re doing with passion, then move on. However, others tend to cling to their unsuccessful plans or future visions. Worse, they’re convinced you’ll share their struggles with them. It’s clear you can’t. The problem? Telling them. Say it’s not possible, then change the subject. This may seem cold, but you’re not only doing yourself a favour, you’re helping them move on, too.

You could do with some advice but the moment you ask for this, everyone will have an opinion. As well intentioned as some people might be, their views may not relate to your particular circumstances. It would be better to look to one mentor. New possibilities for the future will be put to you and some will have an instant appeal. Be prepared to juggle accounts in order to afford a big purchase.

The Sun has arrived in the speculation area of your solar chart. By the Solar Eclipse on December 4, you may be ready to speculate as never before. This week should be viewed as ‘risk assessment’ time – particularly through until Thursday. There is much for you to learn. Tempting as it may be to gather information quickly, you’d be well advised to pace yourself. You might even enjoy sifting and sorting information. Don’t underestimate your ability to research and analyse. There’s high probability that in 2022 you will move or branch out into new areas. This present period between eclipses is all about planning and showing others that you have no intention of repeating past errors and instead are intent on carving a new path. Though the support of someone older will surely be much appreciated, it’s actually a younger person and their raw courage and enthusiasm that seems likely to provide best inspiration and to propel you forward.

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Virgo

Personal theme: I analyse!!

Earth sign: August 23 — September 22

Your horoscope for this week:

You enjoy debates regarding what’s best in life, whether at home and out in the world; but you’re wary about being drawn into the lives of those who you don’t know. Yet destiny seems determined to broaden your horizons via unexpected encounters and new experiences. For now, explore for the fun of it. However, the odds are good what comes next won’t just be exciting, it could be life-changing.

It’s worth keeping some of your plans to yourself. The moment some people discover your intentions they will want to get involved. If you intend to travel, they will invite themselves along. You can always let them know what you are doing or what you have done, later. You’re very close to achieving a goal you have been striving towards. Once you have succeeded in this aim you won’t feel guilty about throwing yourself into social pleasures.

As of Monday, the Sun arrives at the base of your solar chart. Think of this as a torch shining into a long-forgotten cupboard. As you clear things away – which you are likely to do before the Solar Eclipse in that same area on December 4, – you’ll no doubt discover hidden treasures. By Thursday you should have a box full of items no longer needed but which can be sold. In identifying what is and what is no longer important, the seeds of a master plan are sown. This forthcoming eclipse is super special in that it highlights the need to let go of the past and to move forward. Nowhere is this likely to be more obvious than within both your home and working scene. Changes are afoot. This week is all about preparation and yes, also about identifying treasures. In this respect, a Gemini or Cancer colleague could prove your best ally. In their very different ways, they could help you determine value.

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Libra

Personal theme: I balance!!

Air & cardinal sign: September 23 — October 22

Your horoscope for this week:

Currently, encounters or certain discussions have got you thinking about elements of your life that need to be reviewed, if not actually changed. The resulting review of some of these activities and even alliances has been as surprising as it’s been informative; and those changes? Your biggest question is how? Having frank discussions is key. The challenge? Taking the first step. The rest will be easy.

You’re disappointed with a friend’s attitude when you share your ideas. Failing to get the support you were hoping for will not deter you from your aims. You will get on with it anyway and then confront them later about it because when all is said and done, they could have been more understanding. A senior colleague will offer you some useful advice. It is worth considering the words of those who are successful in their field.

First, note that we are between eclipses. The next is a Solar Eclipse: a sophisticated New Moon on December 4. Until then should be viewed as preparation. It all starts this Monday as the Sun moves into one of the key communications areas of your solar chart. Expect increased contact with those who are either speak another language, live far away, or have long-term educational and philosophical interests. Those relationships will be key in developing your career in 2022. It’s entirely possible that you will be enticed to join a very, very new project. You’d be right to ask deep and searching questions about capitalisation and support. In so doing, you’re also showing that you’ve learnt a great deal in this last decade. Your presentation skills aren’t in question but it may be that from Thursday, there is a need to take these to a new level. You might even consider taking a short course to improve these.

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Scorpio & Ophiuchus

Personal theme: I desire!!

Water & fixed signs: October 23 — November 21

Your horoscope for this week:

In late October the fiery Mars moved into Scorpio, triggering a six-week period of questioning, exploration and change. While it hasn’t always been easy, you’ve learnt so much you’ve no regrets; and next? Expect challenges, some you’ve avoided, at least so far. Yet you know they’re leading you to the next stage of your life. This week’s about being bold. The more chances you take, the more you’ll benefit.

Decisions you make at this time will be life changing ones. Change is happening all around you and your future looks like it could be quite incredible. You will feel as if you are on a roller coaster ride but you also know that this is taking you to a place that will make you very happy. This is also why your partner’s annoyance over news received early in the week will turn into delight later. Everything will seem to turn out well for you both.

The accent is on finances and resources. Recall that we are now between eclipses. The coming Solar Eclipse brings focus to one of the key financial zones of your solar chart. As of Monday, the Sun throws light on your present situation and, by the time Mercury moves into that same zone on Thursday, action will likely be required. It may be the case that you need more information. The question is where should you get that from? and who is truly reliable. It might seem that there are more people speculating than making wise and steady investment. This is perhaps about more than money. It might also be about time management. You will likely be aware that several people are considering moving on into new roles. Whilst this is disconcerting at one level, it should also alert you to opportunities. It may be that you are alerted to a position that would be near-perfect: requiring only that you polish up your CV and yes, perhaps do interview rehearsal.

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Sagittarius

Personal theme: I see!!

Fire sign: November 22 — December 21

Your horoscope for this week:

After a period as frustrating as it’s been confusing, the Sun’s move into your sign boosts your spirits. Tempting as it is to tackle both delays and intriguing new pursuits, take it slowly. Why? You’ll want to see what the powerful Sagittarius eclipsed New Moon, on 4 December, brings your way. This isn’t just about change. It’s about the breakthroughs you’ve been waiting for.

You won’t be keen on a purchase your partner or someone in the family wants to make. There are much better things you feel you can spend your money on. It might be time to arrange to have separate accounts. As well as this allowing you both to spend money as you see fit, a recent cash flow problem will recede. Plan to get in some quiet relaxation in the evenings. You might also be thinking about going on a solitary holiday.

Although the Sun begins its annual passage of your sign on Monday, it isn’t joined there by Mercury until Thursday. Even then, it’s not until the Solar Eclipse in your sign on December 4 that the curtain is lifted on the next act in your life journey/play. For now, you are like the programme seller ensuring everyone is seated comfortably and has some idea of what to expect. You need to assess the audience too. This week is about absorbing information – which you should do with ease. Your ability to draw people out and determine their hopes and wishes should not be underestimated. Whilst you’re busy ‘out front selling those programs’, there is still much going on behind the scenes. Your stage manager, – or personal assistant, – or closest working colleague might need reassurance that you’re not going to take action that would create crisis further down the line. Keeping others in the loop should be viewed as essential.

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Capricorn

Personal theme: I use!!

Earth & cardinal sign: December 22 — January 19

Your horoscope for this week:

Much of the past four weeks has involved juggling unexpected events, some welcome, others less so. While you’re hoping for calm, your instincts are correctly telling your life will remain lively; but now the focus is on learning about what’s happened and exploring ways to increase those benefits. While occasionally you’ll be anxious, as the days and weeks pass, you’ll realise it was worth your time.

Even when you are asked for your views, think carefully about what you say. There are times when it is sensible to keep your thoughts quiet. This is one of them. Some people might take your words in the wrong way. Your boss or a senior colleague might put some extra work your way. Although you already have enough to do, their support is paving the way for a high-profile job. They do have your best interests at heart.

We are now between eclipses when the Earth’s altered magnetic field often coincides with variation and sometimes unexpected behaviour from colleagues and partners. Throughout 2021, the two planets, Saturn and Uranus, have been at right angle to one another. That aspect doesn’t conclude until the end of the year. It brings up an image of the past at war with the future. The future has to win and has to be embraced. Whilst you might have accepted this as a reality week, – if not months ago, – others (notably Taurus, Leo, Scorpio and Aquarius colleagues) might still be resistant. One of your roles seems to be to ease them into new position. Further, communication issues might need to be addressed. It’s perhaps the case that you need to be more succinct in your presentations.

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Aquarius

Personal theme: I know!!

Air & fixed sign: January 20 — February 18

Your horoscope for this week:

Usually, you’re the first to spot a trend. Yet when it comes to your own life, you’re more cautious about making changes. Now, however, destiny has decided it’s time for you to rethink, if not alter, familiar activities or alliances that are holding you back. The problem? You’d rather make such decisions yourself. While that understandable, in this case, trust what the heavens have in store for you.

You will be careful about what you reveal to other people in the workplace. There are some plans and ideas you will prefer to keep to yourself. Where you can afford to be more open and outspoken is when you are at home with your loved ones. The more honest you are about your thoughts and feelings, the more likely it is that you will make long-term plans and arrangements that suit you all.

Expect to feel that people are talking at you but not necessarily listening. That may be particularly true in the second half of the week. Recall that we are between two eclipses: not only is the Earth’s magnetic field altered, but often human behaviour differs from the norm too. This is when people try out new ideas and discuss possibilities. They might also experience clarity and vision about their life journey that evades them at other times. That of course applies to you as much as to anyone else. True, it’s most likely to be those born under either Gemini or Sagittarius who veer in altered direction after the Solar Eclipse next month. Yet even this week it should be apparent that such moves are now inevitable. Unsettling as this may be, this could afford you the opportunity to explore a plan that has been incubating since your birthday and could yet be realised.

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Pisces

Personal theme: I believe!!

Water sign: February 19 — March 20

Your horoscope for this week:

Over the past month or so, you’ve made progress dealing with elements of your life that have been out of balance. It may have involved time, money or putting others first in a way that meant you were short-changing yourself or neglecting your own interests. Now offers and exciting opportunities are coming your way. The challenge? Saying yes without worrying about others.

A work assignment you had been excited about taking on will turn out to be more challenging and time consuming than you were expecting. The good news is the end is in sight. In a group discussion, people are keen to hear your views. It would be worth taking their opinions into consideration too. Having new activities to look forward to will keep you enthusiastic and inspired. Fairly simple things will keep you occupied and content in the weekend.

A fresh chapter opens after the Solar Eclipse on December 4. Alteration in the Earth’s magnetic field began at the Lunar Eclipse last Friday. It’s not uncommon during these ‘eclipse window’ periods for there to be obvious change in human behaviour though some people will tune into this more than others. As of Monday, your window on the world is set to open. New openings and possibilities should be apparent by the time Mercury reaches the apex of your solar chart on Thursday – bringing you much discuss and to consider. Priority needs to be given to where and how you live. Making lists is advisable. You are now investing in your long-term future. Even if only carrying out repairs, you’re making clear that you are embracing the future positively. The major signals for new developments in your life come from next month’s Solar Eclipse followed by Jupiter’s arrival in your sign on December 24. 2022 will be a year of considerable significance. Paving the way for those developments and space clearing would be wise.

 ~CelestialPrognostication

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7. Natural Witchcraft

8. Practical Magick: Spell Casting for Every Day Use

9. The Magic of Crystals

10.Introduction to Energy Healing

11.Introduction to Paganism

12.Introduction to Meditation

13.Introduction to The Goddess Tradition and The Feminine Divine

14.Kuan Yins Gentle Embrace Reiki Certification

15.A Year and a Day of Contemplation with Kuan Yin

16.Tarot, Numerology, Natal Charts and Dream Readings

17.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/about/

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“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

By GrannyMoon Posted in Pagan

GrannyMoons Weekly Feast: 14 Nov 2021

To the people who love you, you are beautiful already.
This is not because they’re blind to your shortcomings
but because they so clearly see your soul. ~Victoria Moran

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

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, Inspiriation, Energy, Vitality, Freedom. Workings On This Day Are For “Constructive” Magick (Love, Wealth, Success, Courage, Friendship, Luck Or Health.)

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Celtic Month of Reed – October 28 To November 23
Goddess Month of Cailleach/Samhain runs from 10/31 – 11/27

November

National Farm-City Week

15: National Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day

16 – HECATE’S NIGHT
The Greek Goddess Hecate/Hekate of crossroads, death often seen with her sacred dogs.

18: Great American Smokeout

19 – Full Moon in Taurus

19 – A near-total lunar eclipse will occur on November 19, with prime visibility in North America. It will last 3 hours and 28 minutes – the longest partial lunar eclipse this century, NASA predicts. Here’s how to see the rare event, when up to 97% of the moon will look red.

21: In England, it’s Stir Up Sunday.

Week 4. National Family Week

26: Yes, it is—Thanksgiving!

28: National French Toast Day

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Sunday Classes with GrannyMoon at Sticks and Stones, Fairfax, VA

November
21:
Face to Face Class: Noon–2:00 ~ The Magick of Crystals

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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!
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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
from Stacy Adams
BHC Newsletter Reta

November 15, 2021 – November 21, 2021

It’s going to be a busy week with cosmic energy occurring every day.

On Monday and Tuesday, the Sun aspects Jupiter and Pluto. It’s an auspicious time to make changes in your life, claim your power, and level up. Plus, Jupiter will help provide you with a boost of positivity.

Trouble is brewing midweek, as Mars opposes Uranus. Try to avoid acting impulsively and avoid confrontations with others. This aspect is explosive, so you may need to master the art of walking away. It may be best to wear a hard hat and shin guards, if necessary.

The energy lightens over the weekend, beginning with Venus trine Uranus. It’s an excellent weekend to shake things up and do something different. Perhaps, you should do something you’ve always wanted to do, but haven’t had time. On Sunday, the Sun moves into Sagittarius. Let the season of goodwill towards men begin.

Recommended Candles: Sun (Curse Breaker), Guardian Protector (Affirmation), Van Van (Motor City Hoodoo), Wishin’ Mojo (Dorothy Morrison’s Wicked Witch Mojo)

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

Lay low this lunar eclipse
Beware of the Full Moon on the 19th, its energy is active with malefic or unfavorable influence from the star Alcyone of the Pleiadian constellation called the Seven Sisters. Storm highly recommends we lay low with the heavy-duty magic and focus on self-improvement and protection spells.

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Pearls of Wisdom Deck
Ace of Cups

So many feelings! A new love, a new job, maybe a new baby ( 2 or 4 legged, fins or scales) Let your heart open to the Divine and bring more joy into your life!

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Taurus Full Moon Partial Lunar Eclipse
by Laurali Star

On (Friday) November 19th, 2021, we will be experiencing a Full Moon in Taurus Partial Lunar Eclipse that is sure to shake things up! This full moon is different than all the rest, as it is a partial lunar eclipse.

With a partial lunar eclipse, it forces us to evaluate things in our lives and make changes accordingly. You might find yourself wishing to change your diet or become more environmentally friendly.

It’s not uncommon with eclipse season to further your goals and to take a long, hard look at yourself and the way you live your life. With Taurus at the helm of this moon phase, you’ll be motivated to make changes that come from the heart.

If intrinsic motivation is something you’ve struggled with in the past, the kind of motivation that comes from within, you might be surprised to find yourself grounded enough to make positive external changes in your life. Taurus shifts the focus to the heart, as it is ruled by the planet Venus.

As an earth sign, Taurus brings out the best in people! It makes you think about the issues you may have swept under the rug in the past. It reprioritizes your values and beliefs about planet earth and how we can live more sustainably.

A wonderful goddess to work with during this time is Goddess Vesta! Goddess Vesta is a Roman deity who rules the hearth and home. She’s extremely warmhearted, down-to-earth, and approachable!

The Goddess Vesta pairs well with Taurus energy, as she seems to have a deep, reverent love for mother nature and bringing more of it into our homes. For example, if you wish to create a more sustainable kitchen or eat a plant-based diet, Vesta is the girl to call on!

Her energy is warm and welcoming during this time of year. In addition to that, you can use the energy of the earth and Taurus to bridge a stronger connection to the Taurus full moon partial lunar eclipse.

This moon is all about picking up where you left off! You might have set a goal to spend more time in nature at the start of the year but have only gone hiking once.

That’s okay. Taurus allows you to revisit those energies and make good with them. It aligns with your goals on a more universal level of existence.

Taurus Full Moon Partial Lunar Eclipse Signs and Symbolism:
Slugs and Snails – It’s not uncommon to see slugs and snails that are of the garden and of the earth. They represent the transition between the earthly realm and the spirit realm. I had a slug on my door recently and I haven’t come across one in years!
Gnomes – You might be more likely to see gnomes during this transition phase or find symbolism in gnomes everywhere you go. Gnomes are easy to work with and are the protectors of the earth and trees.
Lunar Moths – Moths symbolize the mysteries of the night and since our days are shorter and our nights are longer, it’s an optimal time to do shadow work.
Home and Hearth – Don’t be surprised if matters of the home and hearth become a present reality in your life. It could mean you need to make a change in your living situation or make a lifestyle choice. Again, it could be to create a more sustainable kitchen, grow an herb garden, or work with the element of earth and fire as a combination.
Love and Relationships – With Venus ruling Taurus, it’s not uncommon to revisit old relationships that were left on a bad note. This gives you the chance to make things right and heal old wounds and trauma.

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Full Moon November 19, 2021 in Taurus and Lunar Eclipse

Are you ready for a cosmic shake-up? Good, because eclipse season kicks off on Nov. 19 with the November 2021 full moon in Taurus. This powerful Moon, also known as the Beaver Moon, is also a lunar eclipse, so it’s heralding in all sorts of major revelations, endings, and twists of fate. That makes it a good time to let the universe take the wheel and stay open to change, even if it’s uncomfortable. Everyone will feel the eclipse in a unique way, so be ready..What will this mean to you?

According to Native American folklore, the Beaver Moon gets its name for one of a few different reasons, both having to do with the dam-building, nocturnal rodents with the oar-shaped tails. The Old

This Full Moon is a time for you to start building up your spiritual muscles to be strong throughout the rest of this year.

What are you allowing to emotionally drain out of your spiritual reserves? Now is the time to build your dam like the beaver and stop the energy drain.

Farmer’s Almanac postulates that it is called the Beaver Moon because this month was just the right moment to set beaver traps before the winter freeze. But according to National Geographic, it could also be attributed to the “heavy activity of beavers building their winter dams.”

The message that beaver brings us this full moon is to prepare you for the cold winter and do not be caught without spiritual fortification. Practice spiritual protection. Learn to work with God’s White Light to seal yourself in protection. Spiritual protection is needed daily and this is part of your spiritual work out.

Plan a spiritual ritual to protect your home and loved ones. Light a white candle and say out loud the following prayer. “I now ask to be surrounded by God’s Divine White Light, with my Guides, Angels and Ascended Masters, I ask the Archangels and Angels to continue to protect my loved ones and me. Surround me fully and completely with Your Divine White Light.”

It is a time to nurture yourself and do things that bring warmth and comfort to your soul.

The Full Moon is a time of culmination and the promise of fulfillment of that which was started at the New Moon. It is an emotional time-a time of romance, fertilization, and relationships. With the Moon full and bright in the sky, symbolic “illumination” occurs in our own lives. However, these feelings and revelations are emotional ones, as there is a sense of emotions bursting forth into our consciousness. It’s time to express ourselves, and to let things out of our systems. Of course, we might want to exercise some care while doing so, knowing that what is coming out of us is not particularly rational as yet.

Enjoy all of the celestial blessings that are coming our way in November. Make sure you take time to thank The Creator, the angels, your guides, and ancestors for all of their help bringing you through this year.

Full Beaver Moon Spiritual Reading

My clairvoyant psychic readings can provide valuable information that can assist you in making decisions and choices that lead to a successful end of the year. Knowing how to work with the cycles, and your own inner timing can give you that extra edge you need with both your career and personal matters. My thanks to those of you who have been getting readings. I am grateful that they have helped you and I appreciate your business. Be sure and check out my different services, eBooks, and other products at my website.

Full Moon Blessings,
Cherokee Billie

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Transitioning into Deeper Darkness: Seasonal Activities and the Golden Hour
by Dana at the Druid’s Garden

As the light grows dim this time of year, as the days grow short, many people find this particular season a difficult one. Without the light, our thoughts can spiral into the darkness, our spirits long for the warmer days. The cold and dark are barely here, and there is so much winter ahead. Just this week, I had three separate conversations with friends about this exact issue: it is a hard time of year, particularly the time between Samhain and Yule, when we know there is much more darkness to come. It is a hard time this year, in particular, when so many of us are beyond stressed and burned out due to the unfolding events of the last two years. It also was a strange year, in that we had temperatures that stayed well above freezing, which kept the leaves green–and suddenly temperatures that plunged very deep below freezing, which dropped all of the leaves in about two days. I realized that there might be some benefit in writing about this time–not so much what is problematic but instead, how we might navigate it from a nature spirituality perspective.

I think that this time is one of the hardest of the year for many people. We know that the cold and dark are on their way. We see the death across the landscape as the bitter cold comes into the land. It’s hard to have a flush, abundant garden one day and the next, find most of your plants have died. This time of year forces us to come face to face with both darkness and death in ways that it is rare during the rest of the year. And the more time we spend on the landscape, the more that this issue stares us in the face. Here in Pennsylvania, it is also complicated by the end of Daylight Savings time, meaning that by the time you leave work, the sun has already set–and there are many days when you do not see the sun at all.

So, what is a druid to do? I have developed a few strategies over the years that have helped myself and others, which I’ll share in the rest of this post!

Embracing the Season and Spiritual Activities
The first strategy is to embrace and honor this time for what it is–accept the cold, the frosts, and the death upon the landscape. I have found that the more I fight against something, the harder it becomes to accept. But, the more that I seek the good and the joy in it, the more enjoyable it becomes.

For this time of year, I have worked hard to find activities that I really love for the late fall and early winter. I have worked to develop a set of rituals and seasonal activities that bring me joy, that I can look forward to, and that sing to my spirit. The whole idea here is that it’s not just about saying “oh, the darkness and cold are here” but really creating intentional activities that make the most of these cold and dark times. Your intentional activities may end up looking very different than mine–but I share these for a model of what you could do. The more things that you have to look forward to and that you enjoy, the better this time of year becomes.

Gardening, Homesteading, and Harvest: Cycles and Looking Forward
If you do wild food foraging, or if you have a garden or homestead, there are a whole host of activities that come with this season–and you can embrace them, make them meaningful, and really look forward to them every year.

For those that do wild food foraging and live in a temperate climate, this is a perfect time to find the last of the nut harvests and spend time processing those nuts. For example, one of my favorite of these is harvesting and processing acorns into acorn flour, which can be used to craft all kinds of sacred bread, cakes, and other delicious ingredients. Acorn flour is a serious endeavor but it is just so worth it! Other nuts in my bioregion are hickories, chestnuts, and hazelnuts–each with their own unique sacredness. This is flour that you can store in the freezer and pull out for sacred activity year-round.

The second activity that I really look forward to this time of year is putting my garden beds to rest. I have worked hard to develop a series of rituals surrounding the end of the growing season: how to work with the annuals that have perished due to the frosts and freezes (saving their seeds, composting them, honoring their journey); bringing in the last harvests of the year, and also clearing the beds for next season. I call this “putting the garden to bed” and it has become an important part of my homesteading activities each year–full of ceremony and honor (I can blog about this if anyone is interested!). I feel like in doing these, I have a good closure to our season and the garden is a blank canvas for planning and planting in the future.

At Samhain, we also burn our Butzemann, which allows us to have full closure for the growing season. The Butzemann is part of the Pennsylvania Dutch tradition, and it is a kind of magical scarecrow that guards the home for the whole light half of the year. At Samhain, it is released through ritual burning, marking the end of the growing season. But like many of the other activities here–it’s not just a closure moment. You also start thinking about your next Butzemann, which you construct at Imbolc. Right now, I have some amazing gourds and dried plants that I am letting sit over winter–I have big plans for these for Imbolc and for next season’s Butzemann.

What you can see from these three examples is that while they are all rooted in the moment of this time–in the growing darkness and cold–they are also rooted in the cycle and hope for the future. The nut harvest and other foraged foods can be brought through the winter and enjoyed in the future. The garden beds being put to rest allow for you to be ready to plant in the spring. The Butzemann is burned, but the materials are started to be gathered for a new one, again, already getting you thinking of that cycle of the year and the promise of spring to come.

The Golden Hour and the Flame
Light and embracing the waning light is an important part of finding balance during this time of year. Because there is so much less light, you begin to pay attention to how to bring it, embrace it, and honor the light. When there is an abundance of light in the summer months, these activities seem less central–but as winter sets in and the days grow so short, finding ways of bringing in the light is critical for balance and peace. Thus, in the time of darkness and cold is to shift your emphasis from the waning sun to the inner and outer flames–through a physical embracing of the between times of light and fires.

One practice that everyone can do is to embrace the “golden hour”. The golden hour happens twice a day–at dawn and at dusk. This is a period of time about 10-20 minutes before the sun comes up when the light changes–either from bright daylight to this golden hue or from darkness to a golden hue. It doesn’t last for too long, but if you go outside during this time, you experience a very magical moment. It happens just after the really spectacular parts of the sunrise in the morning–the light evens out and then you are awash in a golden light. It is particularly powerful when the leaves have changed on the trees–the whole landscape is just aglow in golden light. In the dark half of the year, the golden hour becomes quite accessible–it is easy to be awake both at dusk and dawn, and thus, you can make it a point to embrace the golden hour on the landscape. I find the golden hour to be good bookends for the day–watching the sunrise and sunset. When we are in high summer, these are harder times to access (particularly those in the early morning) and so, it is really in the winter that you can get to experience this lovely time. For me, I like to go out to my druid’s anchor spot and just sit and observe the land waking up or the land going to bed.

The second is to bring fire into your life in any way you can. This might mean bringing in candles and candlelight living–take one day a week to use candlelight rather than electric light and see the difference in your own happiness and stability. This might mean making some candles or olive oil burners for the coming season. Or, this might mean embracing fires in your home. For example, for us, we move from outdoor cooking and having regular outdoor fires to bringing our fires indoors. This includes a whole host of seasonal activities including preparing the hearth, bringing in the wood and lighting the first fires of the season. We have two wood burners in the house–a stove in the basement and an open hearth for cooking and joy on the first floor. Creating fires often and spending a lot of time with these fires can really help!

Whatever way you can, embrace these times of twilight, of limited light, and allow yourself to slow down into the rhythm in the dark half of the year.

Conclusion
I hope that these strategies and activities are helpful to you as we move into this time of deep darkness. Part of the reason I do so much at this time of year is that I do find this time of year–particularly here in Pennsylvania after Daylight Savings Time ends–really challenging. It used to be one of my least favorite times of the year, a time of year that I dreaded. After working so hard to find rituals and seasonal activities that allowed me to embrace it, it is now a time of year that I always look forward to. I wish you blessings in the coming darkness!.

PS: I have recently appeared on Rosalee De La Floret’s “Herbs with Rosalee” Podcast. Please feel free to check it out below! (Or here’s the link directly: https://youtu.be/RvjQgOMxA9E)

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Llewellyn’s Spell A Day

Gifts From the Heart
NOVEMBER 14, 2021 BY EMYME

With only forty more days until Christmas Eve, we are approaching peak holiday shopping season. This year, consider giving earth-based holiday gifts. For family and friends who travel the same spiritual path, gift them with ingredients and spells packed in decorated tins, bottles, and jars. For those who follow a different path, gift them with ingredients for baking or cooking, along with recipes, all packed in festive reusable containers. Let your creativity flow!

If you have always created your own gifts, try a new craft. Or if you have never given homemade gifts, there is still time to sign up for a class on woodcrafts, ceramics, mosaics, candles, or soaps. As you create and assemble your presents, add some magic to them with this verse:

This gift is made with magic and
love, from my hands and heart
to your hands and heart.
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An Inner Journey Spell
NOVEMBER 13, 2021 BY JAMES KAMBOS

November is a good time to journey inside ourselves to find the answers we seek. For this spell you’ll need a white cloth, a white votive candle, and the Hermit card from a tarot deck.

Cover your altar with the cloth and light the candle. Then lay the Hermit card in front of the candle. Study the card. The Hermit is your guide for this inner journey. He’s all-knowing. He wants to help, but you must listen— to your inner voice. Concentrate on your question and say:

Hermit, guide me along
the path I should go.
Reveal to me the wisdom
I should know.

Meditate on your need for no more than ten minutes, then thank the Hermit and go about your daily routine. Leave the card on your altar for about a day, then return the card to its deck. The answer will come to you. Use the cloth and candle for other meditations.
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Everyday Superpowers
NOVEMBER 12, 2021 BY BLAKE OCTAVIAN BLAIR

Today is the anniversary of comic book writer Stan Lee’s death in 2018. Lee’s fantastic tales of superheroes remind us that even if we don’t have such dramatic powers, we can be superheroes in our everyday lives.

What do you do in the world to help others? Do you use your gifts to benefit the world? Light a candle and engage the fire element in the form of passion. Journal about what your passions are, and brainstorm ways you can use them to do good in the world. Perhaps you help an elderly neighbor or you tutor students who need help after school. Maybe you have a talent such as art or music, and you offer lessons to those who lack opportunity. Whatever your strengths are, employ those as your superpowers to make the world a better place! Be sure to extinguish the candle when you’re done.
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Lay Down Your Arms

NOVEMBER 11, 2021 BY THORN MOONEY

Today is Veterans Day, and for many Americans this is when we honor those who have served in the armed forces. Elsewhere in the world, today marks Armistice Day and Remembrance Day, during which we celebrate the end of World War I.

In honor of this, today is an ideal day to bring an end to a personal battle you may be fighting. Are you harboring a grudge or dwelling on a lost fight? War is sometimes necessary and just, but many of us at times find ourselves engaged in conflicts that are purely destructive.

To relieve yourself of a personal conflict that is holding you back, write your grievance on a piece of rice paper and hold a funeral for it off your property. Dig a grave and lay your grudge to rest. Eulogize your loss and lay flowers, then cover the grave with dirt. Turn around to leave and do not look back!
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Procrastinator’s Spell

NOVEMBER 10, 2021 BY EMBER GRANT

For focus and motivation, obtain these three stones: yellow fluorite to promote creativity, citrine quartz for intellectual stimulation, and carnelian for motivation. Use this chant to charge the stones with your intent:

Give me the push I need to proceed,
To move forward, be inspired,
get things done, and succeed,
To meet all my deadlines
and be on time,
To help me make progress
and not fall behind.

State your intent. Carry the stones with you or keep them in your work area.
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Supercharged Water Scrying
NOVEMBER 09, 2021 BY MICHAEL FURIE

Scrying is the art of divination by gazing usually into a dark surface such as a black mirror or pool of water or ink, but there is also the classic crystal gazing. This method is cauldron scrying but with the added empowerment of an herbal brew that magically charges the water with visionary qualities and readies the psychic mind to properly receive and interpret the impressions given.

Gather the following:

  • 1/4 cup mugwort
  • 1/4 cup wormwood
  • 2 cups water

If you wish, the brew can be made in a regular pot and then poured into your cauldron so you won’t have to wait for the cauldron to cool before working. In any case, simmer the herbs in the water over low heat for about ten to fifteen minutes, then remove from the heat and strain the brew. Move to your working area and gaze into the liquid. Note any visions or impressions received.
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House Blessing
NOVEMBER 08, 2021 BY DEBORAH BLAKE

Your home—whether it is a house, an apartment, or even just a room—is where your heart is. It is the center of your existence, and it is important that you feel safe and secure when you are in it. Once a year, or more often if you live someplace that feels vulnerable, it is a good idea to do a house blessing. This is a nice way to reinforce any protection work you might have done and to ask for the gods to watch over you.

Light a sage smudge stick and hold it in front of you. First turn to the east, then the south, west, and north, asking each associated element (air, fire, water, and earth) to bless and protect your home. Then hold up the smudge stick and ask the God and Goddess to bless and protect your home. If you like, walk through each room with the smudge stick before putting it out safely. Watch out for stray sparks and stamp them out if you see them.

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Embracing Womanhood

When a woman honors herself, all women collectively move closer to becoming what they’re truly capable of being.

There are many ways and myriad reasons for women to honor and embrace all that they are. And when any individual woman chooses to do so, all women collectively move closer to becoming what they are truly capable of being. By honoring her experience and being willing to share it with others — both male and female — she teaches as she learns. When she can trust herself and her inner voice, she teaches those around her to trust her as well. Clasping hands with family members and friends, coworkers and strangers in a shared walk through the journey of life, she allows all to see the self-respect she possesses and accepts their respect, too, that is offered through look, word, and deed.

When a woman can look back into her past, doing so without regret and instead seeing only lessons that brought her to her current strength and wisdom, she embraces the fullness of her experience. She helps those around her to build upon the past as she does. And when she chooses to create her desires, she places her power in the present and moves forward with life into the future.

Seeing her own divinity, a woman learns to recognize the divinity in all women. She then can see her body as a temple, appreciating its feminine form and function, regardless of what age or stage of life she finds herself. She can enjoy all that it brings to her experience and appreciate other women and their experiences as well. Rather than seeing other women as competition, she can look around her to see the cycle of life reflected in the beauty of her sisters, reminding her of her own radiance should she ever forget. She can then celebrate all the many aspects that make her a being worthy of praise, dancing to express the physical, speaking proudly to express her intellect, sharing her emotions, and leading the way with her spiritual guidance. Embracing her womanhood, she reveals the facets that allow her to shine with the beauty and strength of a diamond to illuminate her world.

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Heartwings Love Notes 1008, When There’s No More

Heartwings Love Notes 1008: We cannot anticipate the unexpected.”

For many years I’ve kept a small jar in my kitchen cupboard that contained a very special snack: Maple sugar pecans. I would purchase several of the small packages of 10 or 12 from my favorite health food store and eat them sparingly, one or two at a time, for a treat. Recently having only one package left, I thought I’d get some more. There weren’t any. “When will you be getting more in,” I asked the store owner. She shook her head and looked sad.

“They went out of business,” she said. I was shocked. How could this be? I’ve had other nuts that have been prepared with a sweetener but these were better than any I have ever had. I never dreamed my cherished treat would one day vanish. How foolish of me! One of my favorite teachers used to say, “the only constant is change.”

This is so true, and yet it seems we never expect it. I remember on a long-ago day I was walking with Stephen in the woods near where we lived at the time. We came across some young boys riding their bikes in a cleared area. They were whooping and hollering and doing wheelies. I hailed one and said, “Are they building here?” “Oh no, came the response. Nothing’s happening here, this is where we meet.” Perhaps a month or two later, we saw that building had begun and their playground was gone.

I just read somewhere that we may possibly know how much money we have yet we cannot know how much time we have. Even as I set the timer for the tea leaves to brew, I cannot know how long that four minutes will take in terms of my perception. Time is a subjective experience. Time spent waiting feels much longer than time spent in an enjoyable conversation. Then too, as one person put it, the years are short but the days are long. Well, I agree the years are short but the days? Not long enough for me, especially now there’s less and less daylight each day.

How long will I last? I have no way of knowing. Whenever I see someone or go somewhere it could be the last time I will see him or her or be there. I think of that occasionally, not with a morbid sense of sadness or dismay, but of wondering, and of reminding myself to take more note of that present moment. If possible, I want to have no regrets, when my days on this earth come to an end, and I hope to feel I have made the most of my time.

May you make all your moments count as you live them.

Blessings and best regards, Tasha Halpert

PS Do you have any comments or any tales to tell? I do love to hear from my readers. Let me know if you have any suggestions for columns also, or anything else to say. Your emails make my day. Write me at tashahal@gmail.com and for more column and other things, please do visit my web pages at http://www.heartwingsandfriends.com.

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Stuck in the Mud

Pain can serve as one of life’s great teachers, but it’s vital to move through it and not become stuck.

Pain comes and it goes. It is just one component to the grand cycle of life. And when experienced as such, pain can serve as an important teacher. It is when we get stuck in our pain that it becomes detrimental to our well-being and development. If you notice that you feel closed-off, resentful, heavy-hearted, or that you try very hard to avoid being hurt again, there may be a part of you that is still stuck in pain.

We can get stuck in our pain for many reasons. As children, it was natural for us to cry, throw a tantrum, and let the experience move through us. By fully feeling our pain in this way, our emotions would wash us clean, leaving us open and available to new experiences. With age, though, we might have determined that expressing emotion was no longer appropriate, and so we developed a variety of coping strategies to deal with our discomfort. We may have learned to stuff our feelings down or to run away from them. Perhaps we began thinking that staying closed and unwilling to try new things would keep us safe from heartbreak, safe from rejection, and safe from failure. We may have even gotten so used to being in pain that the thought of being without it scares us. But, if we continue to hold onto it longer than necessary, we are expending a lot of energy that could instead be channeled into making our life experiences more positive.

If you notice that you are continually connecting with the same familiar patterns of pain, consider embracing your feelings and letting go of your hurt. Whether your pain is from childhood or from an experience last week, see if you can give it room to move. When it does, you will reconnect with a wonderful source of your own vital energy.

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Herb of the Month from Traditional Medicinals
Elder 101

Elder is one of the most accessible plants in herbalism. Hailed as “The medicine chest of the country people,” by ancient physicians and botanists, elder flower and its berries are as prevalent in remedies today as they were in ancient times. Traditionally, herbalists use the berries to support immune system health, and our herbalists have tapped into their immune-boosting benefits to make our Echinacea Plus® Elderberry tea, lending it a deep purple hue.*

There are nine species of temperate and subtropical shrubs and small trees which commonly go by the name elder or elderberry. We use Sambucus nigra, a species native to Europe, Northern Africa and Western and Central Asia. The plant takes its name from the Anglo-Saxon word æld, meaning “fire,” since blowing through the hollow stems of elder’s young branches helped to fan flames. Elder has a long history of traditional use among Native Americans and European herbalists, lending itself to much folklore. In Old World tradition, elder served as a great symbol of protection; people planted it around houses or hung it above windows to keep witches at bay and to watch over the plants in the garden.

Healers have used elder in many different ways throughout history. The glossy, dark purple berries have immune-supporting properties and are often combined with echinacea as an immune-stimulating herbal power team. Aside from its many medicinal powers, elder has also found its way into the kitchen, used for centuries for making preserves, wines, winter cordials and adding flavor and color to other concoctions. In fact, ripe elderberries were once known as “Englishman’s grape” and have been used for centuries to make the famous elderberry wine.

Elderberry and elderflower are among Europe’s most esteemed remedies during the colder months, and their popularity has only increased over the centuries. In recent years, natural health products made from extracts, juices and syrups of European elder have popped up on grocery and pharmacy shelves across North America and can be found all year long. Elderflower has even made it into cocktails, where bartenders feature its elegant and floral liqueur as the latest in trendy bar ingredients. Needless to say, elderberry’s deliciously tart and sweet flavor makes it easy to forget you’re taking herbal medicine.

From boosting our immune system all year round, to making some of the most delicious wines, jams, jellies and pies, it’s no wonder elder is such a beloved plant ally. Elder is known as “The medicine chest of the country people,” for good reason. When it comes to seasonal wellness, this tasty, tried-and-true herbal remedy has helped people sidestep the pitfalls of winter for centuries. Symbolically and literally, an herb of protection is an herbal ally worth having.

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What Your House Looks Like Right Now Based on Your Zodiac Sign
By LACEY RAMBURGER

When it comes to getting to know people, we have different ways of expressing our personalities. Whether it’s through our hobbies, the ways we connect with others, or how we present ourselves, we find avenues to tell others who we are. One of the most telling ways, however, is the way someone decorates and keeps their home. Whether you lean towards a certain style, or you keep things organized, or you have particular rooms you’re drawn to more than others, how your home looks says a lot about you!

Speaking of personalities, we know that zodiac signs also tend to say quite a bit about your personality. Your sign can have more of an influence over your tastes more than you realize, and we bet we can tell you what your house looks like right now based on your zodiac.

Aquarius (January 20 to February 18)
Your place is chaotic and messy, and relatively bare-boned. You have the necessities, but they are things you’ve acquired from friends and family, or the local thrift store. You don’t care too much if everything looks cohesive, but prefer your home to be an authentic reflection of yourself. You have an entire bookshelf of theory and psychology books in plain sight because you want an excuse to talk about them.

Pisces (February 19 to March 20)
You strive for your place to be a sanctuary from the outside world. You’ve incorporated light colors, particularly shades of blue, to make the area feel serene. You have throw pillows and unique seating options everywhere, to make room for guests as well as to give you plenty of options of where you can relax. Rooms have no specific preference on what they’re for because you tend to move freely without stressing too much. There are signs of constant tasks that were stopped and started again in every room.

Aries (March 21 to April 19)
Your home is pretty low maintenance, given your desire to exert your energy elsewhere. You still like to stay on top of things, so you have up-to-date appliances and contemporary style furniture. You want to keep plenty of space available for whatever you choose to do on any given day, so you keep things arranged to accommodate. Depending on what’s happening in your life, everything is clean and put away. You have activities strewn about to keep you occupied. Still, you have one particular room/area of the house where you can keep yourself engaged and active.

Taurus (April 20 to May 20)
You have decadent items everywhere. Your throws and home decor are plush and tailored to your higher-end taste. You lean towards colors that connect you to your earth element, but with touches of feminine energy. You prioritize comfort and beauty, so every room in your home has a comfortable place to relax that is striking in its appearance: from your large bed to your comfy couch to your sleek bathtub.

Gemini (May 21 to June 20)
Given your penchant for communication, we know that connection is everywhere in your home. Whether it’s wifi, a voice-activated smart home device, computers, or a smart television, you want access to everything regardless of where you are. You keep an open concept layout, particularly in the living room, to not feel restricted. You don’t have specific themes for your rooms, but they all hold conglomerations of all your interests. You want your rooms to appear more prominent, so you incorporate bright colors, or even white, in most of your home to give the appearance of a larger space.

Cancer (June 21 to July 22)
Your home is representative of comfort, unity, and relaxation. You prefer soft colors to bring peace of mind to yourself and your guests. You have pictures on the walls of loved ones, perhaps even a specific photo wall. Your kitchen is your pride and joy, though, given it’s in a constant state of use. You allow plenty of light in, and you keep your kitchen items on display. You’re invested in really gorgeous pieces that you want to show off. You can let things get a little messy at times, but it’s just a reminder that a home is meant to be lived in.

Leo (July 23 to August 22)
We already know that you’re a maximalist, Leo. Patterns and colors are not exclusive here. You aren’t afraid to experiment with bright and colorful furniture paired with a bold rug or wall furnishings. Your home screams for attention, but it isn’t haphazardly thrown together. There is a method to the madness. You have a floor-length mirror placed in a random room in your home to make it feel larger. You keep everything in an excellent state out of a sense of pride for yourself

Virgo (August 23 to September 22)
Everything has a place, and everything is in its place. It’s organized and tidy, with plenty of plants and small side projects to keep you occupied. You won’t find any chaos, though, because once you start something, you always finish it. You go out of your way to find natural (or natural-looking) materials for your furnishings. Whether it’s wooden tables and chairs, or bamboo baskets to hold your stuff, you want things in place that also ground you in nature.

Libra (September 23 to October 22)
You have aesthetic, modern furniture with touches of elegance. You like everything to come together cohesively—neutral colors with touches of pastel, matching furniture sets, and plenty of space to not feel restricted. Everything is probably in slight disarray, but you rarely let messes get too out of hand. You want to be prepared in case others decide to stop in.

Scorpio (October 23 to November 21)
You have classic, even gothic touches if you can get your hands on them. You aren’t totally isolated, but you have one area of the house that is your personal space. You create a sacred oasis for you to recharge, but you don’t spare luxury when it comes to yourself. A giant velvet headboard or a tall, detailed armchair exists somewhere in your home; Something that is unique but also only for you.

Sagittarius (November 22 to December 21)
You’ve got a whimsical state of mind happening everywhere. You have easy to manage decor that can be swapped out, but you usually keep a few pieces front and center that reflect your interests. Rarely is anything organized, but not because you don’t care. You just feel there are more important things than having every aspect in order. If you can spend time planning your next trip or reading your favorite philosophy book, why wouldn’t you?

Capricorn (December 22 to January 19)
Calendars and schedules everywhere, full of to-dos. You like to keep things simple and classic. You have a modern style couch, sleek and sophisticated accents, and plenty of storage space to keep non-essentials out of the way. You have a room or space dedicated solely to your work projects, and it’s the most organized area in your home. You aren’t stressed about everything being spotless, but you do like things to be in order and presentable.

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Can Water be Affected by Emotions?
by Ghost Hunting Theories.

Masaru Emoto was an author (The Hidden Messages in Water) who took on an arena most refer to as pseudoscience pondering if our human consciousness can affect properties of water. His experiments shed light on possibilities that boggle the mind.

Utilizing Magnetic Resonance Analysis technology and high speed photographs, he exposed the water to various emotions before photographing the crystals they formed.

The water experiment involved prayer over the water and then photography. With positive prayer, the crystals formed symmetric, flawless, and glorious patterns.

Emoto moved on to using music to see the response and was pleasantly surprised. It seemed that beautiful crystals formed with classical music and distorted ugly ones occurred with heavy metal music.

Considering the human body is made up of 60% water molecules, it makes you wonder about how negative emotions can affect our own bodies and create discordant molecules versus ones that are ideal alignment.

I had wondered if perhaps the vibrations of sound waves affected the water, but even a written word, foreign languages, prayer, and other situations seemed to affect the water too. (video above)

The concept of manifesting may be tapping into a way we can guide ourselves toward positive images and outcomes. Your health, your destiny, might be entwined by your very thoughts and exposures in your life that affect the molecules in your own body.

Is it possible to affect water crystals with focus of prayer, emotion or music?

When you consider that water is the stuff of life, then life should be the stuff of water.

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Gilberto Rides Again, Chapter 27
by Stephen Halpert

Maria kissed Gilberto and danced off to the shower. Gilberto stretched, put on his drawstrings and a tee shirt then walked to the other end of the condo to check on Joey and Mona. Joey was in his room doing homework. Mona had her doll house furniture spread out on her rug. She was playing contentedly.
Walking through the living room he looked out the window. Parked across the street was the same dark panel truck that had followed them earlier. Hurriedly he drew the curtain, went back to the bedroom and phoned Smith. Diana Rain answered. Gilberto’s voice was tight. “Company parked across the street. That same panel truck that followed us. It’s just parked there defiantly, waiting.” “I’m on it,” Rain said flatly. “Stay inside. Don’t let your kids or Maria go out.”
“Not to worry.” Gilberto clenched his fist. Anger surged through him. How dare anyone threaten his family!
“Stay inside,” Rain repeated. “I mean it. No heroics. This has to be some kind of set up.”
“You reading my mind?”
He heard her snicker. “Just stay in. I’m on it.” The connection ended.
Maria came in. “What’s going on? Your face is all red. Your jaw is clenched. What’s upsetting you?”
He sighed. “I didn’t want to worry you, so I didn’t tell you what’s been happening at Atlas since we got home from Greenbush.”
She nodded. “You mean the saga of Sara Midgley?”
“More than that.” He went on to explain.
Maria frowned. “After all my efforts! My relaxation therapy is going up in smoke.” She smiled slyly. “Now we’ll just have to do it all over again.”
But he was too nervous to appreciate her subtly. “Maria,” he said forcefully, “there’s a truck parked across the street. The same one that’s been following after us giving us trouble.”
She nodded. “Does that mean you don’t want supper? I was just going to do some cooking.”
He sighed. “I just spoke with Rain.
She nodded. “I suppose.”
His voice rose. “This is serious. Why do you always sound blasé when there’s something serious?”
Maria put her hand on his arm and stroked it. “I’m sorry. I’m not being blasé; I just don’t want you overwhelmed by stress.”
He shook his head vehemently. “That won’t happen.”
“How do you know? You can’t control your blood pressure. You’re not invincible.”
He grinned. “Of course I am.” He picked up his phone and put it down again. He started pacing. What he wanted to do was go outside and pull out whoever was inside that truck.
His phone rang. It was Diana Rain again. “We’re on our way. No need to be the last action hero and end up dead.” The call ended as abruptly as it began.
Maria came back from the kitchen. “Tuna burgers and a salad? I fed the children so we could have a quiet supper together.”
Gilberto shook his head. “I’m not hungry.”
She sighed. “You’ve got to eat.”
“I will, just not now.”
She peered out through the opening of the curtain. “One of the side doors seems open.”
“Maria!” He tugged her arm. “Get away from the window. I want you safe.”
She frowned. “Funny why it should be open. Unless someone’s prowling around outside.”
He wanted to go check things out. But he heeded Rain’s warning. Then he saw a long black sedan with official plates and a smaller car both pull up and park beside the panel truck. Moments later his device rang.
“You can come down,” Rain’s voice was taut. “But touch nothing. Keep your hands in your pockets.”
He nodded, shrugged, turned to go to the elevator.
“I’m going with you,” Maria said.
“No, forget it,” he growled.
“Must you always protect me?” His voice calmed. “Maria these people are dangerous. Please.” He put his device in his pocket, kissed her. “I’ll phone you, ok?”
“Ok Superman. Just don’t trip over any kryptonite.”
Downstairs, Rain was standing in his condo’s doorway. Her face was white, her eyes wide. She beckoned him to follow her. Two agents he hadn’t seen before were taking pictures. Blood splattered the interior of the panel truck. On the floor lay the dead bodies of the three Chinese thugs who had accosted them earlier that day in the Sushi bar. They were slashed viciously.
The smell of death was everywhere.
The panel truck went onto the tow truck. The agents waved to the driver and to Rain, got into the sedan and drove off.
“I wonder how long they’ve been dead,” Rain said. “Looked like they were sliced up with a carving knife.”
Gilberto immediately thought of the derelict who had accosted him. He told Rain of the long, twisted blade that had appeared from his left sleeve.
His device rang. “Are you alright?” Maria’s voice was tense.
“Yes, we’re coming up,” Gilberto said.
Once inside the condo Maria smiled at Diana Rain. “I’ve just heated up some tuna burgers. Hope you can join us for some supper.”
Diana Rain smiled. “So you’re Maria, the woman who keeps this beast tamed.”
“What?” Gilberto looked quizzical. “I don’t understand what you just said.”
“You don’t have to,” Maria smiled. She turned to Diana Rain. “He’s really just a pussy cat.”
Rain laughed. Gilberto was about to speak when Rain’s device jingled. She answered, listen, closed her phone. It ran again. Her face grew grim. She closed the call and turned to Gilberto.
“Apparently they were killed not long after they came at us this afternoon. I’m glad I got out of there when I did and avoided their wrecking crew.”
Maria smiled. “And to think I’m married to this mild mannered man who runs shipping for Amazon.”
“Complications,” Diana Rain said. The second call was from the hospital. Buzz’s dead. He died this afternoon from a massive coronary.”
“That must really mess up the situation at Atlas,” Maria said.
Gilberto nodded. “I guess Sara Midgley’s the acting CEO, at least until there’s stockholder meetings.”
Maria frowned, served three helpings of tuna burgers “Who knows how long that could take?”
Rain frowned. “I’m suspicious of that coronary.”
(to be continued)

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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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Georgia Nicols Weekly Horoscope: Sunday, November 14, 2021
All Signs

Yikes! The energy this week will be like tabloid headlines. “Secret KFC Recipe Revealed!” “Who Killed JFK?” Yes, it will old home week for conspiracy theorists. This is because deep, dark secrets will come to light this week. Not only will a “light” reveal unknown mysteries or classified information – it will also trigger revelations that prompt people to leave stagnant, oppressive relationships. Outmoded structures will be cast aside. People are waking up and they want change