GrannyMoons Weekly Feast: 17 Oct 2021

Cat Tip of the Month: October is officially designated as Black Cat Awareness Month. The month is meant to promote adoption of black cats who, sadly, have lower adoption rates than differently colored cats. It’s also unofficially known as Keep Your Black Cat Inside Month. Better safe than sorry. ~Mollie Hunt, Cat Writer

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

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October

Oct 18 English Great Horn Fair – Festival of Herne.

OCT. 18: Great Horn Festival—Horned God and Lady of the Wood invoked for the fertility of wild game and the Hunting Season.

OCTOBER 20, 2021: BLOOD MOON

Consider getting dressed up early this year to celebrate the Blood Moon on October 20 at 10:57 a.m. Eastern.

The Blood Moon is also called the Travel Moon, Dying Grass Moon, Hunter’s Moon, Harvest Moon, and the Sanguine Moon.

SEPTEMBER 30 TO OCTOBER 27 – CELTIC MONTH OF IVY

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

03: Face to Face Class: 1–3:00 ~ WitchCrafting

10: Face to Face Class: 1–3:00 ~ The Herbal Cauldron

17: 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 membersvcomplete each level.

Level I – Initiate of the Sisters of the Burning Branch – White cord

Level II – Adept of the 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!

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 to 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 each level is $50.00 or the entire Healing Arts Course (1-3) for $150.00, 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 <retail@coventrycreations.com>

October 18, 2021 – October 24, 2021

The third week of October starts with some good news as Mercury turns direct. Expect communication to return to normal and begin to repair any damage Mercury may have caused.

Midweek focus on ridding yourself of behaviors that are limiting your relationships, do something you enjoy, pamper yourself, and treat yourself to something decadent.

Weekend power struggles and disagreements are likely, avoid falling into a victim mindset. Scorpio season begins as the Sun moves into the sign of the Scorpion on Sunday.

Recommended: Healing – Heart Chakra (Chakra magic), Protection (Blessed Herbal), Inner Balance (Blessed Herbal)

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

Candle Ritual for opening your eyes to your own bad habits

The Full Moon in Aries occurs on October 20. The good news is that Mercury is now direct! The bad news is that Mars (the ruler of Aries) is in detriment to Libra. So, to work with this energy, we must tweak how we would work with the planetary ruler.

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The Halloween Oracle

The Veil

The future.

There is a misty curtain

that divides us all

The veil that this night thins

Transparent the weave becomes

And the future no longer dims.

The veil is thin, messages abound, listen closely and set your own intentions.

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FULL MOON OCTOBER 20, 2021 IN ARIES

October is a busy month to enjoy with our marvelous full Moon October 20, 2021 in Aries. If you are prone to tilt your head and howl at the moon, like the great hunters the coyotes, this will be the only night this month when the moon will be visible in the sky all night long. Just be mindful of the neighbors when you howl!

The energy has shifted in October and the portal between us and the spirit world is open.  Now is the time to do spiritual protection, prayers for the future, and think on only what is good.  Your thoughts will control what you receive from this energy shift.

The Hunter’s full Moon also called the harvest Moon is here to light up our inner-fires — and maybe start a little drama, too. This one falls in the headstrong and zealous sign of Aries. Everyone will feel the tension and passion of this luminary

In October, we enter the glorious late afternoon of the year. The woodland blazes with vibrant colors. As October passes the door to the otherworld opens wider. We become more receptive to spiritual energies and feel drawn to bond with our ancestors.

To the Native Americans full moons were a way to keep track of the seasons and make appropriate preparations for survival. Besides, with falling leaves and the fattening of wild game, also preparing for winter, who could argue that this month’s moon signaled a good time to go hunting…

https://cherokeebilliespiritualadvisor.com/blogs/all/full-moon-october-20-2021-in-aries

Cherokee Billie

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Llewellyn’s Spell A Day

Cleansing a Pre-owned Object

OCTOBER 17, 2021 BY MICHAEL FURIE

I love thrift stores, antique shops, flea markets, etc. My partner and I have a collection of chalices, many books, and even a brass cauldron and statuettes of the Venus de Milo and Isis that have been gathered over the years from local shops. The only drawback is that you cannot be certain of the history of pre-owned items, so it’s a good idea to cleanse them in order to neutralize any energetic residue they may contain.

First, physically clean the object in whichever way is proper, then proceed with the cleansing. Two quick and effective options for this are to pass the object through the smoke of frankincense and myrrh incense, or touch the object with both hands and visualize all the energy in the object changing from cloudy to clear, and say:

A safe addition to my domain,

cleared and cleansed you will be.

No harmful power shall you contain,

filled only with correct, healthy energy.

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Apple Peel Divination

OCTOBER 16, 2021 BY THORN MOONEY

This time of year is wonderful for divining the future! Try this variation on an American colonial classic, derived from Dutch folklore.

In colonial New England, young girls would peel an apple in one continuous strand, then throw the peel over their shoulder to reveal the initial of their future husband. If you happen to be in the market for a husband, then by all means give it a try!

But this technique can be used to divine other information as well: to reveal other names, significant numbers, or meaningful shapes. Begin by asking the apple a question. Use a sharp knife to peel it in one long piece while concentrating on your request, then toss it over your shoulder to reveal an answer! A peel that lands in a heart or star shape might indicate coming love or excitement. A Y or N could be yes or no. A letter might give a clue to someone who will influence you. Keep an open mind and follow your intuition!

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Rise Above It Spell

OCTOBER 15, 2021 BY DEVIN HUNTER

Both the sun and Mars are in Libra today, bringing about a strong desire for people to find middle ground and transcend issues. It is a time when the cosmos is calling us to let go of our ego. Sometimes this is hard, but don’t worry—this spell is meant to help you take the high road when it would be easier to take a lower one or not budge at all.

In a medium-size bowl, put one cup of salt, three sprigs of fresh peppermint, the peel of one whole lemon, and three pinches of catnip. Using your index finger, stir the ingredients together and visualize the problem moving from your mind down into the bowl through your finger, and allow the mixture to absorb it. Lift the bowl over your head and walk counterclockwise in a small circle three times. As you do this, say:

I rise above this mess that’s made,

and now I see resistance fade.

Put the bowl in a western corner and leave it there until the matter is resolved.

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Drown Out the Buzz of Lack

OCTOBER 14, 2021 BY EMYME

We live in the happy knowledge that abundance is ours. There is enough and more of everything we truly need. Believing in it makes it so.

Unfortunately, there are people who are just as convinced of, and living in, lack. Believing in that also makes it so. It may be possible to nudge some of these folks from pessimism to optimism. But for those stuck in an eternal downward spiral, it might be best to leave them alone. Take yourself out of their sphere. Put in your earbuds and enjoy some soothing music. When those options are not viable, learn to drown out the buzz. Concentrate on all things good and happy. This isn’t always an easy skill to develop, but it will save you headaches, both literal and figurative. Call upon Tranquillitas, goddess of peace and tranquility. She will guide you to serenity in the face of discontent. Say:

Quiet the noise, block the whine,

create a wall of calm divine. Offer a

smile, perhaps a soft word. Abundance

is forever and lack deterred.

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A Wishing Well Spell

OCTOBER 13, 2021 BY JAMES KAMBOS

On this day in ancient Rome, springs and wells were honored by casting floral garlands or wreaths into them. This spell helps us remember this ritual.

You’ll need a bowl filled with spring water and two or three ivy leaves. Sit before the bowl of water. Drop the ivy leaves into the water. Dip a finger into the water and anoint your third eye. Now close your eyes and meditate about a wish you want to come true. Open your eyes and stir the water clockwise three times with your finger. Carry the bowl outside and place the ivy leaves on the ground as an offering. Then pour the water on a tree or shrub, or water a houseplant with it. Your wish will manifest itself soon.

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Elevate Your Vibration with Music and Dance

OCTOBER 12, 2021, BY SAPPHIRE MOONBEAM

Music and dancing are a great way to add joy and movement to enhance and raise power during magical workings. Since ancient times dance has been associated with spiritual events. The ancient Egyptians, as well as many other ancient societies, celebrated with music and dance in ceremonies to honor the gods and goddesses.

Add dance and rhythm to any of your spells with chants to help amplify the power. Say the words with the rhythm of the music of your choice or chant along with rattles or drumbeats that you create. Allow your body to move in sync and in harmony with the sounds. Dance uninhibitedly while you incorporate the rhythm and music into your movements. Don’t overthink your dancing; get into the flow, enjoy yourself, and let yourself go.

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Affirmation for Positive Change

OCTOBER 11, 2021 BY DEBORAH BLAKE

Today is the day most Americans know as Columbus Day. It is also now called Indigenous Peoples’ Day, in acknowledgment of the fact that there were indigenous people already living here when Columbus “discovered” the New World. It was, in fact, only new to him.

Our reality, or at least our awareness of it, is a constantly shifting and changing space. This can be tough to deal with, but it is important for us to constantly strive to change for the better. On this day in particular, and any other day that it feels right, try doing this simple affirmation or meditation. ( You can do it as either or both.) Say:

I am open to positive change.

I work for positive change in

myself and in the world.

If you want, you can just sit with these words for a moment, or you can close your eyes and meditate on what a better world or a better self would look like to you.

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Heartwings Love Notes 1004 What’s Bugging You?

Heartwings says, “Human beings must share with insect beings.”

 I opened a drawer and took out my old black wool sweater. To my dismay it had several large moth holes. With a sinking heart I checked the other two wool sweaters in there, only to discover they too had suffered from chewing. Fortunately, their damage was minor and mendable. The other one was beyond repair.

I felt sad. This was my first cashmere sweater, mended many times from moth predation. The large holes solved a mystery: the source of the moths decorating a moth trap I had set out. The information was alas, too late to save my sweater. However, moths are not my only insect problem.

Ants have been invading the kitchen all summer. I tried everything short of poison. Reluctantly, I had to to kill them myself, though I apologized as I did so. I dislike murdering insects. They crawled in great numbers through my trash can. I finally bagged and tied all food garbage in plastic bags, depositing them in the trash. I kept my counters exquisitely clean, spraying them with an occasional vinegar and water mixture as well.

I have quickly dispatched the few ants that came to investigate since. Perhaps this major influx was my fault. Last late fall and winter I hosted one lone ant. I nicknamed him Andrew and made up stories about him for fun-even considering writing him into a children’s book. But the influx of ants from spring onward took the shine off of that idea. Maybe he went back and told the other ants I was a kind hostess. I stopped acting like one and took up my murderous ways.

Spiders show up occasionally, however, I never kill them. That’s bad luck. I do put them outside with a device called a Bugzooka. It catches insects alive so you can let them go outside. You can find it on the internet. While you can use it to catch almost any insect, it’s especially good for anything that flies, like those moths that appear in my bathroom from where I do not know. I do know they’re not clothes moths because they are larger, and a soft brown color. They show up and hover around there until the Bugzooka captures them.

Then there are those strange brown beetles that start to show up in the fall. They are very slow and easy to catch. I’ve been told they make a mighty stink if you squash them. I never have. They seem quite harmless. They neither bite me nor eat my clothes and I see no reason to kill them. Later on, if they show up and it’s cold, I put them on a plant outside in the hall.

Coexisting with the insect world can be challenging. There are a lot more off them than there are of us. Ants are important, part of nature’s cleanup crew, however, my home gets cleaned by me, not them. I am grateful for my Bugzooka which allows me to catch and release both harmless and biting insects. And for the rest, I just have to figure out where those moths come from and save my sweaters next year.

May you find ways to make peace with the insects around you.

Blessings and best regards, Tasha Halpert

Do you have a story about this or anything else you would like to share with me? I do love it when you do? Please write to me at tashahal@aol.com, and visit my web pages at http://www.heartwingsandfriends.com.

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Finding Freedom in No

Saying No to somebody when we’re used to saying Yes, can be challenging as we fear being rejected.

Many of us, from childhood on, are taught that saying yes is right and saying no is wrong. We learn that acceding to demands allows us to avoid conflict and criticism, please people, earn praise, and prove that we care for the important people in our lives. Yet the right to say no is indelibly intertwined with the ability to make choices. When we sense we are limited in our options, compelled to say yes even when doing so is not in our interests, we are effectively robbed of our ability to choose. Growing out of this tendency to say yes even when we desperately want to say no can be challenging because we suspect that others will reject us for our assertiveness. But the reward we receive upon facing this challenge is true freedom of choice.

When others ask you to take on work or do favors, consider their requests carefully. If you feel pressed to say yes, consider whether you are acquiescing out of a desire for approval or to stave off disapproval. Remind yourself often that the ability to say no is an important aspect of well-being, as it is an indication that you understand the true value of your energy, talents, and time. As you learn to articulate your personal power by saying no, you may feel compelled to explore the myriad consequences of the word by responding negatively to many or most of the requests put to you. The word “no” may even become your default response for some time. When you see that life moves forward without interruption, however, you will grow more comfortable saying no and will resume making decisions from a point of balance.

There is nothing inherently wrong with acceding to the requests others make of you, provided these requests do not infringe upon your health or your happiness. Keep in mind that it is only when you feel you have the legitimate right to say no that you can say yes with utmost certainty, sincerity, and enthusiasm. While saying yes almost always has a cost, you can feel good about offering your agreement when your reasons for doing so are rooted in your individual values and your appreciation for the appeal before you.

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Druid Tree Workings: Intuitive Tree Sigils and Tree Sigil Magic

by Dana

Nature provides incredible opportunities for us to work with her magic, through symbolism, sacred geometry, and meditation.  Today, I wanted to share a technique I’ve been developing for land healing purposes–tree sigil work.

Sigils have many different purposes.  In classic Western Occultism, some of the most well-known sigils are found in the Lesser Key of Solomon and are used to identify and evoke a particular spirit or entity. Another more recent use of sigils is through the practice of Chaos magic, where sigils are often used to set an intention and use the image to focus on that intention.  I covered bardic intuitive sigils some time ago on this blog; this use is in line more with the second intention. Sigils can be meditated upon, carved into wood or stone, energized and blessed, burned or buried, or placed in key areas for reminder and reflection.

Tree sigil work can be used for either purpose. That is, tree sigils can be used to bring the energy of the tree into your life.  And tree sigils can also be used for setting intentions and magical work. Sigils can then be meditated on, carried with you, buried, burned, set on an altar, and much more.

But what about natural sigils? How might we draw upon this practice in a nature-oriented way?  Enter intuitive tree sigils!

Tree Sigils and Nature’s Patterns

If there is one constant of nature, it is the pattern.  Patterns great and small can be found all over the natural world in various ways: spirals, branches, waves, and clouds being just a few.  Patterns are reflected all through sacred trees and plants–branching patterns, wave patterns, spirals, and much more. Tree sigils are sigils created from particular patterns present in nature, such as those found in trees.  That is, we can use nature as a guide to design symbols for a specific purpose. Thus, we can look to these sacred trees for inspiration when we need it.  For further info on nature’s patterns and archetypes, you might check out my post on the basics of sacred geometry and nature’s patterns; I also have a post on the use of sigils in snow.

Tree sigils are simply images that we create after connecting to and being inspired by a particular pattern.  This pattern could be unique to a specific tree or can be indicative of all spaces of tree.  Once we are inspired by the tree, we can capture some small form of it in a sigil, which we can then work with magically.  So let’s go through the steps to do this:

First, you want to set an intention for your sigil work. Consider the following: Do you want to more deeply connect to the energy of a particular tree?  Do you want the tree to aid you with a specific thing? Do you want to direct energy outward towards the tree or the land for healing/blessing? Spend time setting your intentions, as sigil magic is more effective when you have a clear sense of what you want.

Once you have your intention firmly in your mind, seek out a tree that may guide you.  If you want to work with particular energy, you can seek out a specific tree species that may hold that energy (e.g spruce for healing from illness, oak for strength, hawthorn for heart healing).  You can use your intuition to find t

Once you find your tree, make an offering and ask the tree if you can work with it for creating a sigil.  If the tree says no, thank the tree and move on.  If the tree says yes, spend time with the tree using basic plant spirit communication guidelines. Quiet your mind, meditate with the tree and listen to what the tree has to say to you. Use any divination approach you want to ask further questions (a pendulum being good for yes or no questions, while something like the Plant Spirit Oracle is useful for more complex questions).  Finally, ask the tree to provide you with a sigil for your work.

Once you’ve received your message, start observing the tree really carefully.  Move away from it and then walk up to it using different angles.  Get in close, looking at the details of branches, leaves, fruit, or nuts.  Walk around the tree and see what draws your eye.  Spend time doing this–it may take a while or something about the tree may immediately speak to you.   Now, look for patterns. Most commonly, you can find patterns in the following ways

In the bark of the tree, including in areas that are damaged or different

In the branches of the tree—look up and see how the branches may grow or cross each other

In the pattern of the leaf of the tree or the leaf veins of the tree

In the pattern of nuts, flowers, and other aspects of the tree

Each tree has many patterns that you can find—the key for you is to find the one that speaks to you most strongly.  Once you have found the pattern you like, draw it on your paper.  You can redraw it, change it, or even add a second or third pattern to the tree sigil from different parts of the tree.  There is no right or wrong way to do this—just use your intuition until you have a pattern, derived from that tree, that can guide you.

From there, you can decide how to best use the sigil based on your intention. If you are bringing something into your life, you might consider turning it into a pendant and blessing it (using a tree oil, tree incense, or sacred grove work). Wear your pendant and meditate on the sigil each day.  If you are using the sigil to remove something, you might create the pendant on a larger piece of paper and wood and then have a ritual fire to burn it or cast it into running water.  If you are doing blessing work on behalf of the land or others, you might create an altar and do regular prayers and blessings, placing the sigil in the center of the altar. You can combine the sigil with any number of other tree magic practices here in this chapter.

Example: Eastern White Cedar Good Health/Revitalization Sigil

I wanted to work with a tree to develop a sigil for good health and revitalization due to a recent illness.  First, I went out onto my land and spoke my intention aloud, allowing my intention to settle across the land.  Then, I just let my intuition guide me.  I closed my eyes and opened myself to the land, allowing me to be pulled in a direction.  I opened my eyes and started to walk.  Quickly, I could feel the large Eastern White Cedar near our garage pulling me to her.

I came to her and asked to sit before her.  I saw with her, paying attention to different aspects of her: the way her needles grow closely over each other, the pattern of bark on the branches, and the pattern of the trunk.  I was drawn to the pattern of the trunk, so I meditated on it for a bit.

Then, I sat with my notebook and began to create the sigil.  This one happened fast–I started with a more literal representation of the trunk and branch pattern and then simplified it.  Here’s what I came up with!

From there, the next step is to use the sigil however you want.  For me, I trace the sigil into the air around me each day before I go off to work (as right now, I’m back to in-person teaching and I want to have a bit of extra magical protection as I’m exposed to many people).  I also fashioned it into a small charm made of Cedar wood that I can carry with me.

Finally, this post is material from my forthcoming North American TreeLore Oracle project!   This project focuses on creating new knowledge and magical practices surrounding common trees in Eastern North America.  This is a great way for us to reconnect to the living earth, build new traditions surrounding nature, and more deeply understand the interconnection of ecology, lore, herbalism, and much more.  If you are interested in learning more about the project, we’ll be releasing a Kickstarter for it in the next 3-4 months.  You can follow my blog and/or sign up for my newsletter for more information!https://thedruidsgarden.com/newsletter/

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Ghost Hunting Theories

Nature Spirits

At some point, you are likely to have taken a photo and looked back at it and thought you saw a face.

Recently my best friend Julie and I were on a high altitude meadow at sunset where a herd of elk were grazing. I looked at the woodline and saw a gray face standing out in the darkness. I looked back at the elk, realizing it was looking at them. When I went to look back at the face and it wasn’t there. It had moved about 20 feet closer up the forest’s edge toward the elk.

Luckily, Julie was taking zoom photos of the forest and this face showed up in that area. Is it a face? Well, from the photo it is rather vague and in the shadows, but with the sun setting at the treeline, I was able to see it with my eyes first. So, whatever was in there, it wasn’t just a blown up 72-pixel shot from a cell phone creating something that wasn’t there.

It’s not unusual to see faces in forms, like trees, shadows, or in the case of this photo below, a newly cut piece of cavern where a dam was being built. When the workers descended into the area after cutting, a demon-like face with horns was seen. Some men fled and did not come back to the work site. They eventually filled it in with concrete, but it has one pondering –

Are we anthropomorphizing shapes in nature and projecting our own point of reference on what we see or are we seeing a subtle projection to remind us that spirit is everywhere?

It reminds me of ghost investigations. Members of the team who acknowledge they possess no “psychic” ability to see or hear ghosts, have an evening where they experience it and suddenly it opens a whole new world of focus they never had before. Now they know how to discern it.

Perhaps it is so with nature. Once we make a connection, we see life everywhere.

Most cultures acknowledge in some way the life force that is in everything and that forests have spirits, caves have spirits, and bodies of water have spirits.

Kirlian photography which captures coronal discharge has shown some interesting details about nature, such as a leaf that is cut showing its coronal discharge still where it was when it was whole.

Elementals is a common term to describe nature spirits. These legendary spirits represent the four elements – earth, air, fire, and water. Pagan religions have a strong focus on the four elements as the forces that create and destroy nature and deserve a certain degree of reverance.

Geomancy, or the belief that one can control the flow of energy in nature by placement, such as in the practice of Feng Shui is yet another example of nature spirits. In Feng Shui it is believed that the location and orientation of certain objects and pathways can guide good and bad energy toward and away from desired sectors, such as romance, business, fortune. If this is interesting to you, I suggest the book Confessions of a Feng Shui Ghost-Buster by Anna Maria Prezio.

If the concept of spirits in nature intrigues you, I suggest a documentary that is both fascinating and spine-tingling, Invasion of the Dark Stars. It will show you the world in a whole new way that opens a path of curiosity.

If you want to explore a channel on YouTube about this subject, try Elemental Encounters.

Nearly every culture has their nature spirits included in their mythos. European pagan cultures did a fine job of designing costuming and celebrations based on these elemental beings.

In these times of COVID and cities emptying out, people capable of living anywhere to work remotely, and our very dependence on the “system” being highlighted and scaring folks into growing their own food, getting off grid, and learning to be truly independent, we see a redirect to nature again. Gone are the days of throw-away Ikea furniture and Chinese-made plastic products. Folks are trading in for glass jars, wooden toothbrushes, and recycling/upcycling used items.

By reconnecting with seasons and nature, we find a balance in our souls as the outdoors always have a way of making us feel integrated with the world. Instead of being connected by a virtual internet world – we feel the wind and the rain, the day and the night, the seasons of the trees….

In fact, grounding has become a popular re-find among humans. The practice of walking barefoot on the ground has a way of feeling integrated with the life around us, the planet, nature, and the earth as a whole.

Might humans go back to their pagan ways? I suspect that every religion is based on the first concepts of the spirit realm which were considered a pagan method. Symbols and idols such as palm fronds, ash, Easter eggs, Christmas trees, have their fluid connection with spirituality over the times and forms that has taken to enlightenment.

Any time we feel bad about cutting down a tree, feel eyes upon us in the forest, marvel at a seed turned to flower, we are reconnecting with the energy of life in all its forms and possibilities.

No matter what one’s religion is, a reverence for nature is always called for, as it was created alongside us and for us.

Interestingly, when I had this aura photo taken, the photographer and I waited for the Polaroid to develop. I let her know that I brought all the spirits I feel around me all the time into the photo. She smiled, thinking that was adorable. But, when the paper was peeled back, something unusual revealed itself.

The next time I went, I decided to look at the spot in space where I feel my psychic abilities come from – up high to the right slightly.

The next time, my brother had died a few weeks earlier and I felt him over my right shoulder all the time.

Such energies make themselves known all the time, whether it is expressed in the autumn colors, a sun dog in the sky, or the moan of wind through a canyon. Wherever there is energy, there is life and for life to remain present and with meaning, there must be spirit.

Next time you go to the forest, consider leaving a wee fairy house, hug a tree, run barefoot over the leaves….

Perhaps the true spirits in nature is the interconnected dependency of flora and fauna and humanity.

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Taking Time For Yourself

Making time for the activities that contribute to your spiritual growth has little to do with being selfish.

Modern life compels us to rush. Because we feel pressured to make the most of our time each day, the activities that sustain us, rejuvenate us, and help us evolve are often the first to be sacrificed when we are in a hurry or faced with a new obligation. It is important we remember that there is more to life than achieving success, making money, and even caring for others. Your spiritual needs should occupy an important spot on your list of priorities. Each task you undertake and each relationship you nurture draws from the wellspring of your spiritual vitality. Taking the time to engage in spiritually fulfilling activities replenishes that well and readies you to face another day. Making time for the activities that contribute to your spiritual growth has little to do with being selfish and everything to do with your well-being. Regularly taking the time to focus on your soul’s needs ensures that you are able to nurture yourself, spend time with your thoughts, experience tranquility, and expand your spiritual boundaries.

 It is easy to avoid using our free moments for spiritual enrichment. There is always something seemingly more pressing that needs to be done. Many people feel guilty when they use their free time to engage in pursuits where they are focusing on themselves because they feel as if they are neglecting their family or their work. To make time for yourself, it may be necessary to say no to people’s requests or refuse to take on extra responsibilities. Scheduling fifteen or thirty minutes of time each day for your spiritual needs can make you feel tranquil, give you more energy and allows you to feel more in touch with the universe. Writing in a journal, meditating, studying the words of wise women and men, and engaging in other spiritual practices can help you make the most of this time.

Making time to nurture your spirit may require that you sacrifice other, less vital activities. The more time you commit to soul-nurturing activities, the happier and more relaxed you will become. The time you devote to enriching your spirit will rejuvenate you and help you create a more restful life.

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Magic Mushrooms For Depression?

ANDREW WEIL, M.D.

Is it true that the hallucinogen in magic mushrooms can relieve depression? Is it safe? How does one get this treatment?

The psychoactive component in magic mushrooms is psilocybin. A few studies have looked at this compound for treatment of depression. The latest, from Johns Hopkins Medicine, found that two doses of psilocybin plus supportive psychotherapy resulted in “rapid and large reductions” in depressive symptoms with most participants showing improvement and half of them achieving remission during four-weeks of follow-up.

In 2016 Hopkins researchers first reported that treatment with psilocybin significantly relieved anxiety and depression in people with a life-threatening cancer diagnosis.

According to the Hopkins team, findings from the latest study suggest that psilocybin may be effective in the much wider population of patients who suffer from major depression than previously appreciated. Alan Davis, Ph.D., adjunct assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, reported that “the magnitude of the effect we saw was about four times larger than what clinical trials have shown for traditional antidepressants on the market.” He added that since most other treatments for depression take weeks or months to work and may have undesirable effects, “this could be a game changer if these findings hold up in future ‘gold-standard’ placebo-controlled clinical trials.” The new findings cover only a four-week follow-up in 24 participants, all of whom underwent two five-hour psilocybin sessions under the supervision and direction of the researchers.

Another Hopkins investigator, Roland Griffiths, Ph.D., a professor in the Neuropsychopharmacology of Consciousness, noted that “because there are several types of major depressive disorders that may result in variation in how people respond to treatment, I was surprised that most of our study participants found the psilocybin treatment to be effective.” He added that the symptom of major depression treated in the new study may have been different than the “reactive” form of depression in patients studied in the 2016 cancer trial. Griffiths says his team was encouraged by public health officials to explore psilocybin’s effects in the broader population of those with major depressive disorder because of the much larger potential public health impact.

Participants in the latest study were 24 individuals with a long-term history of depression. Most experienced persistent symptoms for approximately two years before enrolling in the study. Their average age was 39; 16 were women, and 22 identified themselves as white, one as Asian and one as African-American. They all had to taper off any antidepressant medications they had been taking prior to the study. Of this group, 13 received psilocybin treatment immediately after they were recruited and after preparation sessions. Another 11 participants received the same preparation and treatment after an eight-week delay.

Treatment consisted of two psilocybin doses given two weeks apart between August 2017 and April 2019. Each treatment session lasted approximately five hours, with the participant lying on a couch wearing eye shades and headphones that played music, in the presence of monitors.

At enrollment, participants had an average depression scale rating of 23, indicating moderate depression.

Of the 24 participants, 67 percent showed a more than 50 percent reduction in depression symptoms at the one-week follow-up and 71 percent reduction at the four-week follow-up. Overall, four weeks after treatment, 54 percent of participants were considered in remission – meaning they no longer were depressed.

The researchers plan to follow the participants for a year to see how long the antidepressant effects of treatment last and intend to report their findings afterward.

The fact that psilocybin worked so quickly for so many participants is very encouraging since most antidepressant medications take weeks or even months to kick in – if they work at all. I’ll keep you posted on future research.

Source:

Alan K. Davis et al, “Effects of Psilocybin-Assisted Therapy on Major Depressive Disorder: A Randomized Clinical Trial,” November 4, 2020, doi: 10.1001/jamapsychiatry,.2020.3285

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Gilberto Rides Again

by Stephen Halpert Chapter 23

It was Thursday afternoon. Gilberto was resting in the bedroom after a long board meeting at Atlas. Joey staggered into the condo, disheveled and breathless from soccer practice.

Maria smiled. “You look bushed? Drink some water.”

Joey dragged his hand across his forehead. “Long practice. Big statewide tournament coming up. Coach has us all on double time. I’m going to take a shower.” He went on down the hall and waved at Gilberto.

Gilberto looked up. “Bathroom’s occupied.”

Joey looked confused.

“Your future wife’s in there.”

“Oh,” Joey said I guess wives need to use bathrooms.”

Gilberto nodded. “Usually.”

“I’ll go say hi.” He turned and knocked on the bathroom door. No answer came. He opened the door. The bathroom was engulfed in steam.

“What are you doing?” he said.

“Washing my hair,” came Toni’s faraway voice amidst cascades of water.”

 Joey’s voice sounded impatient. “But you washed it yesterday.”

“Close the door it’s cold. I always wash my hair. That keeps it nice.”

“But we had a hard practice and I need to take a shower.”

Gilberto smiled to himself, remembering.

“You can come in. I’ll be out in a few minutes but close the door.” 

Gilberto heard Joey open the shower curtain. “The tub and shower reek of something awful.”

“The end of my shampoo so I used some of yours. I’ll be done soon.”

You can get in too. My mom and dad sometimes  shower together. But get in and close the shower curtain.”

Gilberto smiled again. The voices from the bathroom sounded so reminiscent of his growing years, only it was his father and mother speaking.

“Ok.”

“But don’t use much hot water. It will keep the room steamed up.”

“You mean I have to hurry?”

“Yes,” she said.

“But I need to soak in the hot water. We had a rough practice,” he repeated.

Gilberto heard the shower curtain sliding back and forth and small humphing sounds as she climbed out. Then a loud “Oh, no!” as Joey climbed in and the water hit him. “The hot water’s all gone!”

Gilberto laughed to himself.

“It’ll come back. Give it a couple of minutes.”

“You used it all up.”

“Not intentionally. It’ll come back.”

“What are you doing to your eyebrows?

“Maybe you could take it later. Then the room won’t stay steamed up.”

His response sounded grumpy, almost belligerent. “But I need to take my shower. I’m all hot and sweaty from practice. Besides, what’re all those jars of goo on the sink. How long are you gonna be here anyway? I really need the bathroom to myself.”

“For how long,” she asked sounding like her mother, Rosa.

 His voice sounded gruff. “Maybe a half an hour? I have to shave too.”

“What? Those few hairs? Come on! Let me just finish here. I’ll not be too much longer.”

“For what,” he yelled. “Just to pull hairs out of your eyebrows?”

“It takes longer than you might think.” she said sounding annoyingly reasonable.

Gilberto sighed. She was reminding him of Maria now. Women, he thought.

“Ah, hot water’s back,” Joey said happily.

“Turn it off,” she demanded. “You’ll ruin everything.”

“I can’t,” he insisted. “Where’s my shampoo?’

“You mean the bottle with the lion on it?

“Yes.”

“I used it and actually I think I finished the bottle.”

Now his voice was angry.” But I need my shampoo. You’re only supposed to use a couple of drops and it foams up big.” His voice pleaded much like Gilberto’s when he was agitated and frustrated over something.” Gilberto smiled.

“I just squeezed the bottle like I always do.”

“But that’s my shampoo,” he groused.   

Maria walked into the bedroom. Gilberto was looked at her and grinned. “I think the newlyweds are having a spat.”

She grinned and looked back at him. “Really, I wonder why?”

“All you need  is love,” he smiled. “And extra shampoo.”

“You were listening,” she said softly. “You look like a grinning satyr in a garden somewhere in ancient Greece.”

He grinned. “I’ll that that as a compliment.”

The bathroom door slammed and a toweled, wet Joey went into his now shared bedroom.

Gilberto motioned to Maria, “I think matrimony is settling in,” he laughed.

“Probably,” Maria smiled. “Always best to get out of the way and let true love take its course.”

Toni emerged from the bathroom. Her face looked red; her cheeks were damp from tears. She opened Joey’s bedroom door and stood there. “I think you’re very mean insisting on taking over the bathroom while I was still using it.”

Joey took a deep breath the way Gilberto did. “I was at practice and all messy and sweaty, and that’s when I need to shower.”

There was a knock at their front door.

Gilberto opened it. Sophia came in. “I want to see my sister.”

“I’ll get her,” Gilberto said. “Come in and sit down.”

He turned, went down the hall, and knocked on Joey’s bedroom door. “Sophia’s here,”  he announced.

Toni’s face reddened. “I can’t see anyone looking like this.”

“You look ok,” he said.

She sighed. Maybe to you. “She wound a towel around her head and went into the living room. She hugged Sophia.

“Are you two getting married?” Sophia asked her sister.

Dressed in jeans and a tee shirt Joey joined them. “Not this week,” Joey said. “All she wants to do is wash her hair.”

Sophia giggled. “Oh, Joey we all do. That’s part of being a woman.” 

Toni looked uncomfortable. She hugged her sister. “I think want to go home.” She smiled at Joey. “But I still love you.”

“Will you come back,” he asked?

“When soccer’s over,” she said.

“Then comes basketball. I’m on the varsity.”

“Oh well, we’ll get around to it. Her lips brushed against his. “I guess we need to take things a little more slowly.” She turned to Sophia. “Come help me pack.”

Sophia smiled and took her sisters hand. “Sure,” she said.

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Kitty Kat’s Korner

Why Do Cats Rub Against You?

By Kellie B. Gormly

Is your cat rubbing on your legs? Your face? Why do cats rub against you and do different rubs on different body parts mean different things?

One of the benefits of working at home as a freelance writer is spending more time with my cats — but countless times, they have messed up my typing and even accidentally shut off my computer by rubbing their faces and butting their heads on my hands. So, what gives? Why do cats rub against you?

This universal cat behavior is a compliment, experts say, because your kitty is communicating with you and marking you as his kin.

“Cats define their worlds through scent,” says Marilyn Krieger, a certified cat behavior consultant in California, who is also known as The Cat Coach. “It’s one way they identify their families, their friends and also their enemies. When a cat is rubbing up against you, what they’re doing is exchanging your scent. It’s reinforcing that you are part of [their] group. It’s very sweet.”

Why do cats rub against you? Long-lasting messages from scent mingling.

Cats have scent glands that secrete pheromones in several parts of their bodies, including their cheeks, tails, foreheads, paw pads and anal areas. When they rub something or someone, they deposit this scent and it sticks, says Amy Shojai, a certified animal behavior consultant in Texas.

“Scent communication not only signals something when the cat goes through the motions, but the smelly message lingers for long-term communication, too,” Amy says.

“For other types of communication, the cat and the other party must be present to see the friendly tail greeting, for example, or to hear the purr and hiss,” says Amy, the author of more than 30 pet-care books, including ComPETability: Solving Behavior Problems in Your Multi-Cat Household. “Vocal communication can only last as long as one breath at a time,” she says. “But scent continues to communicate, even when kitty has left the building.”

Cat rubbing can also be a matter of claiming territory, but it goes beyond that, Shojai says. Territorial marking is more directed toward objects and spaces, and typically involves clawing and cheek rubbing.

Why do cats rub against you? To mark members of their tribe.

In colonies of feral cats, the felines mark each other as members of their tribe by rubbing and bunting their heads among themselves. This is a form of communication and acceptance, Krieger says. When cats transfer this behavior to humans, they are mingling their scents with ours, and also claiming acceptance. If a cat doesn’t like you, she probably will not rub against you, Krieger says.

When cats rub you, they are saying, “You’re part of the group, I’m part of you, we’re all part of the same group,” she says.

Do cats target different spots to rub on purpose?

Cats don’t really target certain human body parts with different messages; they usually just go for whichever area is accessible, Krieger says.

However, if a cat rubs your face, it feels more intimate and might be something a kitty only does if he particularly likes you. One of the most distinctive cat rubs is headbutting, which is when cats bump their heads on you with oomph. This, Shojai says, signals “I am your friend.”

“Not only does the head rubbing/bunting behavior leave pheromone signals that identify friendly encounters, it also places the cat’s face and eyes in vulnerable positions,” she says. “So, it’s not only expressing friendliness, but also trust. Typically, it’s the most confident cat that offers the head-bunting behavior, too.”

Cats also like to walk closely past us, rubbing their whole bodies against our legs. They often finish this by wrapping their tails around our legs. “This, again, is a friendly greeting between cats, and by extension, the humans they love and trust,” Shojai says.

Want your cat to rub against you? Reinforce the behavior!

As long as your cats aren’t knocking things out of your hands, you probably enjoy it when they rub up against you. Pet your cats when they rub against you to reinforce and reward the behavior, Krieger recommends.

“When cats come up to you… and they haven’t seen you all day and they rub you on the legs — if you automatically pet them, you reinforce that behavior and you put your scent back onto the cat,” she says. “They enjoy the affection and they like that.”

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Georgia’s Weekly Horoscope:

October 17, 2021

All Signs

This week Mercury retrograde is officially over, which is good news for everyone because now we can initiate new projects with confidence. Nevertheless, the shadow period (if buying a car, cell phone or a computer) is not over until Nov. 3rd. Meanwhile, midweek, there’s a Full Moon in Aries. (Oops!) That will rattle a few sabres! (Aries is the sign of war and the military. They can’t resist a challenge.) This means many people will be looking for a fight this week. (By Friday, things calm down.) The best way to handle aggressive energy is patience. That’s because patience is the antidote to anger. Sometimes a polite note will do the trick. For example, “Dear Autocorrect, I’m getting a bit tired of your shirt.”

Aries (March 21-April 19)

Let’s not sugarcoat things. This week is challenging! But it can be easier depending on how you handle the energy. In other words, it doesn’t have to be challenging –it can be a lovely week! Having said that, the only Full Moon in your sign all year will peak on Wed. Generally, our problems increase as the Full Moon approaches, and then afterwards, they diminish. That’s reassuring. However, immediately following the Full Moon in Aries, your ruler Mars is at odds with Pluto on Thurs./Fri. (Is there no justice?) This means people and situations will press your buttons. But remember: You have the choice of response. You are scripting your own movie.

Taurus (April 20-May 20)

Issues related to your job, your health or your pet might come to a head this week because of the Full Moon. You might find that at the beginning of the week, the problems you face seem to intensify. After Wed., these problems will diminish. However, you might have a power struggle with a coworker (or a boss) about ways to fix equipment or introduce reforms and improvements. It could be a real standoff with someone. We’re talking Gunfight at the OK Corral. This is the kind of confrontation that could get nasty and also be regrettable. Instead, see if you can channel this energy into old-fashioned, hard work. It’s worth a try.

Gemini (May 21-June 20)

Parents will have to tread carefully this week because this is the classic time for hissy fits and meltdowns with your kids – regardless of their age. That’s because this part of your chart is receiving a double whammy, first from the Full Moon, and then from a tough dance between Mars and Pluto. (You need this like a fish needs a bicycle.) This same influence will bring stress to romantic partnerships as well. Even a lovely social occasion might suddenly turn disastrous. Fortunately, you are a clever wordsmith, and always light on your feet. Use your playful energy and word dexterity to sidestep nasty confrontations. Because obviously, this too, shall pass.

Cancer (June 21-July 22)

Heads up, dear Cancer. Very likely, you will experience some stress and conflict with family members, especially a parent of this week. The Full Moon might force you to choose between home and family versus your career. Actually, with this particular Full Moon, it’s best to choose home and family. Having said that, increased chaos and activity on the home front might trigger conflict with someone later in the week. Think about your long-term objective. What do you ultimately want? You value a caring, harmonious family. That’s what makes you happy. Therefore, take the long view. This week is your opportunity to practice patience.

Leo (July 23-Aug. 22)

This continues to be a fast-paced week with errands, increased reading and writing, small trips and appointments. These could be the reasons that you are frustrated with the Full Moon energy. It might put you at odds with others. (Some people don’t know you’re Royalty.) Later in the week, a power struggle with someone could get nasty. Give up the notion of being right or the need to win. Sometimes when you’re at odds with a loved one, your choice is: You can be right – or you can be in the relationship. Almost certainly, the relationship is more important unless this is a casual encounter with someone who has transgressed your boundaries. (“Where is my huff? I must leave immediately!”)

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22)

Financial issues, earnings, your job and your possessions are sensitive areas this week. Conflicts might arise in many variations related to your wealth and assets because the Full Moon this week is stirring up trouble in both your Money Houses. Following the Full Moon, power struggles related to these same areas will take place due to a Mars/Pluto clash. (You get the picture.) Therefore, stay on top of things! Do your due diligence. Know what’s happening with your money, your possessions and how you share your wealth with others. Defend your best interests but don’t lose a friend over this. Be skilful and look for a win-win solution.

Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22)

Every Full Moon is an opposition between the Sun and the Moon. That is the essence of the tension. This week, the Full Moon in Aries is directly opposite your sign. (Gulp.) This happens only once a year. Therefore, you will have some tension with partners and close friends, especially at the beginning of the week during the build up to the Full Moon on Wed. However, afterwards, fiery Mars in your sign is at odds with big daddy Pluto towards the end of the week. This could trigger nasty power struggles with others. So, what are you going to do? Have a miserable week? No way! You are the smooth diplomat of the zodiac. Slide, side-step, listen, choose your words carefully to stay happy. You’re Teflon!

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21)

Before your ruler Pluto was discovered in 1930, for centuries, Mars was your ruler. (Aries and Scorpio are quite alike.) This week, we have the only Full Moon in Aries all year – followed by a tough encounter between Mars and Pluto. Yes, it’s time to sit up and pay attention. The tricky thing about this is that for your sign, much of this tension will take place behind the scenes, or subconsciously. You might feel angry or out of sorts and not realize until you suddenly overreact with someone. Be aware that you need to be mindful this week to avoid a nasty confrontation. You can do this because you have amazing focus and will power. Good luck!

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 21)

It’s a good thing that fair Venus is in your sign right now because Venus will make your words sweet. Venus always promotes diplomatic relations with others. This week, you’ll need this help when dealing with tensions between you and a friend or a member of a group. The Full Moon this week will trigger this. You might find yourself in a power struggle with a group or someone who might want to block your efforts. This could be about a difference in group goals or perceptions of what a group should endorse. You might have this same kind of stand-off with a friend? Decide what is worth fighting for and let anything else go. Steer clear of violent people and places. (Yikes!)

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 19)

There’s a lot of energy out there that you have to deal with this week. The Full Moon on Wed. will trap you in a tug o’ war between the demands of home and family versus the demands of your career and reputation. This will force you to make a choice. However, even later in the week, your ambition to do something will be thwarted by strong forces. (“March to Helms Deep! Leave none alive!”) Resist the temptation to be ruthless. Also, think twice before confronting someone because the cost might be too steep. Don’t get caught up in a battle of egos. Remember your long-term objective. This might the time to protect yourself and step back so that you can live to fight another day.

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 18)

You are a modern person, born 50 years ahead of your time. You have strong ideals and want to save the planet, preferably before bedtime. You are a networker who rallies the support of others to spread your ideas. This week, your ideals will be challenged. Or perhaps personal travel plans or issues with publishing, higher education, the law or medical matters will be thwarted. You might have a serious conflict with someone about politics, race or religious issues. People will defend their POV this week and even attack opposing views. Stay away from dangerous neighbourhoods and crowds that could turn violent. You are a passionate protester but remember to take care of yourself or you will be of no use to anyone. Tread carefully!

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20)

This week, both the Full Moon in Aries and a clash between Mars and Pluto will stir up conflict about money issues for your sign. These planetary aspects could also trigger tension about shared property, inheritances, taxes, debt and shared responsibilities. You will be forced to deal with your possessions more than usual. Definitely. This could lead to arguments about ownership or who will take care of what. Be careful because these arguments could back fire in a way that you’re left holding the bag. Be skilful. Be reasonable. Do not be ruthless or uncaring. Tread carefully so that you slowly can achieve your objectives. You can do this.

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Weekly Horoscopes Beginning Sunday, 17 October 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:

The good news is, you’ll finally be able to tackle a range of tricky if not worrying situations. However, with the actual circumstances you’re dealing with changing virtually every day, it’s vital you regard arrangements as more of an experiment than anything lasting. True, this will slow your pace; but it will also enable you to rethink plans, possibly more than once, and often make thrilling improvements.

A young relative could reveal some fanciful ideas or proposals. You might be surprised by the power of their imagination. If you get the impression, these are goals, they will struggle to meet, you might suggest alternative ways to make their dreams come true. There will be enjoyment in working as a team as you can recognise everyone’s strengths and weaknesses and how as a team, you might bring these together. Blending as one will make you strong.

Wednesday’s Full Moon is in your sign. That it comes just a few days after Mercury (moving through your opposite sign) turns direct, and as Jupiter similarly turns direct, suggests that others will be keen to have you on their team and to hear your revised ideas. There may be a slight political edge to this. You perhaps need to think of yourself as a master chess player and have a strategy in mind before you get too involved as there is a high probability of you showing too much emotion and perhaps losing support as a result. What you presumably wish, is that by the time the Sun moves into another of the Mars-ruled signs next weekend, that others will view you as a valued member of the team who isn’t dismissive of practicalities and indeed, has a sound network of individuals whose expertise would ensure success.

Taurus

Personal theme: I have!!

Earth & fixed sign: April 20 — May 20

Your horoscope for this week:

As a practical earth sign, you’d rather invest considerable time and effort in making plans but be sure they’ll last. While you’ve undoubtedly worked hard to get things organised, this week’s unsettled planetary activity indicates changes aren’t just unavoidable, they’ll lead to breakthroughs as unexpected as, ultimately, they’ll be thrilling. The secret to handling all this? Being flexible in a way that doesn’t come naturally.

The dreamy mood you are in as the week begins will be fleeting. You will be quickly forced to get your act together to deal with a mini crisis. Act quickly and you will be able to nip a problem in the bud. It shouldn’t take long before you regain your usual vitality and once you get your head down, you might actually enjoy the challenge of sorting out any problems that have arisen.

Wednesday’s Full Moon links back to a first Quarter Moon that was in your sign on Inauguration Day back in January (20th). What plans did you set out then? What can yet be amended and what requires more work? With both Mercury and Jupiter now in direct motion, plans should gather momentum. Significantly Jupiter, which is travelling with Saturn at the apex of your solar chart, should see your social and networking worlds expand exponentially. Anticipate your expertise to be called on. Further plans – most likely linked to the summer of 2022 – should gather shape. With the more scientific and enquiring part of your brain enthused by possibilities, it may be that you choose to develop a working partnership with someone born under Libra or Aquarius.

Gemini

Personal theme: I think!!

Air sign: May 21 — June 20

Your horoscope for this week:

It’s true, your ruler Mercury has been retrograde since late September, and this cycle ends Monday. However, you and the rest of the world will still be struggling with the powerful, and mostly welcome, changes triggered by unsettling planetary activity. The secret? Be bold yet ensure whatever you organise is flexible; and keep in touch with others. Those links will lead to exciting and often unexpected plans.

You wish some people would act more quickly. No one is in a hurry to get anything done and you want to see results. That’s why you feel so frustrated with the amount of time that’s being wasted waiting for other people to make up their minds. Still, intuitively you sense things will turn out just fine. So just go with the flow and like a jigsaw, all the pieces will come together in the end to make an impressive picture.

Your ruling planet, Mercury turns direct at the start of this working week. Jupiter will have done the same at the weekend. The fact that both are now in direct motion and in Air signs suggests an image of the ‘wind blowing in fresh direction’ and picking up pace. Yours is a sign known for having fabulous ideas and for distributing these with ease. By Wednesday’s Full Moon you could be involved in a sale or purchase that brings with it other possibilities so this should prove an exciting few days; but yes, by the weekend you may feel you’ve undergone a test or exam and that you could have done better. You may be being far too hard on yourself. There have been curious planetary conditions now for some weeks. Moving forward at a should be viewed as positive.

Cancer

Personal theme: I feel!!

Water & cardinal sign: June 21 — July 22

Your horoscope for this week:

Being a Cancerian, you usually sense the heightened feelings and, equally, the energy that comes with the Full Moon, which is on Wednesday. However, judging by the disarray triggered by the current powerful, and often exciting, planetary activity, each day will bring its own twists and turns. The secret? Be inspired by the planets, and live one day at a time. Planning can, and should, wait.

A team effort will hit the jackpot. Proceeds from a successful venture will be shared out and you stand a strong chance of reaping a good percentage of this reward. A bonus will allow you to buy something special for the home. Taking up a new hobby will be creatively rewarding especially if you join forces with a talented friend and together you will enjoy watching your skills grow.

This week’s Full Moon is in another of the Cardinal signs and accents the backbone and working area of your solar chart. It’s worth thinking back to decisions taken at work back in March. These may now be ripe for the next stage of their development. Note too that Mercury, which has been retrograde at the base of your solar chart, is now in direct motion. So too is Jupiter. All signs should feel the benefit of increased momentum. In your case, by the time that the Moon reaches Earth sign Taurus on Thursday, practical steps for moving forward should be in place. Key in all of this is the revival of an old partnership that puts you back in contact with someone who’s lost confidence and who would benefit from your support. This partnership has much potential to go places.

Leo

Personal theme: I will!!

Fire & fixed sign: July 23 — August 22

Your horoscope for this week:

Ordinarily, when you’re confronted with an obstacle, you’ll retreat, devise a plan, then turn it into action. During this week of unexpected developments, you’re urged to plan less and, instead, live in the moment. That could mean rethinking recently made decisions and, on occasion, upsetting others. However, they, too will be living this chaos and will probably thank you for your support and inspiration.

Promote your creative skills in your work and social activities. Your talent for bright ideas will be welcomed in group concerns. You might enjoy work and other commitments that involve a number of people. Just be careful about time wasting social distractions. There’s some amusement when you notice friction between two people when one wants to go one way and the other has already taken off in the opposite direction. You might somehow persuade them to come back together and reach a compromise.

As of late last year, both Jupiter and Saturn have been moving through your opposite sign. Jupiter moves faster than Saturn, and it may be that you feel that much has been promised but not yet delivered. That’s possible again this week as Mercury turns direct in another of the Air signs. These factors, together with Wednesday’s Full Moon in another of the Fire signs suggest decided change in the cosmic weather – and which could be to your advantage. It’s probable that you’ve known for some time you need fresh perspective and not at all impossible that by the time the Sun reaches the base of your solar chart next weekend, that the opportunity to live and/or work in a different place will present itself. A Virgo could yet act as useful information bringer!

Virgo

Personal theme: I analyse!!

Earth sign: August 23 — September 22

Your horoscope for this week:

Being a practical earth sign, you’ll swiftly spot and deal with changes in existing arrangements and unsettling developments. Recently and over this week in particular, events will seem to take on a life of their own. While this makes planning seriously tricky, you’ll soon reconnect with your intuition. This won’t just be helpful; it will inspire ideas and solutions that work brilliantly for you and others.

Think about the word balance and how this fits in with your life. Do all you can to keep everything in your world in harmony. This will include your relationships, work and relaxation, eating and dieting. Remember that balance is key. Arguments will drain you and tension in relationships will not do anyone any good. Be the one to keep calm, encourage others to take a more balanced perspective and fill the situation with love.

There is most decided change in the cosmic weather as of Monday. Over the weekend Jupiter will have altered direction and as of Monday, Mercury does the same. True, these are in Air signs and you are an Earth sign. The fact that others now seem to have a clear plan of where they’re headed should be helpful however. Momentum is likely to increase all the way through to the Wednesday’s Full Moon. Whilst it would be understandable if at one level you enjoyed the flurry of excitement, we know that this can set your nerves on edge. You will need to ensure that you have adequate sleep, and that your diet provides essential vitamins and minerals. There is the possibility of feeling so overwhelmed by Thursday that you need time out to recuperate. Note however, that the Sun changes signs at the weekend. This is another significant gearchange and one that should suit you well. In short, although you may be super busy and find the many ideas thrown at you almost bewildering whilst at the same time exciting, know that this period of un-settlement will soon be replaced by a time of deliberation and steady pace.

Libra

Personal theme: I balance!!

Air & cardinal sign: September 23 — October 22

Your horoscope for this week:

The planet Mercury is all about ideas, and it remains in Libra for an unusually long period, from 30 August to early November. What’s more it’s been retrograde. This ends on the 18th, giving you an amazing opportunity to explore your own perspective on life and, equally, that of others. For now, focus on what you’re learning. Take it slowly. Decisions can and should wait.

Do what you can to keep your home and family life on the quiet side. A housemate isn’t going to be happy if you arrange group activities to take place in your home. Even online meetings could get annoying for others who aren’t involved in them. Someone is hoping to get you to themselves as there is a private matter, they would like to discuss with you. A friend is about to make a blunder. They need pointing in the right direction.

As of Monday, Mercury turns direct in your sign. (Jupiter has already turned direct in another of the Air signs). These factors, together with Wednesday’s Full Moon in your opposite sign suggests considerable momentum but yes, the possibility of you being carried away by a proposal that really would stretch you – almost to the limit. You will likely need time out in the second half of the week to consider whether or not you truly have the energy to see things through. The financial incentives may be considerable. Yours is an interesting sign in that very often you refuel by having your scales so imbalanced that you are angered to the point of taking action: that being better than prolonged procrastination! It won’t be so surprising if, following a short rest, you begin to arm yourself for what you see as a fight but which is actually a climb to the next stage of the career ladder.

Scorpio & Ophiuchus

Personal theme: I desire!!

Water & fixed signs: October 23 — November 21

Your horoscope for this week:

For several weeks, you’ve faced a range of tricky situations. Some involved others but as many were solo. Each forced you to rethink certain elements of your life you’ve regarded as unchanging. Over the coming two weeks, the Sun and fiery Mars move into Scorpio and then, on 4 November, the New Moon in your sign takes place. Between them all, you’ll get the clarity you’re seeking.

You have made decisions a relative isn’t happy about. They will do their best to get you to change your mind but you will not be moved. Because of the negativity around you, the only way to feel as if you are making progress is to continue in some matters alone. A close friend will come to you for advice. They aren’t sure a path they are about to take is the right one. You might make some suggestions but it’s their life and the final choice has to be theirs.

It would be understandable if you felt overwhelmed. Perhaps you sense Wednesday’s approaching Full Moon in another of the Mars ruled signs, Aries. Perhaps you know you need to ‘do something’ but don’t know quite what. The good news is that as of Monday, Mercury, like Jupiter over the weekend, turns direct. Other people – especially Gemini, Libra and Aquarius friends – will no doubt have much advice to offer. True, even this could leave you ‘blown away with ideas’ and still unsure of which way to go. Yet you do have the happy knack of tuning in to your inner voice. In the last few years, as Neptune has moved through another of the Water signs, Pisces, accessing this as likely been easier – though necessary to have quiet time to focus. Your design, presentation and creative thoughts in the second half of the week should prove super useful. It’s probable too, that soon after the Sun reaches your sign next weekend, you will move forward with a plan that most definitely broadens your horizons.

Sagittarius

Personal theme: I see!!

Fire sign: November 22 — December 21

Your horoscope for this week:

Judging by the recent amazing planetary activity involving your ruler Jupiter, you’re juggling a range of thrilling ideas or offers and, equally, trying to rein in the well-meaning advice of certain cautious individuals. The secret? If you can, avoid discussing these with others; and if you must, ensure the individuals in question share your optimism. Yes, you’ll need help with practicalities, but not just yet.

Occasionally you have to make difficult choices to get ahead and this is one of those times. You’re torn between two very different courses of action. One holds far more risk than the other but it is the risky one you are most drawn to. You might talk it over with a Taurean before making a decision. There will be some slight tension later in the week when someone new joins your team. Once the ice has been broken and everyone relaxes, you will all get on swimmingly.

Three things to bear in mind: firstly, that mid-week there is a Full Moon in another of the Fire signs, but that that is preceded by your ruling planet Jupiter turning direct this weekend – and followed by Mercury also turning direct on Monday. In short, not only is there going to be a change of pace, but that it will quicken. This should suit you. As one of the Fire signs, you like being reactive. There should be plenty for you to react to over the next few days. In fact, it could be such that others want to pour cold water over you by Thursday. It may be that you burn too quickly. So yes, you will likely need to modify reactions. Yet your enthusiasm may be just what’s needed to kickstart a group or association into action. Anticipate being asked to play a key role. Someone close might wonder if you’re squandering precious energy. It may be though, that this commitment will be oboe of your key legacies.

Capricorn

Personal theme: I use!!

Earth & cardinal sign: December 22 — January 19

Your horoscope for this week:

Once you understand there is no simple solution for the range of difficult situations you’re facing, you’ll decide which matters take priority, and who can help you, then focus on that. Inform those involved with the rest that you’re interested but have to wait. Bizarrely, what you learn from this week’s issues will prove incredibly helpful when it’s time to deal with everything else.

One way to accomplish tasks you can’t do on your own is to join forces with other people. You will all bring your individuality into a team, each of you contributing here and there and together you will make significant progress. A creative friend’s ideas will provide you with the inspiration to jump forward and start on a project you’ve been talking about for a while but until now have done nothing about. Once you do get going, ideas will come through thick and fast.

Not only does Mercury turned direct at the apex of your solar chart as of Monday, but there is a Full Moon accenting the backbone and ambitions area of that same chart. After weeks when it may have seemed that pushing forward was a seriously uphill struggle, you may now find that colleagues are both in the right place and in the right frame of mind to move forward. It helps hugely that Jupiter too is now in direct motion. This suggests a following wind. The fact that so many people are in agreement should ensure that by Thursday concrete and practical steps are taken. Yes, it might still be some months before design and presentation ideas are settled. Yet an outline plan could likely be agreed before the weekend. It might even be that you insist on this. As Mars moves into hard aspect with Pluto (still travelling through your sign), it might suit you to take the reins and make demands.

Aquarius

Personal theme: I know!!

Air & fixed sign: January 20 — February 18

Your horoscope for this week:

True, you’re amazing at spotting worthwhile ideas and, equally, will embrace new ways of living, working or looking after yourself long before others even think of it. Yet you also have a stubborn streak. That’s what you’re facing now, and in a range of situations, minor and more far-reaching. The secret? Forget your usual excuses for sidestepping these changes and, instead, plunge in. You won’t regret it.

You know what you are capable of, you know you can do it, so what’s stopping you from getting on and getting ahead? Fight past whatever it is that is causing you to dither, pull your socks up and take that brave step forward. Push aside any doubts about making mistakes. Just try it. See how it works out and you could surprise yourself. When all is said and done making mistakes is all part of the learning.

Jupiter turns direct in your sign this weekend. That’s followed immediately by Mercury turning direct in another of the Air signs on Monday and then a Full Moon mid-week. Progress is more than likely. You should feel super energised. Yours is a sign that thrives on information. Knowing now that you’ve been arguably misled or misinformed, as of Monday you could be super charged on an information highway. Yes, the learning curve could initially be steep and by Thursday you could feel swamped and exhausted by all there is to learn. Yet you might also feel super energised. Fact is that as you gather information and spread your network, the potential for you to advance career-wise increases. In all this, the support of Taurus, Virgo and Capricorn friends will no doubt be vital. Their approach could be so very different to your own and yet they could anchor you. Let them ask questions and try not to let your answers be too short or abrupt. In answering these as fully as you can, you’re also illustrating your growing expertise.

Pisces

Personal theme: I believe!!

Water sign: February 19 — March 20

Your horoscope for this week:

You benefit amazingly from the current changeable but exciting planetary activity. Your only problem? Your tendency to be drawn into others’ dramas. While, obviously, you’re always there for those closest, certain manipulative individuals want your support. You owe them nothing, yet still struggle with saying a firm no. If you can’t, ask somebody else to. Do this now, and you’ll end a long and difficult cycle.

When you’re faced with something difficult and you’re giving it your best shot, you know too, that you can’t do anything more. If your efforts are successful this will boost your confidence. If they aren’t, it doesn’t matter. You can always try again another time or get some extra training to sharpen your skills. An out of the blue trip is likely and some welcome news concerning a family matter will be received around Thursday. This will give you all something important to discuss together.

Your ruling planet Jupiter, turns direct this weekend slightly ahead of Mercury doing the same on Monday. That’s then followed by a Full Moon in one of the Fire signs on Wednesday. Together, this suggests change in the cosmic weather and yes, high probability of increased momentum. True, you could experience financial pressure. That should ease following the Full Moon but, ahead of that, expect others to make demands. It could be argued that this is the optimum time for you to begin planning. As of next weekend, the Sun moves into another of the Water signs when you should feel more at ease with plans. For now, and with so much accent on Air signs expect to feel as though you’re caught in a whirlwind. Exciting as that may be, you might be super appreciative of Taurus, Virgo and Capricorn friends who act as ‘lighthouses’ and guide you through to the waiting, calmer waters.

~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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Healing Arts and Pagan Studies

http://Goddessschool.com/Paganstudies/index.html

http://Goddessschool.com/Paganstudies/healingarts.html

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GrannyMoon’s Weekly Feast

https://grannyMoon.wordpress.com/

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

GrannyMoon, Teaching the Craft for over 20 years!

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

By GrannyMoon Posted in Pagan

GrannyMoon’s Weekly Feast: 10 Oct 2021

Cat Tip of the Month: October is officially designated as Black Cat Awareness Month. The month is meant to promote adoption of black cats who, sadly, have lower adoption rates than differently colored cats. It’s also unofficially known as Keep Your Black Cat Inside Month. Better safe than sorry. ~Mollie Hunt, Cat Writer

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 MoonTime to Die, Letting Go

Dark Moon – Time to Rest Again

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Light A Candle Today!

In many different traditions lighting a candle is a sacred action. It expresses more than words can express. It has to do with gratefulness. From time immemorial, people have lit candles in sacred places. You may want to begin or end your day by the sacred ritual of lighting a candle on this gratefulness. Or you may want to light a birthday candle for a friend. One single guideline is all you need: Slow down and do it with full attention.

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Current Moon Phase: Waxing Moon:

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

Goddess Aspect: Maiden

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

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

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October Happenings

10/6 New Moon in Libra

10/6 Pluto Direct

10/7 Venus enters Sagittarius

10/10 Saturn Direct

OCT. 9-11: Feast of Divine Wisdom – Source of all knowledge, honoring God-Goddess as Odin-Frigg (Norse); and Goddess as Sophia/Wisdom (Christian), Truth/Maat (Egyptian), Metis (Greek), Sarasvati (Hindu), & Manat (Arabic-Sufi).

OCT. 13: Knights Templar Remembrance Day

Greek Thesmophorus: five-day women’s pilgrimage for Aphrodite as Goddess of Genetyllis (childbirth), Demeter as Mother of a beautiful child (Persephone), with revelry the first day, celebration the second, temple of Demeter the third, fast and mourning for Persephone the fourth, and rejoicing the fifth day.

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

October

03: Face to Face Class: 1–3:00 ~ WitchCrafting

10: Face to Face Class: 1–3:00 ~ The Herbal Cauldron

17: 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!

Treat headaches with herbs. You’re reading, driving, working, cooking—and whoomf! a headache happens. For ordinary headaches caused by the stresses and strains of daily life, a calming cup of herbal tea may be all you need to restore your equilibrium. Use these dried headache herbs, brewed with 1 cup boiling water and sweetened with honey:

Lavender, lemon balm, meadowsweet, ½ teaspoon each

Sage, rosemary, mint, ½ teaspoon each

Rosemary, marjoram, peppermint, ½ teaspoon each

A cool lavender compress for the temples and a quiet rest in a dark room may also give you the relief you need.

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 to 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 the entire Healing Arts Course (1-3)for $150.00, 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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Llewellyn’s Spell A Day

Firewood Spell

OCTOBER 10, 2021 BY ELIZABETH BARRETTE

The fire element spreads its symbolic colors over the trees when their leaves change in autumn. It is an element we need more and more as the weather cools. Some people have a woodstove, a fireplace, or a firepit. For them, autumn is a time to cut and haul firewood or order a load to be delivered.

Here is a spell to keep your woodpile safe from pests or moisture and maximize the energy from it. You will need a stick of incense, preferably a woody scent such as pine, cedar, or sandalwood. You will also need a small piece of wood from your woodpile.

Safely light the incense and wave the wood through the smoke. Then say:

Fire spirits, bless this wood. Keep

it safe from insects that nibble and

mice that gnaw. Keep it dry from

rain that dribbles and snow that

drifts. May it burn bright and hot

to warm my days once I light it.

Then return the piece of wood to the woodpile.

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Cast Iron Cauldron Crème

OCTOBER 09, 2021 BY ESTHA MCNEVIN

Applying crème to cast irons was a good Old World chore often done with prayers and a sense of wealth, because the fats used to temper cooking irons, even today, are among the most prized for baking. This highland crème is one that gives a shine and seals the outside of the pans, protecting them from soot and debris if they are used on a fire.

The season of the cauldron is a great time to practice traditional kitchen witchery and give thanks for how far we’ve come since the days when our every meal was cooked over an open fire. It works best to mix this crème by hand:

* 1 cup bacon lard or pork belly fat, rendered

* 1/2 cup beef fat

* 1/2 cup coconut fat, solid

Pack any remaining mixture in old toilet paper tubes, which can be stored in canning jars in the freezer when not in use. Enchant the mixture with your own spoken spells to the Great Goddess: the cauldron of life.

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Love Apple

OCTOBER 08, 2021 BY NAJAH LIGHTFOOT

The apple has a long and sordid history of being a forbidden, seductive, and evil fruit. Let’s bring the apple out of the darkness and embrace its good juju!

For this spell, cut a red apple in half, slicing horizontally. Remove the seeds and give one half of the apple to your lover. As the two of you eat your apples, say:

As the fruit of the apple

falls from the tree,

My love shall always remain with thee.

Plant the seeds in the earth.

If you’re seeking to bring love into your life, carve the words “my true love” onto one half of the apple. Eat your half of the apple while lovingly holding the other half with the carved words in your hand. Bury the apple with the carved words in your back yard or in a flowerpot. That way, nature will help your love grow and blossom into something beautiful for you and your intended beloved.

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Soil Spell for Abundance

OCTOBER 07, 2021 BY EMBER GRANT

For this spell you’ll need a handful of soil, preferably from a garden where food crops have been growing all summer. If you can’t obtain this, then some dirt from any place where plants are flourishing is fine. Cup the soil in your hands and meditate for a few moments on the significance of fertile land—how vital it is for all life on Earth. Speak these words:

Fecund land and fertile soil,

like the harvest that we reap.

Abundant Earth, please help me earn

prosperity that’s mine to keep.

Visualize abundance filling your life in every way. Deposit the soil in your own yard or in a potted plant. If you took the soil from your own garden, then simply return it.

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The Silver Guide

OCTOBER 06, 2021 BY STORM FAERYWOLF

For this spell you will need these items:

* A piece of silver (a coin, a piece of jewelry, a chain, etc.)

* Some dried lavender

* Some dried willow bark

Should you embark upon a quest,

In need of blessings and a guide,

On new moon’s night perform this spell,

And may the muses treat you well.

A piece of silver beneath your pillow,

Along with lavender and willow.

Then speak these words with eyes closed tight,

Before you go to sleep this night:

New moon, so dark, a promise yet,

Of light that grows in steady course.

Revealing paths as yet untrod,

I conjure forth the teaching dream.

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Comfort and Joy

OCTOBER 05, 2021 BY DALLAS JENNIFER COBB

For me, there’s a lot of comfort in a cup of tea. My childhood associations with tea are connected to memories of being safe, cared for, and loved. My British grandmother always made me tea and cookies, and I have many sweet associations.

Boil the kettle and make tea in a favorite mug. Wrap your hands around the mug and feel the comfort of the physical heat. Take a sip, and as the warm fluid slides down your throat, notice how content you feel with the warmth in your belly. With each sip, envision a caring person from your past beaming at you. Feel their love, support, and care. Drink in the comfort and joy.

Taking a few moments to slow down can lower blood pressure, reduce tension, and relax muscles. Using visualization, you can weave a magical blanket of comfort and joy to snuggle into, wrapping yourself in good feeling.

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Rusty Nail Spell

OCTOBER 04, 2021 BY KATE FREULER

The purpose of this amulet is to ward off unwanted visitors, such as nosy neighbors or people you just don’t want in your home.

Gather these items:

* A rusted old nail (The dirtier and rustier it is, the better.)

* A piece of paper to wrap the nail in

* A pen

Hold the nail in your hand and think about how sharp and dangerous it is, and how much it would hurt if you stepped on it. While no one is going to actually physically step on the nail or get hurt, imagining this quality acknowledges its energy, which is defensive and best avoided.

Now imagine the person or people you want to keep out of your space. Write their name(s) on the paper, and wrap it around the nail.

Place the nail wrapped in the paper underneath the doormat to your home, with the point facing outward. Those who are unwanted will feel the energy of the rusty nail directed at them and hopefully take the hint.

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Heartwings Love Notes 1003 Let’s Go Bananas

Heartwings says, “It’s good to try new recipes and explore new ways of doing.

I often find myself with too many ripe bananas. I buy them as green as I can, and yet they ripen too fast. You can find banana bread recipes in most every cookbook you look into. One could easily make a banana bread a week for a year and never use the same recipe twice. However, I have never seen this recipe anywhere else. It is a wonderful recipe and fun to make, and even more fun if you had a small companion—read child or grandchild, to share the making of it with. It came to me from a friend. It makes a wonderful dessert to bring to a potluck, because it makes 24 to 36 servings, depending on how you cut it. Or you can freeze half for later.

Banana Lattice Cake

This very special cake recipe from South America is delicious and unusual. Although somewhat time consuming, is actually fun to make especially if you have a child to help you with the lattice work. Grease a 9X12 baking pan, preheat the oven to 350 or 325 if pan is glass.

Ingredients:

1 egg

1 stick butter, softened

1 cup sugar

2 cups flour

1 tsp baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

1 tsp vanilla or almond extract

4 or 5 ripe bananas

Cinnamon to sprinkle

Sugar to sprinkle

Lemon juice to sprinkle

Method: Cream sugar and butter, add egg and vanilla, beat well. Mix in Baking powder and salt, then flour. When mixture is well blended put half of it into baking dish. Press into dish, let sides build up a little. Slice ripe bananas over tip and distribute evenly. Sprinkle lemon, sugar and cinnamon over bananas. Take about a teaspoon of dough and roll it into a ball. Then put your hands together as if you were clapping but rub them back and forth so that the dough makes a long roll or strip. Crosshatch the bananas with these strips, placing them on the diagonal. Don’t worry if some are not long enough; just add onto them with shorter pieces. The dough will all glue itself together nicely as it bakes and spread out to make a pretty, puffy appearance. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes. Cool before cutting and serving. Delicious!

Hope you enjoy this as much as I have.

Blessings and best regards, Tasha Halpert

P.S. Do write me if you try the recipe and let me know ho it turned out for you. I so love to hear from my readers, and I’ll respond even if it takes me weeks to do so! Write me at tashahal@aol.com, and visit my website at http://www.heartwingsandfriends.com

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A Simple Way To Calm And Center Yourself

~Dr. Weil

Conscious breathing is a natural, quick and effective way to reduce tension, maintain focus and feel energized. It is also free, with you wherever you are, and side effect-free!

Exhaling completely is a basic breathing exercise that requires little practice and can promote deeper breathing. Give it a try: Simply take a deep breath, let it out steadily and effortlessly, and then squeeze out a little more at the end.

Doing this conscious breathing exercise regularly will help build up the muscles between your ribs, and your exhalations will soon become deeper and longer. Start by performing this exercise consciously, and before long it will become a healthy habit. For a more advanced, but still simple technique, consider my 4-7-8 breathing exercise.

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The DIY Carvings Designed to Deter 17th-Century Witches

BY KIRSTEN AMOR

Apotropaic marks were simple patterns with a serious purpose: to keep evil and mischief out.

HISTORIC ENGLAND

DAISY CHAIN CIRCLES AND “V” carvings hidden in the nooks and crannies of historic homes and properties across the United Kingdom, once thought to be carpenter’s symbols, hint at Tudor superstition and folklore.

Apotropaic marks, or witches’ marks, have been found in various properties throughout the UK—from Wookey Hole Caves in Somerset, to Shakespeare’s birthplace in Stratford-Upon-Avon, to even the Tower of London. Most of the carvings appear in buildings constructed between the 16th and 18th centuries.

The “apotropaic” terminology comes from the Greek term “apotropaios,” meaning “averting evil.” Witches or their evil conjured spirits were thought to attempt to enter homes via doorways, hearths, and windows, and hide in shadows made by the nooks and crannies of the house. It was believed that once they had entered the property, witches and evil spirits would want to attack the inhabitants, or ruin the most valuable possessions of the owner. Tudor proprietors took a proactive approach to the issue, and carved the apotropaic marks near where items of value were stored.

An eye-opening journey through the history, culture, and places of the culinary world.

“Ritual marks were cut, scratched or carved into our ancestors’ homes and churches in the hope of making the world a safer, less hostile place,” said Duncan Wilson, Chief Executive of Historic England, last year. “They were such a common part of everyday life that they were unremarkable and because they are easy to overlook, the recorded evidence we hold about where they appear and what form they take is thin.”

The most popular witches’ mark features a series of intertwining daisies in a wheel design, also known as a hexafoil. The linking design was intended to entice the malevolent spirit and trap them in an infinite loop, thus preventing them from progressing any further into the property. Alternatively, Tudor homeowners would also call upon the supreme divine power of the Virgin Mary for protection, carving Marian symbols such as the letters AM for “Ave Maria,” M for “Mary,” or VV for “Virgin of Virgins.”

Belief in witchcraft dates back to ancient Babylon, and has appeared in texts from the Greeks and Romans. But the conventional stereotype of witches as female figures consorting in dark magic did not emerge until approximately the 15th century in Europe. Before then, in medieval England, folklore concerning good and bad spirits that could affect seasons and running of a household coexisted with the newly introduced religion of Christianity. “White witches,” or “cunning folk” as they were known, were believed to assist in intervening with these spirits for the good of the people, as well as other practices, such as medicine. On counterbalance, it was also believed there were those who would call on their powers for malevolent reasons, such as necromancy.

As Christianity took root in local and countrywide governance, church authorities focused on eradicating pagan beliefs, and the link between the dark magic of demonic conjuring and pacts with the devil, and witchcraft as we know it today, emerged.

Witches’ marks have been found in confined, shadowy areas of properties. Shakespeare’s birthplace in Stratford-Upon-Avon, which later became a pub, had a hexafoil placed where they stored the beer. At Knole House, a Jacobean estate in the southeast English county of Kent, carvings were found on the roof beams and floorboards. The marks were dated using dendrochronology to 1606—only months after the Gunpowder Plot, an assassination attempt by the Catholic Guy Fawkes against the Protestant King James I. During this time, accusations of witchcraft and demonic forces permeated throughout society, and witch trials were rife. The Pendle witch trials of 1612, for example, saw eight women and two men sent to the gallows.

Official legislation against the practice of witchcraft did not start in earnest in the UK until the 16th century, when Henry VIII introduced the Witchcraft Act 1542. In comparison to the rest of Europe, where witch hunts had started as early as the 12th century, the UK was a latecomer to penalizing witchcraft. As religious tensions and social upheaval continued throughout the 1500s and into the 1600s, however, the belief in witchcraft and the subsequent persecutions intensified. In fact, King James I became so interested in witchcraft he wrote a book on the topic, Daemonologie, in 1597. In 1604, he broadened Elizabeth I’s Witchcraft Act to include the penalty of death without the benefit of clergy to anyone found guilty of communing with evil spirits.

DAVID PURCHASE

The practice of carving apotropaic marks persisted in the last centuries during times of social change, as evidenced by the carving of these symbols into historic buildings in Australia by British settlers in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Given that apotropaic marks were verbally passed down throughout the centuries as folklore and symbols of protection, and were seen as such an everyday feature of households, little has been recorded or researched on the subject.

In an attempt to rectify this, Historic England launched a public appeal on Halloween 2016 to encourage members of the public to search for apotropaic marks in their houses or local historic buildings. The results were overwhelming, with hundreds of new submissions sent.

HISTORIC ENGLAND

Soon Historic England hopes to release a report detailing the most surprising examples from their 2016 appeal, and with more records it is hoped more information can be unearthed on these enigmatic symbols.

“Witches’ marks are a physical reminder of how our ancestors saw the world,” said Historic England’s Duncan Wilson last year. “They really fire the imagination and can teach us about previously held beliefs and common rituals.”

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Earth Magic: Take Action with a Charm Bag

OCTOBER 04, 2021 BY DODIE GRAHAM MCKAY

Charm Bag and Lavender

I like to think of magical work that involves assembling, building, concocting or creating an item as a form of earth magic. You are the creator responsible for bringing an item into existence as a focal point for your will and desire. You are the manifester, giving form and function to the object you are making.

A charm bag is a quick and effective magical object that you can create for a specific purpose and discreetly carry with you or tuck into a strategic spot in your environment. Creating one gives you a sense of control over a situation and the gratification of taking action to do something about it. It is a hands-on, satisfying way to make a magical item that does not need to take a lot of time or money to create.

Gather the Parts

The magic starts when you begin to assemble the items you will use to make your charm bag. Do this with intent and carefully select the very best materials you can afford and source. Take time to consider your magical footprint on the Earth and make your charm bag as earth-friendly as possible. Try to use natural materials that will biodegrade. Plastic or synthetic materials may be tempting, but they can take hundreds of years to break down or release noxious chemicals if burned. As magical practitioners, we often call on the energy of the earth to perform our spells and rituals, so being conscious of the impact our magic has on the planet seems only fair and responsible.

Your charm bag does not need to be elaborate or complicated in order to be effective. I like to use four components to make mine:

A small drawstring bag

Herbs

A small crystal

A token to represent your intent

I like to keep the bag fairly small, no more than about 5 cm by 7 cm (2 inches by 3 inches), with a drawstring to close it. You can check your local arts and crafts supply shop or dollar store for these. I can usually find small muslin or cotton bags at these places, or you can sew your own using scraps of cloth.

Herbs should be dried, as fresh herbs can get moldy and soggy in the bag. Whenever possible I like to cut and dry my own herbs from my garden, or I head outside to harvest responsibly from the wild. But that is not always possible, and it is easy to overthink this one. The herbs you have in your kitchen can be equally effective.

The crystals should be small—something no larger than the end of your thumb or even a just a single bead is perfect. If you don’t have a suggested crystal you can substitute a simple clear quartz. If shopping for crystals is not for you, head outside to find a pebble in a suitable color or a shape that resonates with you.

Assemble the Bag

Before you assemble your charm bag, take a moment to ground and center yourself. Make every movement intentional and state your intent out loud. Visualize a successful outcome as you work.

Money Charm Bag

Bay leaf

Mint leaf

Small citrine crystal

The key to success with this one is to not be greedy. Visualize what you really need the money for. Write it on the bay leaf and place it in the bag. Add a liberal pinch of dried mint leaves and sprinkle into the bag, imagining each flake as the cash tumbling into your hands. Next, add the citrine. Citrine is a stone of manifestation, and is referred to as an abundance stone or merchant’s stone as it attracts money and financial success. Many a witch shop owner have been known to keep a piece of citrine in their cash register. Pro tip: keep a small piece in your wallet!

Grounding Charm Bag

Sage

Dirt from home or other place of comfort and security

Small hematite stone

Collect a spoonful of dirt from outside your home or any other location where you feel absolutely safe and secure. Thank the place for this gift as you collect it. Add the dirt to your bag and follow this with a generous pinch of garden sage. Any culinary sage you may have in your kitchen will work just fine. Take a moment to smell the sage and focus on the smell and texture of the leaves as you do this. After a moment, add the hematite. Hematite has a coolness and stability that connects us to our inner strength, enabling us to securely ground ourselves and feel calm and centred.

Confidence Charm Bag

A penny or similar coin noted for luck

Valerian root

Small carnelian

Select a coin for your bag, preferably one you found (I have been known to root through sofa cushions or all of the pockets of jackets hanging by the door to find a coin). A found coin represents luck and unexpected abundance. Valerian root adds relief from stress and anxiety while cheerful carnelian stimulates motivation and creativity, enhancing confidence. Try sewing your own bag for this, using cloth that is your favourite colour or has sentimental value. Maybe you have a favorite old shirt that you can’t wear anymore, or a sentimental textile that can be recycled for this purpose. These personal touches serve as a reminder of who you are and all of the great things of which you are capable.

Healing Charm Bag

Chamomile and/or lavender

A small photo or drawing of the person in need of healing

Small rose quartz

Chamomile is extremely popular as a tea herb, beloved for its soothing qualities. Lavender has a strong, comforting, and evocative fragrance that aids with pain relief and promoting good sleep. Add these to your bag with a piece of rose quartz, a stone of unconditional love and healing, with a strong association to the heart and circulatory system. Take a moment with the photo or drawing and visualize the person as strong and healthy, then slip it into the bag. You may want to change out the herbs for other ones that target the specific illness from which you need relief—mint for stomach upset, turmeric for inflammation, etc.

Protection Charm Bag

Thorns, thistles or prickly plant matter wildcrafted from your environment

Black salt (a complete recipe with instructions for making your own black salt can be found in my book, Earth Magic)

Black tourmaline

Go out for a walk in your environment and seek out plants that have thorns, thistles, bristles, or spikes. Be sure to take some rugged gardening gloves along with you and carefully harvest a small amount of the aggressive, sharp parts of the plant. Look for plants growing along borders and boundary lines and take a moment to appreciate how these fierce guardians grew in these places. Add the plant matter to your bag along with a spoonful of black salt. Drop in the black tourmaline, which will absorb negative energy and protect against psychic attack.

Use Your Bag

Once your bag is complete, you can use it as it, or you may want to ritually charge it by placing it on your altar or in sacred space and focusing your will on it. How you choose to do this is up to you.

Charm bags should be small enough to fit in your pocket, or you may want to wear it on a cord around your neck. You can also place these strategically in relevant spots in your space—a confidence charm bag in your desk at work, or a protection charm bag hanging above your front door, for example. With a little research you can make a charm bag for any purpose.

A charm bag can be held in your hand to help you ground yourself and refocus your magical intent when you need to activate it. If you are not able to physically hold it, try visualizing it: how does it feel or smell? What is its texture? How much does it weigh?

When the Work is Done

When a charm bag has served its purpose and the magic has run its course, you may want to ritually dispose of it. I have a hard time throwing a magical item into a garbage can, so I have a couple tried and true ways to deal with them:

Bury the used charm bag somewhere where it will not be disturbed, and it can decompose back into the earth. For this reason it is very important to use only biodegradable materials.

Collect used charm bags and any other spent magical items in a paper bag. Ensure that these are all things that can safely be burned. Items that release noxious fumes, such as plastic items, should be left out of this. Burn the bag outdoors in a bonfire as part of your Samhain celebrations. My coven has a tradition of doing this, and it is a cathartic part of the ceremony. Candle stubs, matchsticks, poppets, papers—all of the earthly reminders of magic and spell work performed over the past year gets sent into the fire.

I hope you give charm bags a try! To learn more about how to incorporate the element of earth into your magic, please check out my new book Earth Magic.

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Sacred Actions: Doing our Bit in the World

by Dana from The Druid’s Garden.

Sacred action is all about us learning how to align our outer lives with our inner core of nature spirituality and connectedness, and ultimately, help us live more regeneratively and with care.  Sacred action is about doing small, slow things in our own lives to better align with our sacred nature-based spiritual practices and the living earth.  It is through these seemingly mundane changes that we create a better today, a better tomorrow, and a better world.

Sacred refers to things that are connected, meaningful, reverent, or somehow tied to our sense of the spiritual or the divine.  Most of the time, this word is used in relation to things that are not part of mundane life: these are the special moments, ceremonies, or spiritual insights that impact us deeply.  When we experience a sense of the sacred, it fills us with wonder, awe, and purpose.  Of course, what I’m describing often requires cultivation, it requires us to seek out and manifest experiences and mindsets that allow us to experience the sacred.

Action, on the other hand, implies doing something.  It implies that we offer our time, energy, and effort toward some goal.  We get up, we do, and we act.

The idea of “sacred action” is both an extension and synthesis of these two definitions.  The basic idea is that in order to live more earth-honoring and aligned lifestyles, we can engage in everyday actions that move us from the mundane to a sacred space.  We can work to sustainably and regeneratively live in alignment with the living earth through small, purposeful steps. And these steps can be taken regardless of who we are, where we live, how many resources or supports we have, or any other aspects of our identities and lives.  The important thing is not doing a specific thing, but rather working towards this goal.  Thus, sacred action is about each of us working to make small but fundamental shifts in not only the way we think about the world but the impact of our specific actions in it. Sacred Actions focuses on creating more connected, reverent, and holistic lives.

In the five months since my book Sacred Actions: Living the Wheel of the Year through Sustainable Practices has been released, I’ve heard from many people about their response to the work and in how they are engaging in sacred actions in their lives. I wanted to take some time today to reflect on some of these stories and feedback from people about the book, and share some additional insights that have arisen from this conversation.  I also hope that this post can encourage some of my readers to share their own stories about their sacred action in the world. The ultimate goal of sacred action, of course, is to help us live regeneratively and sustainably today so that we can create a better vision for tomorrow.

Sacred Actions and Small, Slow Solutions

One of the big pieces of feedback I’ve gotten from the book is how simple of a concept this seems in practice, and how it has really helped people realize the importance of everyday, mundane, and simple actions towards making large changes. It puts people in a place of personal empowerment, where they can go out and do their own bit in the world, feel good, and spread that sacred action to others!  Another big piece of feedback is how hard it is to do this, given the many challenges we face as a culture.  What is easy for one person may be impossible for another, and so “growing where we are planted” becomes a resonant theme. Thus, the specifics of sacred actions comprise a lot of the book: how you can use everything from solar cooking and hay boxes to save energy to converting lawns to gardens. The book is a wealth of specific practices tied to sacred practices that you can build into your life in powerful and meaningful ways.

And of course, these practices can be joyful, fun, and extremely rewarding.

Sacred Actions, the Physical, and the Metaphysical

So why sacred action?  One of the big reasons this concept is needed has everything to do with the present problems of our age. The human-driven age of the Anthropocene has put our entire globe at risk: every life, every ocean, every forest, every waterway, every life.  Extinctions are increasing, habitats are being destroyed, fires are raging across the globe–and with alarming and increasing frequency.  Human life is not faring much better: mental health, happiness, and physical health are also challenged globally.  It is abundantly clear that modern ways of living and being are not working for humanity, and that we quickly need to pivot to something new. That’s the physical reason that a concept like sacred actions is so resonant here and now.

But, there are also deeply metaphysical reasons for sacred action, both larger scale, and individual.  On the larger scale, humans metaphysically and spiritually have been disconnected from so much: from the living earth; from our own intuition, subconscious, and spirit; and from our traditional human gifts and awareness.  Mass culture, mass media, technology, and so many other pieces of modern culture work hard to disconnect this from our inner ways of spirit.  And because of that disconnection, as a collective, we need to find ways to deeply return to nature and to our own experience.  We need to find ways of reclaiming and honoring those ancient connections–because the spirits of nature need us to.  Because the metaphysical affects the physical, and a huge part of this predicament we are in will be a realigning of spirit.  We can’t get through this predicament without attending to it both physically and metaphysically.

On the personal spiritual side, there are at least two factors.  First, there’s the disconnection we have with being a whole human being in these western cultures, feeling the need to be true to our paths but also protect ourselves.  Because of the stigma of druidry, paganism, and nature spirituality (at least here in the US), many of us find ourselves in the broom closet, so to speak, and long to show some of our real or authentic selves to the world–and be accepted.  But in many places and settings, we cannot express who we really are, the things that deeply resonate with us, or the real work we do in the world. Doing so would risk confrontation, prejudice, or religious intolerance.  But through sacred action, we can make a dedicated effort to living our inner truths in an outer manner.  This is actually one of the best things someone told me about the book–they loved that Sacred Actions allowed them to be a druid in their daily life without worrying about how they would be perceived.

The other piece is, of course, very personal.  It’s about aligning one’s inner principles with outside activity–not just as an activity in identity, but simply because it is necessary to a deepening spiritual path. The more we align our inner and outer principles, the more that inner spiritual work will flow in new and exciting directions. This is another big part of the feedback I’ve gotten on the book so far–people are excited and enthusiastic to practice that alignment and see what rich rewards it offers.

Doing our Bit in the World and Visioning for the Future

I think what a lot of this comes down to for many people is how we can feel good about who we are, how we live, and how we can create a better tomorrow. I’ve written before on this blog about visioning and the importance of visionary work.  If we can start living even a small piece of that vision today, we will be able to bring about a brighter tomorrow. I think a lot of us fear for the future–for our world, for our families, for our young, for this planet and all life on it.  Sacred actions is a small yet powerful way of helping us move forward to a better place, a better vision, and a better future. I hope that it will become one of many tools that

I would love to hear more from you–if you’ve read the book or are working through it, what is resonating? What is meaningful to you?  What questions or thoughts do you have?

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House Cleansing with Archangel Michael and Reiki

Article by Rene Mic

“HOME IS WHERE THE HEART IS.”

Home is a place where we live with our loved ones, our family. No matter where we go but the peace and love we find at our home, cannot be found anywhere else in the world. Hence we must maintain the balance of love, positivity, and happiness every time. But how is it possible to maintain the balance? It is not feasible to stop guests from visiting us and every guest brings some kind of energies either positive or negative. Even our energies clutter the house and lower the vibrations. For cleansing your house from such negative energies here is a simple ritual I am sharing today.

You need: Sage/incense sticks, white tea-light candle, white flowers of your choice (optional).

Preferred day: Sunday (if not possible on Sunday’s you can choose any day as per your convenience).

Step 1: De-clutter, clean and organize your house. Keep windows and doors open to let sunlight and fresh air in. Take a bath and wear clean clothes. (If possible wear white clothes)

Step 2: Find a quiet place in your house where you love to spend your time. It could be your study, terrace or garden.

Step 3: Sit on the ground (don’t use mats or cushions). Relax. Take a few deep breaths and concentrate on your breathing pattern. Meditate till you feel connected with mother earth and your house. Call Archangel Michael and ask him to keep you protected from any kind of negativity or lower energies during the ritual.

House Cleansing with Archangel Michael and Reiki

Step 4: Burn sage/incense sticks. I feel sage is best to do the cleansing (for house or self). In case it is not available you may use some good quality incense sticks made from natural ingredients. Now draw Cho-Ku-Rei (if you are attuned to) in the air on the entrance, ceiling, and floor of your house. Invoke mother Reiki to empower these symbols and intend that all negativity and lower energies are washed away from every part of your house.

Cho Ku Rei – Power Symbol Explained

An in-depth view of the Cho Ku Rei Reiki symbol: meaning, attributes, various ways of using it.

Step 5: Call Archangel Michael and meditate with him for some time. Now ask him to cleanse your house from any kind of negativity, lower energies, curses or evil eye and send them into white light. Visualize a bright white light from above absorbing all negativity and a beam of pink light filling every void and every part of your house. This pink light has brought lots of positivity, love, and happiness.

Step 6: Visualize that Archangel Michael has enveloped your house in his marvelous bright purple light of protection. Say this prayer “Dear Archangel Michael and Mother Reiki, fill my house with your unconditional love, light, and energies. Thank you.”

Step 7: Light a white tea-light and place some white flowers near the entrance of your house. Express your gratitude to Archangel Michael, Mother Reiki, and Divine.

Drink some water at the end. Do some grounding exercises.

Important: Perform this ritual every Sunday for cleansing and raising vibrations of your house.

Bonus Tip: Use essential oil (lavender/sandalwood/rose) in a diffuser while doing meditation.

Note: Always be careful with fire and never leave it unattended.

Love, Light, and Gratitude.

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Getting Ourselves Worked Up

Often, we get anxiety for no reason, as we’re stronger and more capable than we believe ourselves to be.

Our capacity to cope successfully with life’s challenges far outstrips our capacity to feel nervousness. Yet in the weeks, days, and hours leading up to an event that we believe will test our limits, we can become nervous. While we may have previously regarded ourselves as equal to the trials that lie ahead, we reach a point at which they near and our anxiety begins to mount. We then become increasingly worked up, until the moment of truth arrives and we discover that our worry was all for nothing. We are almost always stronger and more capable than we believe ourselves to be. But anxiety is not rational in nature, which means that in most cases we cannot work through it using logic as our only tool. Reason can help us recognize the relative futility of unwarranted worry but, more often than not, we will find more comfort in patterns of thought and activity that redirect our attention to practical or engaging matters.

Most of us find it remarkably difficult to focus on two distinct thoughts or emotions at once, and we can use this natural human limitation to our advantage when trying to stay centered in the period leading up to a potentially tricky experience. When we concentrate on something unrelated to our worry — such as deep breathing, visualizations of success, pleasurable pursuits, or exercise — anxiety dissipates naturally. Meditation is also a useful coping mechanism as it provides us with a means to ground ourselves in the moment. Our guides can aid us by providing us with a focal point wholly outside of our own sphere.

The intense emotional flare-up you experience just before you are set to challenge yourself is often a mixture of both excitement and fear. When you take steps to eliminate the fear, you can more fully enjoy the excitement. Though you may find it difficult to avoid getting worked up, your awareness of the forces acting on your feelings will help you return to your center and accept that few hurdles you will face will be as high as they at first appear.

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Worth

Your worth is not a product of your intelligence, your talent, your looks, or how much you have accomplished.

Though much of who and what we are changes as we journey through life, our inherent worth remains constant. While the term self-worth is often used interchangeably with self-esteem, the two qualities are inherently different. Self-esteem is the measure of how you feel about yourself at a given moment in time. Your worth, however, is not a product of your intelligence, your talent, your looks, your good works, or how much you have accomplished. Rather it is an immeasurable and unchanging manifestation of your eternal and infinite oneness with the universe. It represents the cornerstone of the dual foundations of optimism and self-belief. Your worth cannot be taken from you or damaged by life’s rigors, yet it can easily be forgotten or even actively ignored. By regularly acknowledging your self-worth, you can ensure that you never forget what an important, beloved, and special part of the universe you are.

You are born worthy — your worth is intertwined with your very being. Your concept of your own self-worth is thus reinforced by your actions. Each time you endeavor to appreciate yourself, treat yourself kindly, define your personal boundaries, be proactive in seeing that your needs are met, and broaden your horizons, you express your recognition of your innate value. During those periods when you have lost sight of your worth, you will likely feel mired in depression, insecurity, and a lack of confidence. You’ll pursue a counterfeit worth based on judgment rather than the beauty that resides within. When you feel worthy, however, you will accept yourself without hesitation. It is your worth as an individual who is simultaneously interconnected with all living beings that allows you to be happy, confident, and motivated. Because your conception of your worth is not based on the fulfillment of expectations, you’ll see your mistakes and failures as just another part of life’s journey.

Human beings are very much like drops of water in an endless ocean. Our worth comes from our role as distinct individuals as well as our role as an integral part of something larger than ourselves. Simply awakening to this concept can help you rediscover the copious and awe-inspiring worth within each and every one of us.

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Gilberto Rides Again

by Stephen Halpert

Chapter 22

Something was getting to him. Gilberto closed their bedroom door and embraced Maria. Then he shivered.

“Just us right now. The world is going nuts. First Buzz in a coma, then Sara acting crazy. Now Ramon eating way too much; yawning, looking tired.”

She nodded. And all this since our trip to Greenbush.”

He frowned. “Maybe those women are witches. Maybe they put a hex on Atlas. But if that’s the case, why would they hold up the sale?”

“More gain,” she said. This way they can pull a gigantic lawsuit and keep their company.”

“You think?”

She nodded, instead of conjecturing she began unbuttoning his shirt. “Let me help you out of this stuff. Put on a tee shirt and jeans; or if you’d rather just a robe. Why not just let it all be?”

“Just like that?”

She kissed him. “Why not. It’s not like you’ve got a magic wand, or a magician handy.  All we can do is stay in the present moment and be vigilant.”

He kissed her. “That makes sense. I just feel like I should be doing something more to fix it.”

She smiled and stroked his shoulders. “That’s the way you are. By the way, Joey told me he wants Toni to move in with us.”

Gilberto frowned, looked confused. “But I thought they weren’t…”

They’re not but aside from school and soccer practice, they want to be as inseparable as possible.”

“Sleeping in the same bed?”

She nodded. “Does that bother you?”

Gilberto frowned. “One of these days…”

She kissed him softly. “I wouldn’t think that way. They’ve created  a code of conduct which is admirable. Joey assured me they want to hold up on actual sex until their wedding night.”

He shook his head “Maybe I’m missing something. Two healthy kids need to shake off a lot of energy.”

She nodded. ” I know. They do. Lots of dancing and exercise. They chase after one another. Joey’s teaching her how to play soccer. By the end of the day they’re exhausted.”

He sighed, looked confused. “So you’re letting her move in?”

“Yes, if it’s all right with you. I don’t see a problem.”

She hugged him. You used to be the aggressor. You’re still a cave man and I love it. Maybe just being close and holding hands and talking in soft voices can work for them. Maybe sex is beyond their reach at their ages. Maybe all the pregnancy fears have woken some kids up and they can be in love and still refrain until the wedding night.”

He slid his hand up against her back. “You’re kidding.”

“No Gilberto, this is a new age; this is a time where sex takes a back seat io intimacy. Don’t forget, her sister is pregnant, and I’m sure Toni doesn’t want to go through that herself at this time.”

“Not like us,” he kissed her. 

“We’re considerably older. Maybe for youngsters today that’s sufficient. Add the sex and the possibility of possessiveness, vulnerability, guilt, fear, all that comes into the picture.”

He hugged her and they fell back onto the bed. Maria giggled. “One track mind.  You haven’t changed since Niagara Falls.”

He propped himself up on his elbow. “I’m just me. If it’s good why change it? But I hear you when you say it’s a different world today.” He smiled. “I guess I’m old fashioned and set in my ways.”

She kissed him. “Kissing you always leaves me breathless.”

He grinned. “We fit. Always have, always will.”

“And that’s a good thing.” She stroked his shoulders and ran her fingers down his back. Then she giggled. “You’ve got muscles on your muscles.”

He laughed. “You’ve told me that before. Let’s hear it for good old, old fashioned sex. May it long endure.”

She squirmed closer beside him and they kissed again. “Keeps us young. But today two innocents, a seventeen and fifteen-year-old have a different outlook.”

“I guess,” he still sounded dubious.

“Personally I think at their age intimacy lasts longer and makes for a healthier relationship.”

“Mom,” Joey knocked on their bedroom door.

“Just a minute,” Maria called. “What is it?”  She pulled on her jeans and top. Gilberto slid off the bed and opened the door.

“Mrs. Gomez is here,” he said. “You better come out. I think there’s trouble.”

Gilberto tousled Joey’s hair. “I’m on it.”

Maria went to Rosa Gomez, gently hugged her. She was teary eyed. Her expression was bleak. “I’ve come for my daughter.” Her voice was authoritative.

Joey sat on the couch beside Toni.

“What’s wrong,” Gilberto asked?

“Sophia lost the baby. She was skating at school with friends, tripped and took a bad fall. They called me from the infirmary. Ramon went into Boston to bring her home.”

“Oh dear,” Maria said. “We’re all so sorry.”

Rosa looked hard at Toni. “I want you home with the family.”

Toni clutched Joey’s hand. “I’m sad for Sophia, but I am with my family: my future husband.”

“You’re fifteen years old,” Rosa half shouted. “I want you home.”

“Will Sophia be all right,” Maria asked?”

Rosa nodded and looked at Toni. “I told you Ramon and I accept Joey as your future husband, if that’s what you want.”

Toni looked hard at Rosa. “Then what’s the problem?”

“You’re too young to be in a relationship like this. What if you get pregnant next?”

“She won’t,” Joey said. “We agreed to wait until we’re married. But we want to be together.”

Rosa looked at Gilberto. “If anyone you should know they’re being ridiculous.”

“I trust them,” Gilberto said.: Maria and  I trust and respect their commitment to one another. “

“You’re crazy.” Rosa glared. “Both of you.” She looked at Maria. “I suppose he’s got you believing their carnality is acceptable”

“I don’t see carnality, Rosa. “Infatuation but my sense is that their love is genuine.”

“We want to wait to have kids,” Joey said. “Then as many as Toni wants. Maybe enough  for a soccer team Gilberto can coach.”

(to be continued)

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Kitty Kat’s Korner

How to Read Your Cat’s Body Language

By Rebekah Kuschmider

Nearly every pet owner has wondered what their furry friend is thinking. Animals can’t use human speech to tell us what’s on their minds, but they do have ways of communicating. You can tell a lot about what your pet is feeling by the position of their body.?

Cats are very expressive if you know what to look for in their body language. Everything from the way their tail twitches to the position of their ears is a form of communication. Learn more about how to read a cat’s body language.

Happy and Relaxed

When your cat is relaxed and happy, they might look sleepy or chilled out. Their muscles are loose and their head will be still instead of turning and looking around. A cat who seems relaxed and content might welcome some petting or snuggling.

 Ears. A relaxed cat’s ears will be in a natural posture. They won’t be flattened to the head or angled back. While their ears might twitch in response to a noise, they aren’t swiveling constantly.

 Eyes. When your cat is relaxed, their pupils will be at their typical size. You may see them let their eyes close halfway as if the cat is about to doze off. They won’t seem watchful or intent.

 Body. If your cat is lying down, they might be on their side, angled so their belly is showing. This is a sign that they feel safe. If the cat is sitting up, their back will be straight and their head up.

 Tail. A happy, relaxed cat will let their tail extend and lie flat. The tail will be fairly still, and the fur will lie flat against it.

Playful

When your cat wants to play, they’ll show a lot of energy. They might start stalking you around the house as if encouraging you to join the game. They may start playing with a favorite toy.

 Ears. A playful cat will have their ears up. The ears will point forward, and you might think they look especially alert.

 Eyes. Your cat will watch you or a toy intently while playing. Their pupils will dilate, and they might get a wild look in their eyes.

 Body. Cats like to play stalking games. You may see the cat crouched with their hind end raised as if ready to pounce. Pouncing is another sign that your cat is feeling playful.

 Tail. Some cats will keep their tails down while getting ready to pounce. You might notice their tail raised and flicking around. Occasionally, a young cat or kitten might even chase their own tail.

Scared or Worried

A scared cat might start to resemble a Halloween cat with an arched back and raised tail. Your kitty might find a hiding place and refuse to come out. They may show their teeth or hiss. Your cat may show the following signs of being scared as well.

 Ears. Your cat may flick their ears back and forth rapidly so they can monitor sounds around them. They might draw their ears down so they point sideways or lie flat against their head.

Eyes. A scared cat might look very watchful. Their eyes will be open and their pupils dilated.

 Body. Your cat might arch their back and let their fur stand on end. They may go into a crouched position as if they’re about to run away. You’ll be able to see that they’re tense and ready for a fight-or-flight response.

Tail. A frightened cat might hold their tail up and rigid. They might curl their tail around their body to protect it from being grabbed or bitten.

Other Physical Actions

There are other things cats do to communicate with you, including:

 Rubbing. Cats are known to rub against objects, including people. It’s partly a sign of affection, but it’s also a message to other cats. This is one way of distributing their scent to mark their territory.

 Kneading. Some cats will flex their paws up and down in your lap or on a pillow. This is called kneading. It’s leftover behavior from when they were babies. Kittens knead on their mothers to get milk, and they associate it with comfort.

 Vocalizing. Cats don’t meow at one another. They only meow as a way of getting attention from humans. Your cat might meow if they’re hungry or they want to be petted. Purring is a sign of contentment and relaxation. If you hear your cat yowling or making unfamiliar noises, it might be a sign of illness or pain.?

 Illness. The first sign of illness in cats is often a change in body language. Your cat may lie in a crouched position with their head and ears down. If they’re in pain, they might lie in a way to avoid making it worse. Their eyes might look dull or glassy, and their ears will droop to the sides of their head.

Once you start observing your cat, it should be easy to gauge their mood based on their body language.

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Georgia’s Weekly Horoscope:

Sunday, October 10, 2021

All Signs

“Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others.” (Cicero said this 2000 years ago.) This is timely because it’s Thanksgiving in Canada! The perfect time to remind ourselves why we can be grateful. Let’s look at the cycles of lucky Jupiter, to identify the opportunities we have now and for the rest of the year. Jupiter takes 12 years to go through all the 12 signs, staying in each sign for a year. This year, Jupiter is in Aquarius (with the exception of May, June and July when it slipped into Pisces). Jupiter was last in Aquarius in 2009. The next time it will be in Aquarius is 2033. Jupiter represents expansion, wealth, wisdom and joy. (Some called Jupiter Jove, hence the word jovial.) So, what is your good fortune for this year? Read on MacDuff!

Aries (March 21-April 19)

This year, Jupiter is in your House of Friendships, which is good news because Jupiter is constantly energizing and expanding your relations with friends as well as groups and organizations. This is why you are and will continue to be more active with friends. It’s also why you will benefit friends and they will benefit and help you. (Bonus!) Likewise, in your dealings with organizations, this year, you might take a leadership role or be more active in networking. Jupiter will also fill you with an urge to fulfill your dreams and goals. You might earn more money from a business or career. Oh yeah, we like Jupiter!

Taurus (April 20-May 20)

Once every 12 years, lucky Jupiter crosses the top of your chart, making you look successful in the eyes of others. This is happening this year! Generally, the reason for this is you are enjoying good fortune in your profession and career. Your social status and reputation are shining. You might get a promotion at work. Public recognition will earn you the respect of your peers. You might have a chance to change your field of work to medicine and healing, the law, higher education or travel. Exciting work-related travel will broaden your world. The key to success is to be honest and generous. Enjoy your dazzling limelight this year!

Gemini (May 21-June 20)

Be grateful that you can expand your world through travel and chance to learn about different cultures and people with diverse backgrounds. You will learn about the power of advertising and marketing and the use of multimedia. Your work or your business might benefit through foreign interests and other cultures. Educational and travel opportunities will come your way. This year you are learning real and useful information. Writing will flow more easily and authors will get favourable feedback. You are blessed with a smorgasbord of new ideas, opportunities to travel and personal development through human potential movements. Ah yes, your cup is full.

Cancer (June 21-July 22)

This year Jupiter is making it easy for you to get help and assistance from others. For example, it’s a strong time to borrow money or get a loan or a mortgage because doors will open for you. You might get benefits through taxes, shared resources, inheritances and jointly-held property. These windfalls could lead to a new home or a new car – something that makes you happy. In turn, you will be in a better position to help loved ones. Because these benefits ease tension, and also because success is sexy, many of you will enjoy a more passionate sex life. (Wow.) Who knew?

Leo (July 23-Aug. 22)

This year, Jupiter is opposite your sign – something that happens only once every 12 years. This boosts your ability to make a great impression on your public this year. You will win their approval! You will also enjoy happier relations with spouses, partners and close friends. Financial benefits might come to you through partnerships. (Jupiter is wealth.) This is a classic time for a strong mutual support between you and a partner – hence, a strong mutual appreciation of each other. Good publicity and increased popularity are also likely. (Good year to sign contracts.) You will be grateful for the benefits of your close relationships and what a help they are to you.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22)

The benefits you’re receiving this year from Jupiter are practical and meaningful. For starters, this year you can improve your health. This could happen in a variety of ways but the end result will be a positive one. During this year, you can also improve your job. You can improve your existing job, or get a better job. Your nasty boss will be transferred to Timbuktu. Note: If you are unhappy in your job – be confident that you can get a better job because this is your best chance in over a decade to do so. For some, this might sound minor but it isn’t – you will receive rewarding enjoyment through pets this year. This can be precious and special. Use these blessings to your advantage!

Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22)

This year Jupiter has a twofold influence that is slightly contradictory. It makes this year flow easily for you; and promote your health and feelings of well-being. It’s a good year for financial matters (Jupiter is wealth); and it promotes travel! However, this year, Jupiter is sitting in the most playful part of your chart, thereby encouraging your creative self-expression. That’s why you have the courage to be who you are without fear or apology. Relations with kids will be excellent and rewarding. It’s a fabulous year for a vacation. It’s a great year for romance. It’s also a year that is rich in opportunities for personal growth and increased wisdom. You really are a winner!

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21)

This year, Jupiter will give tremendous support and rewards to everything related to your home, family and personal life. You will find ways to make where you live more attractive. You might redecorate or renovate. Some of you will rent something different that is better or preferable. Others will buy something that you like better. Whatever the case, you will improve your living arrangement this year – no question. And you will be happier where you live! In the same way, relationships with family members will improve and everyone will be more generous to each other. You will welcome this chance to put down roots and feel a source of support and comfort in your life. Nicely done!

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 21)

Lucky Jupiter is your ruler, which is why you’re an optimist. Because Jupiter rules foreign countries, you are also the traveller of the zodiac. The placement of Jupiter this year is critical because more than any other sign, you need physical activity (especially outdoors) and a positive attitude. These are survival issues for you. You can’t be cooped up! You can’t be discouraged! Fortunately, lucky Jupiter is going through the part of your house that affects your everyday activity and your daily outlook on life. This boots your positive thinking – every day! It increases your daily contacts with others. It brings travel opportunities and encourages you to make big plans! (Lucky you.)

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 19)

Your relationship with Jupiter this year is most fortunate! Jupiter is the planet associated with wealth, expansion and increase; and this year, Jupiter is sitting in your House of Money! In the words of Eric Idle, “Say no more!” This is your year to get richer! You might get a raise. You might get a better paying job. You might inherit. Something will happen that makes you feel richer. (You might even buy something special that makes you feel richer.) Lady Luck is with you this year and abundance will rain on you! Of course, wealth is relative. Money and stuff are wealth. Spending less than you earn is wealth. Health is wealth. Time is wealth. A loving relationship is wealth. Wealth is having few wants.

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 18)

This year, Jupiter is in your sign. The last time this happened was 2009; the next time it will occur will be 2033. This is a fortunate year for you because Jupiter is expanding your world and helping you to develop wisdom, courage and self-confidence. New ideas will abound! Your priorities will shift. This year is the beginning a new 12-year cycle of personal growth. (Time to let out another pleat in the shower curtain?) Seriously, this is major! People and resources will be attracted to you. Take advantage of this! It’s time to give up childish prejudices and get in touch with deeper dimensions and start to work toward being the best that you can be. Why be less? Count your blessings!

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20)

This year, lucky Jupiter is hiding in your chart to make its debut in your sign in 2022. It briefly visited Pisces in May, June and July this year but that was just a dress rehearsal. Jupiter is associated with expansion, wisdom, belief systems, higher education, publishing, jurisprudence and whatever it is that binds societies together. Meanwhile, the place where it is hiding in your chart is all about your subconscious and your spirituality. This year you are on a quest to discover what is meaningful in your life. You will receive recognition next year. This year is time to reflect. Act on your urge to help others by volunteering or helping daily contacts. Therapy and spiritual healing can be profound.

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Weekly Horoscopes Beginning Sunday, 10 October 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:

As a fast-paced and often impatient Aries, you’ve long known that certain individuals can’t, and don’t care about, getting things done swiftly. That rarely matters; but this week, it does. If you’re worried others won’t keep up the pace, deal with whatever it is yourself. This will ensure the timing is right and, as important, prevent pointless clashes about who’s responsible for what and, especially, when.

Acting on the spur of the moment will come naturally to you. You will handle a variety of stimulating situations quickly and effectively and with your intuition being at high levels, you are likely to make some good moves. In addition to all of this, you could find yourself in the right place at the right time to capitalise on a lucky new opportunity. Just brilliant. Make the most of this positive trend.

As of Monday, Saturn is no longer retrograde. This likely marks a defining moment. After then, and even within groups and associations and amongst working colleagues who have been challenged to work together as a team, momentum should increase. That might in part be thanks to one of your acute observations. As you know, yours is one of the Fire signs indicating a gift for being incisive and doing things quickly. Yes, sometimes that results in you using a sharp tongue when diplomacy might work better. At least in the first half of this week that trait should prove helpful. By Thursday it may be necessary to give way to someone who would like to adopt your idea as theirs. It might be a good tactical move to let them do this. In so doing, they’re also accepting responsibility which, by the end of the month would take weight off your shoulders.

Taurus

Personal theme: I have!!

Earth & fixed sign: April 20 — May 20

Your horoscope for this week:

You’re juggling practical and financial matters. The problem? You’re sharing is with certain individuals who simply don’t understand about the wise use of time, money or even ideas. Thus far, your efforts to explain what’s best have been ignored. The secret? Once Mercury’s retrograde cycle ends, on the 18th, you’ll need to rethink everything anyway. For now, make plans, but regard them as tentative.

A research project will turn out to be interesting and intriguing. There’ll be a lot of interesting stuff in the archives. A relative will trust you with a secret and you will feel honoured they have chosen you as the one to confide in. A health question may have to be resolved later in the week. Don’t ignore this as not being important. In all matters, a stitch in time will save nine.

Saturn stations at the apex of your solar chart on Monday – which could prove a defining moment. True, neither Mercury nor Jupiter leave their retrograde status until next week, which might result in certain plans being held up. Yet progress should be made and interestingly, and in an area which could be regarded as your USP. Fact is that by mid-week an idea of yours may have captivated a larger audience. It’s interesting that you will likely need to give others time to catch up when normally it’s the other way around. Given a few days to assimilate and think through some of your plans, not only might they be willing to alter direction, they might also be ready to give you the support you’ve needed in recent weeks and which has been so slow to come.

Gemini

Personal theme: I think!!

Air sign: May 21 — June 20

Your horoscope for this week:

If you’re into astrology, you’ll already be aware your ruler Mercury is retrograde, and with it accenting your links with those closest, personally and out in the world, you’re wrestling with confusion. Others are in a hurry to settle all such matters. Agree they’re being wise, then do and say nothing. Why? On the 18th, Mercury resumes forward motion, and many of those dramas will untangle themselves.

Some challenging trends will keep you occupied and busy early on. It can feel restricting when demands from your family and friends hamper your own activities. Even so, you’ve never found it hard to perform two tasks at once and you will cope admirably. Your success in a number of areas will fire your enthusiasm and despite having less time than planned for personal aims, you will make pleasing progress towards a special goal.

Take a deep breath and assess your qualifications. What needs to be improved? As Saturn arrives at its direct station on Monday all eyes could be on you and what you have to give and what you’ve learnt in recent times. This might also be the moment when a purchase or sale is given greater thought. Recall that Venus is now moving through your opposite sign. It could easily seem as though others have all the balls in their court. It’s as likely that you hold the key – perhaps literally. This should prove a week of sharp negotiation. The sharpness could come early in the week to be softened later with careful bargaining. Throughout all this, the issue of presentation might prove a challenge. It’s likely that a Virgo or Capricorn has ideas as to how you could do things better. The question is ‘is there advice appropriate and do you want to listen?’

Cancer

Personal theme: I feel!!

Water & cardinal sign: June 21 — July 22

Your horoscope for this week:

For ages you’ve been aware it’s time to rethink your priorities, including elements of your lifestyle and activities out in the world. While you’ve made a few changes, the ideas you come up with or hear about from others don’t just constitute a turning point, they could be timely breakthroughs. Say yes now, even if it’s tentative, and think about the details later.

You had made careful plans so it will come as some surprise when these don’t go as expected. It might seem as if you’re being given a cosmic test of some sort. Persevere and you will find a way to overcome stumbling blocks. Jobs you usually find easy could hit a few snags but don’t let this get you down. You will want to prove to yourself and others you can cope with difficulties and you will stay calm under pressure.

Think. Is it possible that others are using you as a dumping ground for their difficulties? Yes, that could be true at any time. It does appear though that in the build-up to the right-angle aspect between Pluto and your Ennis that occurred last weekend, that you were likely given far more to handle than was reasonable. Is perhaps time now for you to consider carefully how this has sapped your energy and yes, to some extent sabotage career progress. You might consider before the full Moon on 20th, taking action to make clear to certain individuals that you have boundaries. It might do them no harm to learn that you to have a life!! However, enthralling the stories are that are shared with you toward the end of the week, think twice before getting involved. You don’t have to be the powerbroker in someone else’s career move unless you really want that role. Rather more important, and in the light of that rare conjunction of the Sun and Mars at the base of your solar chart last week and which last occurred in 2006, is to do something about recreating and building nest security.

Leo

Personal theme: I will!!

Fire & fixed sign: July 23 — August 22

Your horoscope for this week:

As a fire sign, you benefit from a quick mind. However, the recent twists and turns are driving you crazy. The trick? Regard each day as just one step in an adventure that will continue to unfold until the end of the month. Make arrangements and plans, just ensure they’re regarded as tentative. Bizarrely, what you learn and who you meet during this period could transform everything.

You just want to get out and about and to enjoy any chance you get to mix with friends. You’re so high on the local popularity stakes that there will be many invitations coming your way and you won’t know which ones to accept and which to discard. You’re wondering how you are going to complete an important job in time when the deadline given seems unrealistic. Don’t worry you will get through a lot in a short space of time.

Saturn stations in your opposite sign on Monday. Don’t be surprised if others issue an ultimatum. The fact that both Mercury and Jupiter are still retrograde suggests that they will give you time to come to a decision – though they might want to know where they stand by the Full Moon on October 20. This then could be a delicate time. Recall that yours is one of the Fixed signs of the zodiac and that altering direction is not easy for you. You may know though, that one particular way of living and working has come to an end. The end process may be difficult but essential. The fact that you’ve now reached that critical stage, should help focus your mind as to what it is you really want to do next. You won’t be the only sign to benefit from talking to a career counsellor. Though it may not be possible to arrange that for this week, you could perhaps set those wheels in motion: doing so with the assistance of someone who’s perhaps worked in other cultures and cities and whose experience is now super helpful.

Virgo

Personal theme: I analyse!!

Earth sign: August 23 — September 22

Your horoscope for this week:

Over the past month or so, you made plans and promises to others. However, with your ruler Mercury retrograde until the 18th, and triggering confusion, changes have been as frequent as they’ve been frustrating. The trick? Simply regard plans, whether practical or involving others, as a potentially instructive experiment. Take that approach, and instead of worrying, you’ll actually enjoy every twist and turn.

You have so much admiration for a friend or colleague who has been through many challenges. There’s nothing wrong with showing your appreciation and how proud you are of their accomplishments. Sometimes it doesn’t show but some people do appreciate words of praise and encouragement. A workplace issue that seems to be ignored is upsetting you. In the end this will be dealt with but not in the way you expected.

For the last few years, Neptune has been making slow, slow passage through your opposite sign. It might seem as though you’ve had to give, give, give. Involvement with those who are less than 100% -for whatever reason has likely increased; but amidst all this, you might also have discovered talents you didn’t know you had. As Saturn arrives at its station on Monday more than one person could comment on just how brilliantly you’ve coped with a work situation that’s developed since the start of the year. It won’t be surprising if you’re asked to take this to another level. True, you might ask for time to think this through. Fact is, that especially since your birthday, you’ve shown grit and determination that few might have imagined. Though Mercury is still retrograde, it’s likely that you are gathering information and that by the time that Mercury turns direct (the night before the full Moon on the 20th), that you’ll have facts ready to make a managerial move.

Libra

Personal theme: I balance!!

Air & cardinal sign: September 23 — October 22

Your horoscope for this week:

Between the recent Libra New Moon and confusion in a range of situations and settings, you’re struggling with lots of questions and very few answers. Actually, that’s exactly what to expect now and until next week. Knowing that, focus on exploring your options and, if you must make decisions, just ensure they’re flexible. Take that approach and, to your amazement, the rest will be easy.

Patience will be needed in abundance. You may have to show masses of quiet understanding towards those you care about most. One person in particular will make comments or behave in a way that has you slightly confused. Diplomacy is key. Also, remember to laugh in the face of your troubles and they will soon disappear. An opportunity will be too good to miss. It will feel unreal. You get the chance to make up for something you have missed the most during the pandemic.

Mercury is still retrograde in your sign and there is still more thinking for you to do. Yet as of Monday, Saturn moves direct in the research and development department of your solar chart. This might be the optimum time to do consumer testing and market research. Even early results might amaze you. It’s likely that you really are on the right track and that a plan that’s been incubating since the start of this year will increase in momentum, so that by the Full moon on 20th you can’t be held back any longer. Interestingly, you may feel in the second half of the week as though you have a ‘hotline to the gods’ when you’re asked to take on a task for which you are eminently suited. Recall, one of the Libra quests is to experiment and develop proficiency in diplomacy. By the end of this week, you could pass that test with flying colours but yes, in the process need to accept extra responsibility.

Scorpio & Ophiuchus

Personal theme: I desire!!

Water & fixed signs: October 23 — November 21

Your horoscope for this week:

Reorganising unsettled elements of your life has been challenging, but you’ve managed to put things in order. While that was a relief, the actual circumstances you’re dealing with are changing. Because of that, you must rethink things. True, initially, you won’t be happy about it. However, within days you’ll realise how dramatically circumstances have shifted and why your own priorities need a rethink as well.

Your thoughts are on serious issues including what’s going on in your personal life. Family arrangements are unusual and you aren’t sure whether or not you approve of it all. If there is anything you aren’t happy with, it will be important to voice your concerns before it’s too late. You might feel forced to reconsider your priorities and end some commitments. Life will feel different due to the many changes that are going on.

As of Monday, Saturn is in forward motion from the base of your solar chart. Though obviously much depends on your personal chart, you could at least view this as being put under starters orders placing a cornerstone for the next 30 years. True, both Mercury and Jupiter are still retrograde and you likely won’t feel to have set off until the Full Moon on 20th. There should though, be the feeling of setting in motion ideas that have been incubating now for many months. True you might also need to negotiate other people’s apparently crazy announcements. You might reasonably wonder if they’ve thought through their gameplan. Expect your voice to be sought in the second half of the week and also, perhaps to be asked to join a team preparing a project due to be launched either late January or early February 2022. The fact that these individuals so clearly acknowledge your many talents should result in you closing the week on a high.

Sagittarius

Personal theme: I see!!

Fire sign: November 22 — December 21

Your horoscope for this week:

On occasion, thrilling ideas, offers or opportunities appear from nowhere. These are so exciting you can hardly believe it. However, you’ve checked, and they’re for real. The problem? Certain well-meaning individuals aren’t just worried, they’re convinced something’s wrong, they’re driving you crazy. The trick? Firmly sidestep their misplaced concerns. Next, focus on what’s arisen; and be flexible. Each day will bring yet more thrilling events.

You’re popular in the workplace and on the social scene. You have a reputation for being warm hearted, good fun and generous. That’s why everyone, even strangers, seem to know your name. Don’t be surprised if you are invited to join a local club. It’s also a time when you will be pouring cash into a home improvement program. Until you start seeing the results you will just have to hope it’s going to be worth it.

Anticipate a mood shift. As of Monday, Saturn is in direct motion. It’s probable that many people will arrive at conclusions and declare fresh methods of working. This will likely shake up a team. Note that Mercury is still retrograde and that what is proposed might still need to come under the ‘temporary’ heading. Trial and error are the keywords this week. Note however, that by next weekend the Sun will have made fabulous aspect to your ruling planet, Jupiter. With Venus now moving through your sign, it won’t be surprising of all eyes are on you and what you can yet achieve. A recurrent issue has been health and the welfare of those close to you. Anticipate altered direction here too – and possibly discussions with a therapist who proposes a regime that would pay dividends. Note too, that before next weekend the issue of presentation, style and colour will likely also need to be addressed.

Capricorn

Personal theme: I use!!

Earth & cardinal sign: December 22 — January 19

Your horoscope for this week:

You know exactly what your objectives are and how to make things happen; and, better yet, your efforts are paying off. The problem? Those whose intentions are good but lack knowledge. Still, they’re offering you advice. While, ordinarily, as a rational Capricorn, you’d talk things through. That will only make things worse. The solution? It’s easy. Avoid the individuals in question, at least for now.

A younger relative will hint they need a loan. Find out why before you agree to give them any money. A job offer will pave the way for you to embark on a more rewarding way of life. You might wonder why you took so long about making some much needed changes. At home and in the workplace, efficiency is the name of the game. Be ready to make a few readjustments as they are needed until new routines are established.

On Monday, your ruling planet, Saturn, arrives at its direct station. You might then have much clearer and better idea of what can still be achieved before your birthday. Note that Mercury is still retrograde and that there are others you might need to convince. You should make headway in the second half of the week as the Sun approaches a fabulous aspect with Jupiter. Assuming that you really do know what, you’re talking about (likely!) and have the required expertise, you could prompt a pause in thinking. True, others might need next weekend to consider your proposal, but the fact that they’re taking that time should be to your benefit. Crucially, how you present facts, and your ability to listen to proposals will likely require you to focus on more detail than usual. It might also be useful to discuss options with a career counsellor and/or to rehearse before you make presentations.

Aquarius

Personal theme: I know!!

Air & fixed sign: January 20 — February 18

Your horoscope for this week:

Most Aquarians aren’t just interested in others, their activities and their objectives, offering ideas or support comes naturally. Now, however, you’re urged to back off from even the simplest discussions of this nature. Why? Not only is the world around you changing, so are your priorities, more than you could imagine possible, at least now. The more flexible your thinking, and your circumstances, the better.

A friend needs a helping hand but when you hear what they are trying to do, you might advise them to approach a professional. What you will be happy to offer whenever anyone needs it is a sympathetic ear. Unexpected expenses will nudge you to reconsider plans of a long-term nature especially with regard to money. Occasionally disappointments can lead to wonderful transformations. This might well be one of those times.

Your ruling planet, Saturn arrives at its station on Monday and a decision likely has to be made. Look forward to the end of the week when the Sun makes beautiful aspect to Jupiter travelling through your sign as there may be something to celebrate by the weekend. True, Mercury is still retrograde and there may be a few hills (but not mountains) to climb. You perhaps need to go back and revisit a way of thinking and working. It’s not easy being born under one of the Fixed signs as altering direction is a challenge. Yet in 2021, with your two ruling planets Saturn and Uranus, at right angle to one another that’s perhaps inevitable. It might even be argued that the fact that it’s taking so long to arrive at a conclusion will also mean that you’ve checked out all possible avenues. Don’t underestimate your thirst for learning. It may now be paramount for you to acquire greater expertise. If there is a major difficulty, it’s that whilst you may know exactly what it is you want to do and achieve, you could yet be held back by obligations to younger people or siblings.

Pisces

Personal theme: I believe!!

Water sign: February 19 — March 20

Your horoscope for this week:

Even if you aren’t especially into astrology, you’ll have noticed the confusion triggered by Mercury, the ideas planet, being retrograde in the heavens. While this cycle ends on the 18th, for now you’re urged to regard even simple plans or commitments as an experiment, something to learn from, even if it doesn’t last. That means you’ll be both flexible and ready for unexpected twists and turns.

You somehow complete a complicated task in half the time anticipated. This is certain to attract approval and praise from high up. Spend a little time, this week, thinking about your lifestyle. Is there any room for improvement? How can you live a little healthier? A get together later in the week will go better than expected. Most people will be on your wavelength and conversations will be relaxed and interesting.

If you’ve felt restricted, held back and unable to move forward, then anticipate altered pace from Monday when Saturn turns direct. True, both Mercury, and your ruling planet, Jupiter, are still retrograde but not for much longer. This should be viewed as preparation time. There are questions for you to ask. The expertise of others will be required – particularly if that involves health issues. If it’s not you who needs extra assistance, then it could be someone close (a neighbour or colleague) who requires that extra help. Whilst this not take many minutes of your time, it could introduce you to a group who may be as supportive of your needs. One of Pisces’ great gifts is the ability to see multiple perspectives. That particular trait could be much in demand especially when your input on a design project should make all the difference and result in success that brings you rave reviews.

~CelestialPrognostication

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Every Day is Earth Day! Love Your Mother!

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Goddess Blessings!

Live Well – Laugh Often – Love Much

High Priestess Training

http://GoddessSchool.com

Healing Arts and Pagan Studies

http://Goddessschool.com/Paganstudies/index.html

http://Goddessschool.com/Paganstudies/healingarts.html

The GoddessSchool ~ http://GoddessSchool.com

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!

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

By GrannyMoon Posted in Pagan

GrannyMoons Weekly Feast: 3 Oct 2021

From the Halloween Oracle

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:

Waning Moon Magick: From three-and-a-half to ten-and-a-half days after the full moon. From the Full Moon to the New is a time for study, meditation, and magic designed to banish harmful energies and habits.

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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October Moons

10/6 New Moon in Libra
10/6 Pluto Direct
10/7 Venus enters Sagittarius
10/10 Saturn Direct

Herb of the Year for 2021: Parsley (Petroselinum crispum, named by the International Herb Association.

Celtic Month -September 30 To October 27 – Ivy

Goddess of the Month ~ Hecate

SEP. 26 – Oct 5: Navaratri, Hindu Festival of the Great Goddess – Huge holiday in India when Goddess destroys evil and restores cosmic order
Mesopotamian Day of the Sheepfolds: Sacrifice to Goat God Azazel.

OCT. 4: Roman Jejunium Cereris: Fast Day for Ceres

OCT. 9-11: Feast of Divine Wisdom – Source of all knowledge, honoring God-Goddess as Odin-Frigg (Norse); and Goddess as Sophia/Wisdom (Christian), Truth/Maat (Egyptian), Metis (Greek), Sarasvati (Hindu), & Manat (Arabic-Sufi).

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

03: Face to Face Class: 1–3:00 ~ WitchCrafting
10: Face to Face Class: 1–3:00 ~ The Herbal Cauldron
17: 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 membersvcomplete each level.

Level I – Initiate of the Sisters of the Burning Branch – White cord
Level II – Adept of the 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!

Treat headaches with herbs. You’re reading, driving, working, cooking—and whoomf! a headache happens. For ordinary headaches caused by the stresses and strains of daily life, a calming cup of herbal tea may be all you need to restore your equilibrium. Use these dried headache herbs, brewed with 1 cup boiling water and sweetened with honey:

Lavender, lemon balm, meadowsweet, ½ teaspoon each
Sage, rosemary, mint, ½ teaspoon each
Rosemary, marjoram, peppermint, ½ teaspoon each
A cool lavender compress for the temples and a quiet rest in a dark room may also give you the relief you need.

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 to 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 the entire Healing Arts Course (1-3)for $150.00, 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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The Halloween Oracle Message for the Week

Black Cat

Sleek and Black & Lantern-Eyed

Crosses your path with a hiss

Good luck and fortune

Sweep by with a kiss

Black cats are unfortunately associated with the darker aspects of the occult. But know that you will be luckier if one crosses your path.

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Stacy Adams ~Coventry Creations

October 4, 2021 – October 10, 2021

The week starts with an excellent day to check things off your to-do list. Then, on Tuesday, we begin preparing for the New Moon as the Moon moves into airy Libra.

Midweek, you are going to seek excitement and adventure out of your relationships, it would be an excellent time to take a trip or at least get away from the real world – if even for just a little while.

Weekend, stay on guard because the energy is volatile. You will need to put a watch on your tongue because it may pop off at the least opportune time leading to potential arguments and unnecessary conflict. You will notice that your mood will be directly connected to the level of your happiness. If you are not happy, begin to create a plan of change that will push you in the right direction.

Recommended: Tranquility (Affirmation), Happiness (Blessed Herbal), Keep Calm and Lavender On (Wicked Good Spray)

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

Witch’s Brew, the biggest Halloween baddies, are back on your shelf

You have been waiting for Halloween magic all year and know who to trust for making authentic magical candles that bring the zing to your witchy spells. The Witch’s Brew candles have been a standard for the biggest, baddest Halloween magic for 20 years, but you already knew that.

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New Moon October 06, 2021, in Libra

It’s time to wake up, smell the pumpkin spice, and get into the Start of the Magical Season spirit — because the astrology of October 2021 is serving up all kinds of cosmic tricks and treats. Retrogrades are raging, energies are shifting, and fall’s first New Moon is bringing us important opportunities to cleanse and reset. Mark your calendars because ALL zodiac signs will feel the effects of October’s astrological happenings.

On this day, the Moon will join the Sun, and also Mercury and Mars – who are all stewing away in Libra. Since the Moon rules our inner selves and the Sun rules our outward personality, expect to feel the effects of Libra on both sides of yourself. Likewise, with Mars, the planet of aggression and passion, and Mercury, the messenger planet, you should also feel Libra influencing your passionate emotions and also your communications. And with Mercury currently in retrograde, this celestial moment makes for an unusual astrological combination.

If the first week of October feels like trudging through quicksand, you can blame the planets — because we’re kicking off the month at the height of retrograde season 2021. With a whopping six planetary backspin’s in full swing simultaneously (including the final Mercury retrograde of the year), it may feel difficult to move forward on our plans or get a clear picture of our future.

However, we’ll be able to breathe a sigh of relief on Oct. 6, as Pluto retrograde ends on the same day as the auspicious new moon in Libra — which collectively brings the feeling of a fresh start. Jupiter and Mercury both follow suit on Oct. 18, at which point communication, thinking, and logistical matters should start running much more smoothly.

Libra energy is all about finding balance, seeking the middle ground, and seeing things from both sides. Libra has the gift of being able to balance the scales so that everyone feels they are getting their fair share

With this New Moon, we enter the land of Death. The death of the year begins now, as the darkness grows even deeper in the weeks before the Light’s return at Winter Solstice. Our western culture has made death something to be feared, and so we do not welcome it in any form. But Native peoples remember that Death is only the other face of Life. If we are strong enough to face our deaths, then we will get through the initiation of death and rebirth.

As the Wheel of the Year turns to this holy season of Death, we have to honor the cycle of life and allow death in the door. We will need to release not only our personal fear of death but also our cultural one. We will have to let go of some habits that no longer serve our greater good. Addictions, fears, anger, betrayals — they taught us something our souls needed to learn. Now at this New Moon, let go of the emotions that hold us in death and see how “your mouth [will close] here and immediately open with a shout of joy there’. It’s only when we fear death that we don’t believe in “some unimagined beauty’ and the possibility of new life.

Time to Plant Your Intentions!

The new moon is a time of initiation and new beginnings. It is the time to plant a seed of what you want to grow in your life. Making a wish, an intention, a promise, or a vow is a common custom. It is believed that as the moon grows, that your intention or goal will too usually by the time the moon completes its cycle and returns full circle to new again.

For example farmers knew this, so they started to plan their harvests and seeding around the moon cycles. These farmers noticed through time passing that the seeds that took the best were seeded during the new moon. The new moon is also a time of seeding ideas and intentions. These seeded ideas will then sprout with the coming full moon just as the seed lie waiting in darkness to break forth into the light to bring fruit, so should you allow the gestation and creation of such idea to bring about physical results.

Set your New Moon Intentions in Motion!

New Moon Magic: Make a fresh start, begin a project, initiate a new relationship, start a new routine.

Create a ritual: Set an intention

Write down your wishes, dreams, and desires.

Light a white/silver candle; imagine the new moving toward you in joyful, powerful ways.

Breath: Spend a few moments breathing in the energy of this new reality each day, making it more and more tangible.

This is a time of new beginnings!

Die to the old to begin again!

Use this energy to discover what has been holding you back.

Plant seeds of manifestation.

Harness the energy of all things of beauty

Work this for one moon cycle and re-access and energize on the next new moon if needed.

The New Moon is a time of new beginnings, hope, faith and optimism. It is an important night energy wise as it sets the pace for the entire lunar cycle. Get a New Moon Spiritual Reading to check in and see how things are going in your life. Find out what energy this New Moon will bring you. Ask your guides what you should be working with this lunar cycle and what you should let go. Readings are available NOW until October 09, 2021.  Available Now!  Learn More Here.

I also have a Special Halloween Journey Reading which is available NOW. On your journey you will meet a ghost from your past, cleanse something from your life in a bonfire, meet one of your guides, and receive a bag of treats on a gypsy caravan.  Click Here To Learn More

New Moon Blessings,

Cherokee Billie

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Llewellyn’s Spell A Day

Calling the Witch Ancestors

OCTOBER 03, 2021 BY MICHAEL FURIE

While modern jack-o’-lanterns are made from pumpkins, they were originally made from hollowed out turnips. This spell honors the past and builds strength for the future.

Gather these items:

* 1 turnip

* 1 black candle

* 1 mini pumpkin

* 1 white candle

* Incense (equal parts anise, coriander, and cardamom) and a censer

On a table, place the turnip to the left, with the black candle behind it. Place the pumpkin to the right, with the white candle behind it and the censer (unlit) between the candles. Think of the witches of the past who paved the way for our modern practice. Focus on asking them for guidance and help in advancing your craft. Safely light the black candle, then the white candle and incense, saying:

To build a bond and call

on your power, hidden

company of witches past.

Grant me guidance and

strength this hour, I call those

before, this spell I cast.

For highest good, joyous and

free, as I will, so mote it be!

Snuff out the candles and incense. Use the turnip and pumpkin as decorations to remind you of ancestor magic.

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Come Back to Me Spell

OCTOBER 02, 2021 BY JAMES KAMBOS

If you’ve misplaced something, this spell will help you find it. You’ll need a plain sheet of white paper, a pen, and a pink piece of ribbon (or yarn) about three feet long.

Write the name of the lost item on the paper. You may also draw a picture of it. Roll the paper up and tie one end of the ribbon around the paper. Now sit at a table holding the loose end of the ribbon in your hand. The paper should be across the table from you. Ground and center. Softly say three times:

Come back to me.

Pull the paper toward you as you say this. Keep the ribbon attached to the paper, and lay the ribbon and paper on your altar. Don’t think about it again. Later you’ll get a feeling where the item is. You’ll find it.

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Attuning to Water

OCTOBER 01, 2021 BY THORN MOONEY

Now that we’re past the autumn equinox, the shortening of the days is palpable. Even if your region doesn’t see snow, the weather is likely cooler and rainier, and you may be noticing that the sun sets earlier, bringing lengthening periods of darkness. In many Western magical traditions, the autumn corresponds to the element of water, which is associated with mystery, depth, intuition, and feeling.

To make the most of the deepening, contemplative season, attune to the element of water. Sit in a cool bath or even a natural body of water, or simply place your hands in a full basin. Allow the water to move around you, filling every curve and crevice. Think about how the water moves and how it changes to reflect whatever contains it. Say:

Powers of water, lend me your gifts

of compassion, intuition, and change.

Be with me this day. So mote it be.

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Harvest Squash Bake

SEPTEMBER 30, 2021 BY NAJAH LIGHTFOOT

It’s squash season! Zucchini and yellow squash are overflowing in grocery stores and farmers’ markets. Here is a simple recipe to enjoy the abundance of squash season.

You will need:

* 3 yellow squash

* 3 zucchini

* 1 red bell pepper

* 1 tomato

* 1 tablespoon olive oil

* Seasonings of your choice (I like to use Italian seasoning, celery seed, pepper, and sea salt.)

Heat an oven to 350 degrees F.

While the oven is heating, slice all the vegetables. Place them in a bowl and add the olive oil and the seasonings. Arrange the vegetables in a glass baking dish. Bake for one hour.

For a complete meal, add a green salad and some crusty bread. Enjoy the abundance of the season and give thanks to Mother Earth for beautiful, bountiful squash!

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Beans of Success

SEPTEMBER 29, 2021 BY ELIZABETH BARRETTE

National Coffee Day. Take time to celebrate this beverage of the gods. Coffee is an entheogen, opening connections to the divine. You may have heard it personified as the Goddess Caffeina. It expands awareness, quickens thought, and hones focus. It also energizes the body. Coffee enables people to do many things that would be much harder without it. For this reason, it corresponds with success.

For this spell you will need a bag of coffee beans or ground coffee, whichever you prefer. (A plastic pod won’t work, as plastic tends to insulate against magic.) Open the bag and smell the beans. Concentrate on how even the smell of coffee helps you wake up and focus. Then say:

Caffeina, Goddess of Coffee, bless

these beans with the power of

success. When I drink of your brew,

may I become alert and capable.

Visualize the energy in the beans. Then seal the bag and brew a cup whenever you need to boost your success.

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Coconut Blessing

SEPTEMBER 28, 2021 BY ESTHA MCNEVIN

Lighting lamps and finding ways to battle back the shadow within us are common themes at this time of year. Ready your home for autumn gatherings by making coconut lanterns. Simply buy one or more coconuts and sit in a sacred space. Think of a prayer for a selfless and positive purpose. As you do so, pierce and drain the coconut using a hammer and a thick nail, drinking the juice to help fill you with the strength and courage to serve others this season.

Use the hammer to carefully split the coconut, then bake it in the oven at 300 degrees F. for one hour or until the meat pulls away from the shell. Grind or grate the fruit to make sweets and snacks or to enjoy over buttered popcorn. Place tealight candles, marigolds, and party charms or candies inside the shells, and leave these on the table or an altar to create a welcoming and warm home for the holiday season ahead.

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Pause and Give Thanks

SEPTEMBER 27, 2021 BY DALLAS JENNIFER COBB

Sukkot, the Jewish harvest festival, ends today. The sukkah, an outdoor reed hut, is where families eat, recalling the time when the Israelites wandered the desert for forty years, sleeping and eating under the stars.

Today, take time to get outside for a meal, and pause and give thanks for your harvest. Can you leave work at lunchtime to eat outdoors? Can you enjoy your evening meal on the deck or in the yard?

As you eat, slowly savor the food, being thankful for all that you eat.

Take time to appreciate where you live, work, or are, and give thanks for your home, workplace, and neighborhood.

Widen your awareness to the community, area, or town you are in, and give thanks for the safety, security, and services available to you.

When you finish your meal, pause and give thanks that you are housed, fed, protected, and cared for.

What a harvest!

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Heartwings Love Notes 1002 Must Do, Should Do, Nice to Do

Heartwings Says, “Priorities ae helpful for organizing what to do.”

I have a small yet handy program on my computer called “stickies.” It puts up a “piece of paper” resembling a sheet from one of those useful small pads you can write on and then remove to attach somewhere. Of course, with it you are limited to your computer screen, yet you need not ever have to look for something to write with.

I found they are very helpful as reminders of important deadlines in the past, however, a kind friend has given me an even better way to use them, and I thought I would pass it on to my readers. As to the stickies program, if you just google “stickies application” you can get it for free from Microsoft.

What my friend suggested was to code each reminder with one of these three numbers: One is for Must Do; Two is for Should Do; and three is for Nice to do. Setting up my list helps me to focus in a very good way. As I get older and find myself functioning more slowly, prioritizing seems to have become ever so much more important than it has been.

Lately, as a result of my newly acquired condition, I can use all the help I can get. While my mind remains sharp, my fingers and hands grow less able as do my legs and feet. Physical changes mean I have to adjust to being able to do less than I wish I could or would like to be able to. I don’t always know my parameters now, and they also seem to vary from day to day.

Does this sound frustrating? Believe me it is, and it presents me with wonderful new lessons in personal growth on a daily basis. Mindfulness is now something to be practiced any time I am on my feet. It is definitely a “must do.” My exercises to strengthen my legs and achieve better balance are surely a “should do.” As for the “nice to do,” category, it fills up with those little things I intend to accomplish such as sending notes to friends to thank them, or pass along articles I think they might like. I am grateful to my friend for her suggestion, and when she reads this, she’ll know I am.

May you find ways to use helpful applications to make life easier,

Blessings and best regards, Tasha Halpert

Have you found a way to help yourself do better that you can share with me? I’d love to hear it. Your comments and suggestions make my day. Thanks ever so much for communicating. Write me at tashahal@Aol.com, and do visit my web pages at http://www.heartwingsandfriends.com

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Spending Time in Nature

Because we instinctively know that nature is good for us on many levels, it’s not unusual to feel powerfully drawn to it.

In this modern age, we spend so much time indoors, focused on the busyness of our lives and disconnected from the earth. But much of what we truly need can only be found under the naked sky, alongside tall trees, on open plains, or in the sound of running water. Spending time in nature allows us to commune with other living beings and to find comfort in the nurturing embrace of Mother Earth. You can’t help but experience a different sense of self while walking in a wood or traversing a mountainside. Being in nature connects us to the earth, grounding us as we walk, unhindered by concrete, upon her. Surrounded by other living beings, both bigger and smaller than we are, we remember that human beings are simply one form of life in this vast universe.

Because we instinctively know that nature is good for us on many levels, it’s not unusual to feel powerfully drawn to it. Even if you live in a city or find it difficult to travel to a forest or the countryside, there are a myriad ways to reconnect with nature. When you step out of your door each morning, pause for a minute and close your eyes long enough to let your senses absorb your surroundings. Listen and breathe deeply, until you hear the wind rustling through branches, smell rain on damp grass, and see the reflection of leaves brushing up against windowpanes. If you have time, crouch down and closely examine any nearby grass and soil. The sights, sounds, smells, and sensations we experience that are part of nature can remind us of all the gifts Mother Earth grants us each day.

Spending time connecting with nature nourishes the soul, reminds you that you are never truly alone, and renews you by attuning you to the earth’s natural rhythms. Taking a walk under the stars or feeling the wind on your face may be all it takes for you to reconnect with nature. Remember, you are as much a part of nature as are the leaves on a tree or water bubbling in a brook.

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Mind Over Matter

We can improve our physical well-being by first starting to notice our thoughts and our reactions to them.

The power of the mind is a curious thing, because it is so powerful yet so difficult to control sometimes. We find ourselves thinking a certain way, knowing that this thought may be creating trouble for us yet we find it difficult to stop. For example, many people have the experience of getting sick at the same time every year or every time they go on a plane. They may even be aware that their beliefs impact their experiences, so continue to think they will get sick and then they do.

Sometimes we need to get sick in order to process something or move something through our bodies. But often we get sick, or feel exhausted, because we don’t make the effort to galvanize the power of our minds in the service of our physical health, which is one of its most important functions. We really can use it to communicate to our bodies, yet we often regard the two as separate entities that have little to do with one another.

Knowing this, we have the power to create physical health and mental health, simply by paying attention to the tapes running in our minds. Once we hear ourselves, we have the option to let that tape keep running or to make a new recording. We harness the power of the mind in our defense when we choose supportive, healing words that foster good health and high spirits. All we need to do is remember to tend the field of our mind with the attentive and loving hand of a master gardener tending her flower beds, culling out the weeds so that the blossoms may come to fruition.

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Healing from the Trees: Spruce Resin Salve Recipe

by Dana

Since moving to our new homestead a few years ago, I’ve been working to build a local material medica–that is, learning about all of the medicinal plants, herbs, and trees here on our 5-acre property.  This also, of course, means growing a lot of my own herbs but also learning everything I can about the uses of the plants/trees already present on the land.  This post is a follow-up to my Spruce post from a little while ago to share some primary ways of working with spruce: A Spruce Resin Salve (also known as a Spruce Gum and Spruce Resin salve) with bonus fire-starters from the process!

Many conifers produce a tarry, sticky resin or sap that has a range of uses: as a binding agent or glue, as a medicine, as gum you can chew, as incense, as a fire-starting tool, as a waterproofing agent, and much more!  Gums from many trees, including Norway Spruce, White Pine, and Blue Spruce are highly medicinal and can be turned into a range of herbal preparations.  In today’s post, I’ll share a basic process for making a salve from spruce resin; this same process can be used for any other salve made from white pine resin or other medicinal conifer tree gum.

I think that learning how to make medicine from sacred trees is a really important part of developing a wildcrafted druidry or nature-based spiritual practice.  Trees are incredible friends, guides, and they have much to offer us–if we take the time to learn, to listen, and to work with them.

Medicinal Properties of Spruce Resin/Pitch/Sap

Norway Spruce is not native to North America…but it, along with Blue Spruce, is planted just about everywhere!  It is easy to find in urban and suburban areas, where these tress are also often trimmed, resulting in many opportunities to harvest the dried resin or sticky gum sap.

Norway Spruce Gum  (and other spruces such as Black Spruce, Blue Spruce, and White Spruce) have been used for millennia for medicine. The many uses of Norway Spruce include antibacterial, anti-fungal, anti-microbial properties.  Spruce gum has been used to treat a host of skin conditions including burns, infections that won’t heal, scrapes, scratches, boils, abscesses, and even more serious issues like gunshot wounds.

The primary tree for this purpose in Europe is Norway Spruce, while in North America, black spruce often was used in this way (their medicinal properties are almost identical).  And, as is often the case, science is finally catching up with folk traditional uses as this recent study published in Advanced Wound Care in 2016 demonstrates the powerful antimicrobial and healing properties of Norway Spruce.

Resin – hardened and ready for salve or burning as incense

Many Pine resins are similar in nature and can also be treated in the same way.  White Pine, one of the dominant pines in North America, has similar antifungal, antimicrobial, and antibacterial properties (although there is less scientific research on white pine compared to various spruces).  Either one will produce a wonderful healing salve.

This salve is more involved than a traditional backyard healing salve but is well worth making.  I recently had a very deep and nasty cut (one that should have gotten stitches, in hindsight) and I was able to stop the bleeding with fresh yarrow and then treated the cut successfully with my spruce gum salve.  It drew debris from the wound, sealed it up, and kept it from getting infected.  Not to mention, it smells amazing, which gave me a bit of aromatherapy while healing the wound!

Thus, your Spruce Resin Salve can be used for any of the following: cuts, scrapes, burns, deep cuts, drawing out debris from wounds, chapped lips (it will work wonders on severely chapped lips) and any number of uses for animal care (such as mild frostbite on combs and wattles of chickens in winter).

Tools and Materials

Whatever you use will forever have spruce resin on it, so I suggest dedicating a few tools to this purpose.  I have found that a large tin can works great (I am using a #10 tin can), an old butter knife, and some cheesecloth / thin natural cloth (cotton, linen) and string.  For the salve itself, you will also need a good quality olive oil and beeswax.

The can is used for three steps in the process–gathering, filtering, and making the salve.  Thus, you will need it to be large enough to boil water and also contain all of your salve.  A #10 can is a great size, but I think a slightly smaller one will work as well.

Step 1: Harvesting Your Spruce Pitch and Resin

Various conifer species of trees produce their sticky, gooey sap when the tree is wounded.  Thus, you can often find large amounts of it in urban or suburban areas where these trees are frequently pruned.  You can also find it naturally occurring in the wild.

As with all wild medicines and foods, you want to practice ethical harvesting practices, which include asking permission from the tree, leaving an offering, and engaging in reciprocation–doing something for the tree or forest where you are harvesting.   I believe that if you treat nature respectfully and with agency, your medicine will be all the more potent for it.

Gooey resin dripping from a Norway spruce!  This spruce has been regularly pecked by woodpeckers and is producing a ton of sap….I will wait for these crystals to fully harden and use them for incense

Tar, Pitch, and Resin: Tar, Pitch and resin are all the same substance, but they have been outside of the tree for different amounts of time and thus, have different levels of viscosity or dryness. Spruce tar (also known as sap) is a fairly new flow from the tree and is usually clear, very sticky, and drippy–think liquid honey here.  Spruce pitch is usually milky and sticky, having partially dried on the tree (and often collected bugs, debris, etc.) which is part of why we have to do some processing to make it into medicine.  Spruce pitch is often similar in consistency to crystalized honey. Spruce resin is the hardest of all–you can handle this, it is firm and completely dried.  The resin usually represents a few years of drying out on the tree. The difference between them is the age of the substance and how much there is (which affects drying time).

If you are wanting to make a healing salve, it is best to make it with pitch or resin, which is hard enough to collect.  Spruce resins are also awesome for incense.  The incense from a Norway Spruce is called Burgundy Resin, and it smells and burns amazing–a light and delightful pine scent that will offer powerful energetic clearing. In areas where I harvest, I will usually let sap sit on the tree till it hardens into either pitch (for salve making) or resin (for incense).  It takes 2-4 years for the sap to harden into resin which can be handled.

Harvested resin and pitch

When harvesting, take only what is excess from the tree and what will not expose any sensitive areas of the tree. If you see big globs of resin or pitch, remember that the tree uses this to seal over wounds. If you scrape it all from the tree, you are exposing that tree to pests and disease.  You can take a little from the outside of the wound, but make sure that the tree remains protected. Sometimes there is so much sap that it drips and hardens–all of this is safe to take as it is not at the site of the wound of the tree. This is a good time to work slowly and listen to the spirit of the tree–the tree can guide you about how much to take and where to take it from. Carless harvesting can lead the tree to harm, which is not a good way to start working with this tree.

Harvesting and preparing spruce or pine pitch is a very sticky business.  You will want a dedicated container (I have a dedicated #10 soup can for this purpose) and an old dull knife (a butter knife is fine) to harvest. Scrape the pitch in gobs into the container, using your knife.  Small bits of resin can be harvested by hand.  Once you have 1/2 cup or more, you can move on to the next step.

Step 2: Filter out Debris and Bugs from your Spruce Tar

As the sap of the Spruce dries, it collects an assortment of debris: bugs, dirt, small bits of bark, etc.  In order to make a healing salve, you will need to filter these out before use.

There are several methods for doing this– I’m using a boiling water filtration method that I developed after reading about a number of methods.  This method requires the use of cheesecloth, boiling water, and a stone.  This method works because any conifer resin is not water-soluble.

Begin by adding all of your spruce resin and pitch to a square of cheesecloth or thinly woven fabric (I’m using a scrap piece of fabric here).  Place a small stone in with the resin.

Firmly tie this bundle with some string (don’t use a rubber band–it will sometimes fail in the boiling water).  I had two on this bundle and one broke in the boil,, but I was lucky to have a second.  I’ve since switched to using simple hemp or cotton cordage, which will not fail!

Put your can on your burner on your stove and then add your bundle to the can.  Add enough water to fully cover your bundle by at least 2-3″. The rock will weigh your resin bundle down, making it sink below the water.

Boil 45 minutes to an hour. As you boil it, the pitch will melt and come out of the cheesecloth, either on the surface or bottom of the can.  Turn off the heat, remove the remaining bundle (which should be mostly a stone and cheesecloth at this point), and allow the water and resin to fully cool.  After it is cool an hour or more later, you can then pour off the water and you will be left with pure resin.

Resin is ready!

The stone can be returned to the land.  The cheesecloth, when cut into smaller pieces, makes an outstanding natural firestarter–so hold onto it for your next camping trip!

Step 3: Make your Salve

The basic recipe is 1/4 cup resin, 1/2 cup olive oil, and 1/2 – 1 oz beeswax.  Since the resin will still be pretty sticky, you can estimate how much resin you have to work with, and adjust your recipe accordingly (e.g., 1/2 cup of resin = 1 cup of olive oil and 1-11/2 oz beeswax).  You can go a bit higher on the olive oil if you want to stretch it, but I would say you want a minimum of 1/4 c resin to 1 cup olive oil.

Return your can to the heat with the resin still in it and add an appropriate amount of olive oil.  Heat this up and allow it to simmer for at least 30 minutes, stirring it with a stick.  After 30 minutes, add your beeswax (if you shave it or chop it up small, it will melt faster).  Once the beeswax is melted and incorporated, pour it into small jars or tins.  Let cool completely and you will have an amazing healing salve for use for any deep cuts, surface cuts, and also safe for animals.

If you want, at this stage, use paper towels or cotton rags to clean up any drips and also to wipe out your can.  Save these as wonderful fuel for fire-starting–just add a bit of flame and they will burn brightly and help start a fire.

This salve will be good for 1-2 years if stored in a cool, dark place.  This has become my favorite healing salve for a wide range of uses, and I always take some with me when I travel!

Dana | October 3, 2021 at 8:30 am | Tags: beeswax, black spruce, blue spruce, burgundy incense, burgundy resin, cuts, gum, healing, healing salve, Norway spruce, olive oil, pine pitch, pine resin, pitch, salve, scrapes, spruce gum salve, spruce healing salve, spruce resin salve, tree healing, white spruce | Categories: Creative Pursuits, Foraging, Forests, Growth, Healing, Herbalism, Medicinal plants, Ovate Knowledge, Recipes, Wildcrafting | URL: https://wp.me/p19QCR-2EG

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Gilberto Rides Again by Stephen Halpert Chapter 21

Though he had only been away at the meeting in Greenbush for a few days, stacks of mail greeted Gilberto on his desk. He wondered why the usually prompt mail staff hadn’t cleared away the junk? What did appear significant was the formal lawsuit from Clay Calhoun.

Colonel Dimwittie had pulled out all the stops, accusing Atlas and its Board members of collusion, breach of contract and grand theft. The suit sought restitution of eighty million dollars.

Gilberto called Ramon. “Did you get a surprise from Greenbush?”

Ramon swore. “You mean the legal deposition? Sara has put it in the hands of Atlas’ attorneys. She said she didn’t see much substance to it; called it a nuisance suit and said even if he won, Dimwittie would ultimately settle for considerably less.

He then told Ramon of the athletic derelict with the long knife he had encountered that morning.

“Be careful,” Ramon said. “Maybe there’s something rotten going on at Atlas we know nothing about.” 

“My thoughts exactly,” Gilberto replied.” Any ideas?”

 “Not really, but I’m checking around.” Then his voice lifted. “Happy to tell you I’ve gotten my new up graded device. I’ll give you my old cell phone to give to Mona. I cleaned it, removed Atlas data, even added a number of apps designed for kids.”

“Thanks,” Gilberto smiled. “That’s very kind of you. She’ll be thrilled. Maybe she’ll even lose interest in ants and white rats and instead start texting with her friends.”

“Let’s hope,” Ramon chuckled. “At that age all my daughters ever wanted were Shetland ponies.”

Next, Gilberto phoned Smith and reported that morning’s incident of the murderous derelict.

“Something might start to boil.” Smith’s sounded vague. “Won’t hurt for Rain to keep an eye on you.”

Gilberto nodded. He sensed something cautious about Smith’s response. “Do you suppose our lines at Atlas might be tapped?”

“I wouldn’t be surprised,” Smith said dryly. “I noticed Atlas stock continues to climb. Could be a stock split down the road.”

Gilberto mentioned the Clay Calhoun suit being perpetrated by Colonel Dimwittie.”

“Possible implications. Very curious.” Smith’s words grew increasingly terse.

“You think Dimwittie’s suit will affect the stock value?”

 “I’ll check in with the appropriate personnel and get back to you on that.” Smith hung up and his phone signaled another call.

It was Ramon. “Sara wants you to join us for lunch. She wants us to confer outside the office. The walls have ears.”

He sounded tense. “Seems so,” Gilberto said. More proof his line could be tapped. No wonder Smith spoke the way he had.

“Meet us outside by the parking entrance at one,” Ramon said.

“Will do,” Gilberto said. He signed off and spent the remainder of the morning going through his mail, throwing away most of it.

He met them outside by the parking garage at one. Sara appeared o have forgotten to look in the mirror that morning. Her usually impeccable style had been replaced by a decidedly unkempt look.

She frowned at Gilberto. “Sorry about your junk mail. I’m having everything delivered just to be sure nothing slips through the cracks.”

Without further conversation, Sara drove to the open-air market downtown at Faneuil Hall. Gilberto felt on edge. He wasn’t sure if it was Sara’s jerky driving or Smiths indication that trouble was brewing. For the first time in years, he craved a cigarette– which he realized was totally out of character and ridiculous.

He looked at Sara. “How long since you had a cigarette?”

“Is it that obvious? Since this business with Buzz, I feel flung back into old habits.”

The waiter came to their table. They ordered corn beef Rubens and coffee. With a gleam in his eye, Ramon ordered a slice of chocolate torte drenched in a thick liquor flavored icing.

They consumed their meal without much being said of any consequence. Finally, Gilberto’s curiosity got the best of him. “Sara, why don’t you tell us what’s bothering you,” he said. “Is it Buzz, Dimwittie’s lawsuit, or something else?”

She looked at him blankly. Whatever was on her mind wasn’t going to be shared.

Ramon finished his torte. He grinned at Gilberto. “Rosa doesn’t need to know about this. These days she’s taking my health way too seriously.”

“Are you gaining weight?” Gilberto asked.

Ramon waved his hand dismissively. “Two or three pounds, nothing to be concerned about. That food in Greenbush no doubt.”

“You’re fine,” Sara said. She gazed at his broad shoulders and sighed. Her expression reminded Gilberto of a feral cougar about to spring upon and devour a lamb.

They spent the next half hour talking about day-to-day inconsequential. Gilberto couldn’t help wondering why Sara had wanted this meeting,

Finally. she said, ” I want you to know, as soon as Buzz recovers, I’m taking a leave of absence. My nerves are shot. I need to get away.”

Gilberto nodded. “I understand,” he said.

She paid the check. They headed for the car and began driving along Memorial Drive back to Atlas. Early afternoon traffic was light.

Gilberto feared the way she drove would result in costly brake realignment. Why was she driving like this? Her eyes were fixed on her rearview mirror. Beside her, Ramon sat, eyes were closed, snoring lightly. Gilberto noticed a dark panel truck creeping up behind them.

The truck drew up beside them and tried to edge the Jag off the shoulder. “Be careful Sara,” he said

Sara accelerated; the Jag lurched forward. The panel truck tried to catch up, but it was now too far behind. Sara took the Gloucester Street exit and turned smartly onto Commonwealth Avenue toward Berkeley Street. She pulled into the Atlas entrance.

“That was close,” Gilberto said. “I’ll never question your driving ever again.”

“I spotted that truck birddogging us earlier. I drove slower so he’d feel he had an advantage.”

“Any idea what’s going on?” Gilberto asked

“I’ve seen that panel truck before. Parked near my condo. I think the driver is someone who wants to murder me.”

(To be continued) 

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Kitty Kats Korner

Can Cats Eat Daisies?

Dr. Lauren Cline, DVM, of Queen City Animal Hospital sounds off on the most dangerous plants for cats.

Left to their own devices, most cats will gladly explore things they shouldn’t. Whether that’s scraps from the dinner table or the flowers you brought home from the farmer’s market, it’s important to monitor your cat to make sure their curiosity isn’t getting the best of them and causing serious medical problems. This is especially true if your cat spends time both indoors and outdoors and might find themselves in close proximity to plants that look like a tempting snack.

How Do You Know Which Plants Are Safe for Your Cat?

Dr. Lauren Cline, DVM, of Queen City Animal Hospital says that any plant has the potential to trigger some gastrointestinal issues, like vomiting or diarrhea, if your cat ingests it. With that said, Dr. Cline notes that some plants are more toxic than others and should be avoided due to the risk of organ failure or other serious illness.

Not sure how to tell if the plants in your home or in your backyard pose a risk for your four-legged friends?

“I recommend that all owners be aware of what plants they have in the home and in their yard and look each one up on the ASPCA list of toxic plants. This comprehensive list will detail toxic principles and clinical signs to monitor for, as well as let you know if emergency treatment needs to be sought in the event of exposure or ingestion,” Dr. Cline says.

Though they’re beautiful, cat owners should steer clear of lilies, Dr. Cline says.

“Both true lilies- Lilium sp. and Hemerocallis sp., can cause acute and fatal renal failure in cats,” she says. “Even licking the pollen off these plants can be detrimental, so I recommend avoiding having them in the home completely if you own a cat. These include Asiatic lilies, East lilies, daylilies, peace lilies, and Lily of the Valley.”

Sago palms can also pose a risk to both cats and dogs, Dr. Cline says. If ingested, these plants can cause serious gastrointestinal issues, followed by seizures and liver failure. Other plants that pet owners should consider avoiding include oleander, azaleas, foxglove, and lantana.

While the kinds of plants you’ve got growing in your yard will probably vary depending on where you live and your own personal preferences, many of us will find that we’ve got daisies in our yards. Can cats eat daisies without serious health issues?

Daisies aren’t as toxic to cats as some of the plants listed above, Dr. Cline says, but these flowers can still trigger gastrointestinal issues, like vomiting, diarrhea, and hypersalivation. This applies to dogs, too. For this reason, it’s best to encourage all pets to avoid eating daisies whenever possible.

What Should You Do if Your Pet Ingests a Poisonous Plant?

If your pet has ingested a toxic plant, Dr. Cline recommends immediately calling the ASPCA Poison Control Helpline at 888-426-4435. The team will do a consultation with you to determine the most appropriate next steps, including if you need to take your pet to a local animal hospital.

What Can You Do To Prevent Your Pet from Ingesting Toxic Plants?

First and foremost, be aware of what’s growing in your yard. Secondly, Dr. Cline advises always keeping a close eye on your pets when they’re outside. Whenever possible, keep any toxic plants away from your home’s interior and exterior.

If you’ve got plants that may cause a problem for your pets, consider installing fencing or an enclosure to prevent your animals from having access to these plants. While the various greenery and flowers you’ve got both inside and outside your home may look tempting to your pets, it’s important to prevent them from eating something that could trigger serious health issues.

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Georgia’s Weekly Horoscope

Sunday, October 03, 2021

All Signs

This week the Sun, Mercury and Mars take turns lining up with each other in Libra. Meanwhile, the only New Moon in Libra all year is also taking place. This concentrated focus will affect everyone depending on where it takes place in their chart. (Note: Every month, the New Moon is our chance to make resolutions. I think the New Moon is more authentic than Jan. 1, which is a date chosen by advisors to the Pope in 1582. In fact, at the time, Protestants rioted because they thought it was a Catholic plot.) This week, the New Moon occurs early Wed. morning (7 AM Eastern; 4 AM Pacific). Therefore, Tues. is the perfect time to make resolutions! Personally, I’m going to resolve to get up before noon on weekdays. (Weekends are mine to sleep in.)

Aries (March 21-April 19)

All this heavy activity going on in the sign of Libra this week is opposite your sign. The opposition to the Sun will help you to more objectively see how you relate to those who are closest to you. Mercury retrograde will attract old friends from the past and ex-partners. Mars opposite your sign can make you easily annoyed with others. (Cranky. Grumpy. Quick to take offense.) Fortunately, the New Moon taking place opposite your sign (the only one all year) is your chance to think about how you can improve your relations with those who are closest to you. What can you do? Ideas?

Taurus (April 20-May 20)

This week, the activity taking place in Libra (the Sun, Mercury retrograde, Mars and the New Moon) will light a fire under you. You’re pumped! You’ll be determined to work hard and get better organized. You’ll want results for your efforts, and you’ll be so keen to accomplish as much as possible, you’ll be busy delegating to others as well. (You might be a tad bossy.) This is a winning, beneficial influence for you because not only will you accomplish a lot, you will do something to improve your health as well. Meanwhile, this New Moon is your chance to ponder how you can work smarter and be better organized? Dank! (That trendy vote of approval.)

Gemini (May 21-June 20)

This spate of activity in the sign of Libra is great for you because Libra is your fellow Air sign. (Whatever happens in Libra will support you – like the third leg on a three-legged stool.) That’s why this week is full of opportunities to have fun! Explore social outings, parties, luncheons, playful activities with kids, sports events and the ways you like to socialize with others. It’s an excellent week to enjoy a vacation. If you can’t slip away on a vacation, why not introduce a vacation feeling to your daily routine? Take a long lunch, meet friends for happy hour (in person or by Zoom). Have fun! You want the freedom to do your own thing. Romance will also get a major boost!

Cancer (June 21-July 22)

Home and family matter to you, which is why you will welcome this week’s concentrated planetary activity, which highlights home and family. “Elemental, my dear Watson.” You might be more involved with a parent. Younger family members, especially relatives you haven’t seen for a while, might be back in the picture. You have lots of energy for improvements, renovations and repairs. (Some of them major.) Meanwhile, this New Moon is your best chance all year to take a few minutes and think about how to improve your relations with family, as well as how to better enjoy your home. Your home is your cozy nest and refuge from the world!

Leo (July 23-Aug. 22)

This is a fast-paced, busy week full of errands, appointments, increased reading and writing as well as taking short trips. Yay! This will keep you hopping! In particular, you’ll be keen to talk to others because you want to enlighten them about something. Some of these people you’re keen to talk to might be people from your past. (It’s fun trading lies about how well your life is going. Although, some prefer a competition about who has it the worst.) Admittedly, Mercury retrograde will create transportation glitches, car problems, missed appointments, confused communications and misplaced paperwork. “I know I put it right here?”

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22)

Money, money, money! A gaggle of planets is sitting in your Money House. This means you’ll be more involved than usual earning money, thinking of ways to earn more money, trying to get a better paying job, trying to get any job, trying to make money on the side or figuring out how to swing things with what you’ve got. However, Mercury retrograde will also delay money coming to you. Cheques in the mail will be late. Meanwhile, Mars will push you to work hard to earn money, but it will also encourage you to spend big. This week, the New Moon is your best chance all year to think about you handle what you own. For starters: Do you own your stuff, or does it own you?

Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22)

This unusual planetary activity (see All Signs) is taking place in your sign! The Sun will continue to be in Libra until Friday, Oct. 22, which is a blessing that comes only once a year. It attracts people and favourable circumstances to you; plus, it boosts your energy! Meanwhile, fiery Mars is also in your sign, which also amplifies your energy. This lovely combo can happen only once every two years, so make the most of it. Get out of bed, get dressed and get busy because you will get a lot done! Physical exercise will appeal. You also will feel the need to express your ideas to someone, perhaps an ex-partner. (Oh yeah.)

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21)

This concentration of planets mentioned in All Signs above is taking place in a hidden part of your chart, which does not mean that you won’t feel the effects of it. It simply means that whatever occurs will not be obvious to others. You will experience these influences, but they will impact you in a private way – very much to do with your inner world. Frankly, this suits you because by nature, you’re a secretive person. Mercury retrograde will help you do research. However, this placement of Mars can stir up “hidden enemies”. Therefore, if you’re in a situation where you suspect something fishy is going on – it is! Trust your gut instincts. Meanwhile, you can attract money to you this week. Ka-ching!

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 21)

This gaggle of planets mentioned in All Signs above will energize your interaction with friends as well as your involvement with clubs, groups and organizations. You’re busy and you’re popular! You might also be in competition with someone; in fact, physical activity with others will appeal to you. Meanwhile, you’ll be in contact with someone from your past whom you haven’t seen for a while. Because fair Venus is in your sign, you’ll be charming and diplomatic. People are happy to see you! It would be wise for you to share your goals for the future with them because their feedback might make a difference.

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 19)

This is a powerful time because the Sun at the top of your chart casts you in a flattering light (symbolically), which means bosses and parents are impressed with you. This gives you an excellent advantage if you need to make your pitch or advance your agenda. Therefore, act now! (Mars at the top of your chart will give you the courage to do so because it arouses your ambition.) Because Mercury retrograde is also at the top of your chart, you will hear from parents and old bosses from your past, plus, have the chance to rethink your life path. You might make some changes. Secret love affairs are on the books for some. (Don’t blow something solid for a mere bonbon.)

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 18)

This is an exciting week for you! This handful of planets mentioned in All Signs above is urging you to learn new things by talking to people from different backgrounds or studying formally or through your own self education. This influence will also urge you to travel because it wants you to break the sides of the envelope. Think Buzz Lightyear. “To infinity and beyond!” You can use the influence of Mercury retrograde to finish a paper, a manuscript or any important study you are doing. It will also help you study history or study the past. Mars, of course, will get you in trouble with controversial subjects. Remember your motto: The greatest good for the greatest number.

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20)

This is a passionate time for you! Not only will you feel passionate about sex, you will feel passionate about almost all aspects of your life. One outcome of this concentration of planets is that you might be in dispute with someone about shared responsibilities or shared wealth. On the upside, Mercury retrograde will help you to wrap up loose ends with estates, inheritances, taxes, debt and anything that you own jointly with others. This is very handy because it will make cleaning up areas that you might’ve been avoiding much easier! Meanwhile, travel for pleasure will totally appeal. You will enjoy seeing new places, meeting new faces and being exposed to new cultures. “Bonjour!

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Weekly Horoscopes Beginning Sunday, 03 October 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:

Epigram: Things are unlikely to make sense until the pivotal Aries Full Moon on 20 October. Once you understand that, you’ll be uncharacteristically easy-going about the range of bizarre changes altering the world around you and, even more, elements of your life. Doing nothing may seem odd. Still, you’ll soon realise that swift changes mean even simple plans should be regarded as an experiment, more than anything else.

Share any ideas you have that you think will work. It doesn’t matter whether this concern your home and family affairs, or your career. If you believe in them, they deserve a chance. Your family, friends and colleagues will think this too. Make sure you arrange it so you have some time on your own or you could end up devoting every spare minute to helping others. You don’t want to end up with no time left to give to personal plans.

History has been known to repeat. Think back to 2006, 1989 and 1974. Obviously much depends on how old you are, but these are the last three occasions when the Sun and Mars aligned in your opposite sign. That they do so this week just after the New Moon (also in Libra), as Pluto arrives at its station, and as Venus moves into Sagittarius, suggests this will be a week with a difference. Libra is the sign of relationships. Aries people need to be free: but to show just how free and independent you are, you need to have something to be free from. Anticipate a struggle. Your career is most definitely going places but you likely need to align with new groups and associations. That much should be clear by next Friday. Note however that Mercury is still retrograde, – also in Libra, – and that you would do well to listen before you give opinion.

Taurus

Personal theme: I have!!

Earth & fixed sign: April 20 — May 20

Your horoscope for this week:

Epigram: As you’ll undoubtedly have noticed, even seemingly simple arrangements are shifting, frequently and often dramatically. The trick? It’s to explore your options, then get involved in what seems worthwhile. However, on Thursday the 7th your ruler Venus moves to accent broadening your horizons, including developments that encourage you to focus on exploration. What you learn won’t just be interesting, it could change your life.

You have plenty of energy and enthusiasm is in abundance. There is an aura of confidence and power about you. Everyday jobs will be handled with ease. Even new tasks will present little in the way of challenge as you instinctively know how best to handle these matters. Make the most of and all opportunities to develop your creative talents. Your belief in yourself is high and this is all down to you enjoying a more active social life.

Think back to 2006, 1989 and 1974. (Those years may or may not encompass your working life). Fact is that those are the last three occasions when the Sun and Mars aligned in Libra (another of the signs ruled by Venus) and, in your case, accented working conditions. The cosmos doesn’t do exact repeats, but themes echo. There is high probability of a new working relationship being forged. This could get off to a bumpy start as Mercury is retrograde (also in Libra). If there is good news, it’s that Wednesday’s Libra New Moon coincides with Venus (your ruling planet) moving into Sagittarius as Pluto arrives at its station. It’s possible that someone who’s lived and worked abroad or who has excellent qualifications will move in on your scene. Developing a working partnership with them will likely take time. Give it that as by next month’s lunar eclipse, this relationship could make all the difference to your working life.

Gemini

Personal theme: I think!!

Air sign: May 21 — June 20

Your horoscope for this week:

Epigram: If you’re into astrology, you’ll not only be aware that your ruler Mercury is retrograde until the 18th, triggering confusion for you and others. However, you’re better off laughing about errors now, and seeking a solution later. The challenge? Ensuring everybody else feels as easy-going. The strategy? Employ your remarkable sense of humour. Then, later in the month, you’ll tackle any remaining confusion together.

You’re growing bored with a project you took on some time ago. You might wish you could press the fast-forward button and move on to the next job, even so it’s important to finish what you start. Try not to get cross with delays. Other people have got their own work to do. A relative is being awkward about a household matter. It would be better for you if they made decisions more quickly but this isn’t their style.

In 2006, 1989 and 1974, the Sun aligned with Mars in the creative zone of your solar chart. This alignment occurs again just after Wednesday’s Libra New Moon. By then, Pluto will have arrived at its station, and Venus moved into your opposite sign. You certainly won’t be the only sign negotiating new working relationships! In your case however you could be super excited. You might also be asked to mentor someone younger. The stage should be set over this weekend and the early part of next week when someone who’s been in position declares that they can no longer observe a schedule that’s been in place since June. They may now be thinking of more creative ways of you working together. Listen carefully. Mercury is retrograde. Nothing needs to be set in stone this week, but a trial period could begin. Note too, that by next Monday, Saturn will be stationing in another of the Air signs. Your expertise could be put to the test. Use your time wisely and revise.

Cancer

Personal theme: I feel!!

Water & cardinal sign: June 21 — July 22

Your horoscope for this week:

Epigram: It’s a tricky period for everybody. However, if you’re already feeling vulnerable, you could easily turn minor issues into something more serious and even be over-sensitive. Recognising this tendency and refusing to be drawn into those feelings won’t be easy. However, if you can, you’ll also find you’ll comfortably discuss offers and new ideas that, otherwise, you might have ignored, if not bypassed entirely.

Your boss will ask for your views on potential new projects. Not only will they like your suggestions but they will want to experiment with a few ideas there and then. This makes it as good a time as any to press for some career changes you would like to make. Family relationships will be harmonious but try to avoid a tendency to become moody when things on the social scene don’t go your way.

Were 2006, 1989 and 1974 important years for you? They have in common a Sun- Mars conjunction in Libra (another of the Cardinal signs). There is another of these alignments due just after Wednesday’s New Moon in that same sign. There are never exact repeats, but it’s highly likely that if those earlier years were turning points, then 2021 will be similarly so. Career wise you may now be headed in slightly altered direction. That’s likely in part due to the fact that Mercury is retrograde. You may be asked to tackle a task for which you feel you are ill-prepared. Be kind to yourself. The fact that you’ve been asked to do this is, in a sense, a compliment. Yes, you might need to negotiate a trial period, but that you can do. Note that this week Pluto arrives at its station in your opposite sign. This has been an annual recurrence since 2008. It suggests a ‘full stop moment’ when you pause, and take deep breath before moving on. Give yourself that time; but yes, it is quite likely that those born under either Libra or Capricorn will have key roles to play as you take your next career step.

Leo

Personal theme: I will!!

Fire & fixed sign: July 23 — August 22

Your horoscope for this week:

Epigram: As you begin the week, it will seem you’re facing a range of trade-offs. That is, events, offers or others’ support will come at a price, one you question paying. At least explore these. While not everything will work, even what doesn’t will introduce you to new ideas, people or even settings, all of which will add to your world. Final plans? Wait until late October.

You’re facing some ups and downs financially. If you’re struggling to balance accounts, a financial advisor will help you get your affairs in order. In areas where you are working as part of a team, you will shine. You have skills and talents that others admire and your hard-working approach is making a good impression. If a private matter needs to be resolved it would be better to use your head instead of your feelings to reach a decision.

Think back to 2006, 1989 and before that, 1974. Those are the last three occasions when the Sun aligned exactly with Mars in Libra. That aspect occurs again this week just after Wednesday’s New Moon. These lunations tend to bring a willingness to embrace the new and so offer a fresh start. This conjunction boosts possibility of engaging with someone ‘new on the block’. This could be a colleague who is on temporary secondment, or it could be a neighbour’s guest. Either way, your window on the world is set to open a little wider. There’s high probability of increased local travel and of urgent communications. Recall though that Mercury is still retrograde and that things might not run smoothly until mid-month. The potential for you to increase your vocabulary: including learning another language, is much increased. It wouldn’t be so surprising as Venus moves into another of the Fire signs, if you determined on a short evening course that satisfied your mind and expanded your social scene.

Virgo

Personal theme: I analyse!!

Earth sign: August 23 — September 22

Your horoscope for this week:

Epigram: Annoying as the unexpected twists you’re facing seem, it’s increasingly clear you’re learning something from each. Being an inquisitive Virgo, you may already know why. You, and the rest of the world, are contending with the confusion triggered by your ruler Mercury’s retrograde cycle. While it’s slowed progress, it’s also led to discussions about both practicalities and objectives, yours and others, that are of increasing value.

Getting involved in a community project is a chance to bring your talents to the fore. You might take on an exciting challenge to do with a charity or fund-raising project. An investment idea is worth looking into. This could seem like one of the best decisions you’ve made in a long while, giving you a feeling that you are finally on top of your money situation. You will welcome any chance you get to make a little money out of a hobby.

Get set for an extremely busy week. Soon after Wednesday’s New Moon (which coincides with Pluto arriving at its station and Venus beginning annual passage over the base of your solar chart), the Sun and Mars align in neighbouring Libra for the first time since 2006. Mars, the red planet, is known as an energizer. That this alignment comes so soon after a New Moon and with Venus changing signs, suggests fuel going into your tank. True, as your ruling planet, Mercury, is still retrograde, it might take some time for the tank to be filled. The process though starts this week. It might, in fact, be driven by discussions taking place over Sunday and Monday that make it abundantly clear that there are certain individuals who’ve held you back for too long. Though your sign has a reputation as being excellent for risk assessment, no one should be in any doubt that doesn’t mean you are oblivious to opportunity.

Libra

Personal theme: I balance!!

Air & cardinal sign: September 23 — October 22

Your horoscope for this week:

Epigram: The secret to dealing with October’s twists and turns? It’s to recognise this as a period of change and, because of that, to acknowledge even simple plans won’t last long. That being the case, forget about getting things just right. Instead, make tentative arrangements. You might even decide to be adventurous. At minimum, you’ll learn something. Actually, those insights won’t just be informative, they could be life-changing.

Take advantage of some positive communication trends to win over a friend or partner who has been dithering over joint plans. It will feel good to finally agree on what must be done and to conclude this agreement. You should have plenty to celebrate when a promotion or increase in salary will mean you can make some beneficial changes to your domestic scene. Family life will be relaxed and harmonious in the weekend.

For the first time since 2006, (and before that in 1989 and in 1974), the Sun and Mars align in your sign. The fact that they do so just a couple of days after Wednesday’s Libra New Moon, suggests you will be primed to push the boat out. Remember, Mars is the energising planet. Relationship -wise it seems you’re ready to move forward – but in altered direction. Note that Mercury is still retrograde in your sign. Full progress might not be made until mid-month. That said, with Pluto arriving at its direct station, and Venus, your ruling planet, moving into Sagittarius mid-week, the potential for you to make contacts and/or to reach out to those you’ve done business with in the past, but who are now some distance away, is much, much increased. Making arrangements and plans for 2022 should be high on your agenda. The important thing is to realise that you are at the helm.

Scorpio & Ophiuchus

Personal theme: I desire!!

Water & fixed signs: October 23 — November 21

Your horoscope for this week:

Epigram: You always try to spot and deal with obstacles, whatever their nature, from tricky individuals to complicated circumstances swiftly. Now, however, it’s about recognising that often the most complicated of difficulties is actually a gift, in the form of an opportunity to delve into, and learn about, certain persistent difficulties. You’ve been wishing these would vanish. The secret? It’s to explore them in depth.

You can put the final touches to a difficult and demanding project. Praise will come our way for a job well done. A senior colleague who has hardly noticed you is starting to realise how good you are at your job. An unexpected invitation from a distance could be the opportunity you have been waiting for to expand your social horizons. Mutual money prospects prosper later on when a partner’s good fortune will rub off on you.

Yours is one of the Water signs: suggesting a fertile imagination that sometimes goes into overdrive. It might help to think back to 2006, 1989 and 1974. Those with the years when the Sun last conjoined with Mars in your neighbouring sign, Libra. There are never exact repeats but it’s worthwhile considering the enterprises you were involved in then and how you reacted. View this as being the beginning of a long cycle. That this conjunction comes within hours of Venus moving into neighbouring Sagittarius, and as Pluto, one of your ruling planets, arrives at its direct station, suggests you could yet open up a useful second revenue stream. Certainly, it seems likely that your input at meetings focused on design and development will be much appreciated. It might also be that before the end of this week, and boosted by the arrival of a colleague who is similarly talented, that you will be asked to join forces and prepare for a presentation next week.

Sagittarius

Personal theme: I see!!

Fire sign: November 22 — December 21

Your horoscope for this week:

Epigram: As a quick-thinking and fast-moving Sagittarius, you dislike wasting time on debate. You prefer to make plans or commitments, then learn from experience. However, with the foundation on which October’s plans are based shifting, frequently and often dramatically, you’re left juggling a range of options. The solution? Relax and actually enjoy the fact you’ve time to explore options and meet people. Lasting plans? Not for now.

You could reach an important turning point in your financial affairs. Family life is changing slightly and this will call for a thoughtful decision concerning the domestic budget. Because this is something you aren’t rushing into, you will know you are making the right choice. Your job or new social commitments may involve entertaining clients or officials from time to time and this gives you a great excuse to splash out on some new clothes and spruce up your wardrobe.

It’s worth thinking back to 2006, and prior to that 1989, and before that, 1974! In those years, the Sun and Mars aligned in Libra. Though not your sign, there is still impact. This conjunction takes place again just after Wednesday’s Libra New Moon and will likely usher in a new phase as regards your position within a group or association. True, progress might not be made until Mercury is no longer retrograde midmonth. It should however, be clear that your status is somewhat altered. Bear in mind that this New Moon coincides with Pluto’s direct station and Venus’ entry into your sign. It would be understandable if all eyes were on you and on your considerable expertise. Expect to be asked for your opinion but anticipate too, that it could be at least a week before others take the action which you know will be necessary. In short, the cosmos may be setting you a test in patience (again!) whilst at the same time putting rocket fuel in your tank.

Capricorn

Personal theme: I use!!

Earth & cardinal sign: December 22 — January 19

Your horoscope for this week:

Epigram: You’re superb at keeping up with the facts. Not only do you know what’s what, others seek your guidance; but now, with each day bringing changes, even you are confused. Yet you’ve spotted trends, those both explain the current chaos and better yet, suggest when, and how, breakthroughs are coming. Until then? Declutter your life and thinking. This prepares you for what’s next.

People will praise you for your recent hard-working efforts. Where you might get a little dispirited is when a newcomer in the workplace starts to take the limelight. Don’t let your feelings show. You both have the abilities or knowledge needed for a job you are taking on jointly so be willing to combine forces and enjoy the shared rewards. A friend or neighbour will give you a favourable answer to a request you make in the weekend.

It would be understandable if you felt that you are waiting for others to make their move. They may not do that until after Wednesday’s Libra New Moon. This is no ordinary lunation: it coincides with Pluto (presently passing through your sign), arriving at its direct station. Your need to see things happen will likely be very strong indeed; but there’s more: within hours, the Sun conjoins with Mars – also in the career sector of your solar chart. It last did that in 2006, and before that in 1989, and prior to that 1974. If those were meaningful years, then anticipate that 2021 will be similarly so. That said, the cosmos never does exact repeats. What’s important this time – and especially since Mercury is retrograde in this same area, – is that you give others time to accept an evolving situation and to unravel an administrative muddle. If only they’d listened to you earlier.

Aquarius

Personal theme: I know!!

Air & fixed sign: January 20 — February 18

Your horoscope for this week:

Epigram: Once you understand you’re in an unsettled period, instead of gathering facts with the aim of making wise decisions, you’ll back off, relax and see what happens. This uncharacteristically easy-going approach both allows you to take a well-earned break and, equally, review your recent activities and future plans. You’ll be surprised how many you’re ready, if not eager, to change. Still, take it easy. There’s no rush.

You can be very convincing when you turn on the charm and whatever you ask of others, it will be hard for them to turn you down. Embrace a new opportunity with confidence and your enthusiasm will inspire your family and friends to join you in this venture. Expect to feel compassionate towards those in need. A fund-raising event will be a huge success. A relative will be depending on you for some practical advice as the week ends.

It’s worth thinking back to 2006, 1989 and prior to that 1974. These were the last three occasions when the Sun and Mars aligned in another of the Air signs, Libra. That conjunction occurs again later this week – just after Wednesday’s Libra New Moon. It’s likely that in those previous years, your thirst for knowledge was much increased. It might also be that your social world expanded and/or that you became involved with groups who shared your outlook. A similar trend applies this week. The cosmos never does exact repeats and, in this case, Mercury is retrograde until midmonth. It might be useful to use these next two weeks to assess the availability of courses and to make tentative introductions. There is no need to rush. What you’re doing is building support. Given that Saturn is slowly coming to its station in your sign, decisions taken now will likely be extra important, carrying weight for the next three decades.

Pisces

Personal theme: I believe!!

Water sign: February 19 — March 20

Your horoscope for this week:

Epigram: Usually you sense who’d truly benefit from your support, versus those who complain just to see what happens. Now, however, it’s you who needs to seek support. While in some cases others will have noted the situation and suggested options, in a few you’ve been suffering in silence. Don’t. Not only are certain individuals able to help, they’re eager to do all they can.

Your bubbling enthusiasm for life will lead naturally to an energetic social scene. The week will not lack moments of pleasure and leisure not to mention some wonderfully romantic evenings. A friend who always has an eye for a bargain will put you on to the whereabouts of a great travel offer. Even if you had no such plans, don’t look a gift horse in the mouth. The domestic scene will be generally harmonious though your social life will be hectic at times.

Wednesday’s Libra New Moon is followed by Venus’ arrival at the apex of your solar chart. This suggests you might ‘fall in love’ with a project. Certainly, the wind should be behind your sails career wise. This lunation is followed by a Sun- Mars conjunction in that same sign. These conjunctions don’t happen every year: the last was in 2006, prior to that in 1989, and prior to that in 1974. It may be that your financial direction was altered in those years. The cosmos doesn’t do exact repeats, but what you learn mid-week could alter your attitude substantially. This New Moon coincides with Pluto arriving at its station. It may be that there is a tax or other government inspired incentive that should taken up. With others commenting on the fact that you’ve yet to realise your full potential, it likely won’t take much to persuade you to revive an old interest or talent either.

~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
http://GoddessSchool.com
Healing Arts and Pagan Studies
http://Goddessschool.com/Paganstudies/index.html
http://Goddessschool.com/Paganstudies/healingarts.html

The GoddessSchool ~ http://GoddessSchool.com

  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!
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

By GrannyMoon Posted in Pagan

GrannyMoon’s Weekly Feast: 26 Sept 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:

Waning Moon Magick: From three-and-a-half to ten-and-a-half days after the full moon. From the Full Moon to the New is a time for study, meditation, and magic designed to banish harmful energies and habits.

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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The Celtic Tree Calendar – VINE – SEPT 2 TO SEPT 29

GODDESS MONTH OF MALA – Sept 6- Oct 2

Herb of the Year for 2021: Parsley (Petroselinum crispum, named by the International Herb Association.

SEP. 26 – Oct 5: Navaratri, Hindu Festival of the Great Goddess – Huge holiday in India when Goddess destroys evil and restores cosmic order
Mesopotamian Day of the Sheepfolds: sacrifice to Goat God Azazel.

SEP. 27: Mesopotamian Day of the Willows: Festival of Astarte/Asherah

SEP. 29: Greek Festival Of Nemesis: Goddess of Fate

OCTOBER
OCT. 2:
Feast of the Guardian Spirits—honoring spirit guides and helpers

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Coming in October
Sunday Classes with GrannyMoon at Sticks and Stones, Fairfax, VA

03: Face to Face Class: 1–3:00 ~ WitchCrafting
10: Face to Face Class: 1–3:00 ~ The Herbal Cauldron
17: 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 membersvcomplete each level.

Level I – Initiate of the Sisters of the Burning Branch – White cord
Level II – Adept of the 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!

Treat headaches with herbs. You’re reading, driving, working, cooking—and whoomf! a headache happens. For ordinary headaches caused by the stresses and strains of daily life, a calming cup of herbal tea may be all you need to restore your equilibrium. Use these dried headache herbs, brewed with 1 cup boiling water and sweetened with honey:

Lavender, lemon balm, meadowsweet, ½ teaspoon each
Sage, rosemary, mint, ½ teaspoon each
Rosemary, marjoram, peppermint, ½ teaspoon each
A cool lavender compress for the temples and a quiet rest in a dark room may also give you the relief you need.

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 to 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 the entire Healing Arts Course (1-3)for $150.00, 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
September 27, 2021 – October 3, 2021
Coventry Creations 202

The final week of September is action-packed and filled with energy with 6 planetary aspects and Mercury the trickster god turns retrograde.

Check your plans, back up electronic devices, and avoid signing contracts starting on Monday because Mercury turns retrograde in Libra. You can expect the ‘dreaded exes’ to flood out of their caves and business rivals to be up to their usual tricks. Avoid getting distracted with pettiness.

During the middle of the week, the Sun forms a lovely trine to Saturn in Aquarius. This is a great time to create order by developing systems that help your life run more effectively. Taking care of responsibilities should be relatively easy but keep your eye on communications with others because Mercury can befuddle the best of agreements.

This weekend, problems or difficulties with others may resurface as Mercury once again squares power-hungry Pluto. In this case, arguments and debates will accomplish little, so it’s best to walk away.

Recommended: Mercury Retrograde Neutralizer (Astro Magic), Stability (Blessed Herbal), Problem Solving (Blessed Herbal), Bitch Be Gone (Dorothy Morrison’s Wicked Witch Mojo).

Here’s what you missed on CoventryCreations.com this week…
It’s never too early to grab that Limited Edition Halloween

Last month we focused on finding our destiny. This month it’s all about putting that plan into action. This moment of building is not only about building your future or professional desires but building selfcare into your life. We make time for the things that are important, now it’s time to make yourself important! After a year and a half of panic, refocus your attention on yourself, your inner peace, and building new habits to sustain that peace.

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Autumn’s Beauty

As the days grow shorter, we tend to acknowledge the changing season without understanding that we, too, are in transition.

The birth of autumn is an event missed by many. Autumn reveals itself slowly, hovering on the edges of our consciousness until its crisp breezes are strong enough to pierce our summer clothing, and we notice for the first time the transformations taking place all around us. It is only when the last fruits and vegetables have emerged in the crisp tangy air and the trees have begun to deck themselves in shifting patterns of crimson and gold that we internalize that fall has indeed returned. Autumn is invigorating and a time to gather our thoughts, in the same way that we might once have collected crops. Just as animals collect acorns to store them, we reap the fruit of our accomplishments. Autumn also ushers in a new slowness of being for most of us, as the tone and tempo of our lives change along with those of all of Mother Earth’s children.

As the days grow shorter and the blossoms that brightened our gardens through summer’s heat begin to droop and wilt, we tend to acknowledge the changing season without understanding that we, too, are in transition. The brilliance of autumn’s foliage, the flocks of southbound geese honking overhead, and the arrival of a bountiful harvest are all signs that our lives will soon be changing. Whether the season’s cooler days are a prelude to a cold winter or a long stretch of sweater weather, we feel obliged to slow down and take stock of our lives. Autumn’s pleasures and rituals revolve around the gathering of abundance in preparation for the winter to come. There is ample time to contemplate what we accomplished during the warmer seasons while tasting the year’s first cider or breathing in the sweet fragrance of leaves breaking down. The same stirring that inspires animals to burrow deep into the earth compels us to celebrate the rich bounty we instinctively know will not appear again until springtime.

Appearances deceive in autumn. The transformations undergone by living beings seem much more like endings than the transitions they really are. Dormancy, not death, is the hallmark of fall. Your priorities will likely change as nature flares into sunset brilliance and then lapses slowly into slumber, but remember to rejoice in the beauty of nature where every finale serves as an overture for a new beginning.

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Llewellyn’s Spell A Day

Wind Power
SEPTEMBER 26, 2021 BY SAPPHIRE MOONBEAM

As the seasons change and the strong winds blow, here is a spell to help you release the things that no longer serve you. On a windy day, utilize the force and power of this nature element. Go outside and stand in a spot where there is a strong wind. Stretch your arms out wide, close your eyes, and visualize in your mind’s eye anything and everything that no longer serves your highest good falling away from you and disappearing into the wind. Say these words silently in your mind or out loud:

As the wind surrounds me, help
me be free of all the things in my
life that no longer serve me.

After you have said this chant, visualize yourself embracing this strong air element and welcome the winds of change.
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Altar Cleansing
SEPTEMBER 25, 2021 BY EMBER GRANT

It’s a good idea to cleanse your altar on a regular basis to remove any lingering negative energy. Remove all the items and use a cleaner made from natural ingredients to remove dust and dirt. Then prepare this mixture for energy cleansing:

  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 sprig of fresh rosemary

Add the mixture to a spray bottle, shake well, and mist your altar as you chant the following:

Clean and clear,
Clean and clear,
Negativity disappear!

Wipe your altar dry and replace all the items—but make sure you clean those as well.
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Roots of Nourishment
SEPTEMBER 24, 2021 BY MICHAEL FURIE

Though most meditative practices that focus on energetic roots are designed to ground and release, in nature the roots of a plant not only provide grounding and a strong foundation but also absorb vital nutrients and water from the earth. This spell calls upon the earth to exchange any incorrect or harmful energies that you may have, replacing them with new, healthy energy.

To begin, sit comfortably, close your eyes, and meditate. Begin to do a standard grounding by mentally sending etheric roots from your body into the ground. When you have reached this state, change your focus and then pull energy back up from the earth with the intention that this earth power will vitalize, nourish, and heal your mind, body, and spirit. Dwell in this state for as long as desired, then retract your roots and come out of the meditation.
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Into the Dark Spell
SEPTEMBER 23, 2021 BY JAMES KAMBOS

Now we enter the dark season. This is the time to get rid of any problems in your life—bad habits, relationships, jobs, etc. Perform this spell after dark. You’ll need a silver ink pen or marker, a sheet of black construction paper, a heatproof container or cauldron, and a black candle.

First, write your problem on the paper. Read it aloud. Next, tear the paper into pieces and place them in the container/cauldron. Then safely light the candle. Now ignite the paper scraps with the candle flame as you say:

Hear me, season of the dark.
Consume my problems with this spark.
Paper, burn until you turn to ash.
Now I’m free of this problem at last!

When the ashes cool, throw them outside on the ground or in the trash. Extinguish the candle. When it’s cool, throw it away.
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Put the Trees to Sleep
SEPTEMBER 22, 2021 BY KATE FREULER

As a tree hugger, it seems logical to me to send trees love and peace at the end of their growing season. After all, they give us shade, oxygen, fruit, and more.

The Fall Equinox marks the day when the Wheel of the Year starts to turn toward the dark months. It’s a perfect time to send some love and gratitude to ancient tree spirits, as soon they will lose their leaves and go dormant for the winter.

For this spell you will need 3 cups water in a pot and ½ cup each dried lavender, rose petals, and chamomile.

Bring the water to a boil on the stove, and add the herbs. Simmer for five minutes, then remove from the heat and let cool. Strain the mixture into a pitcher and go outdoors where your favorite trees live.

Pour a bit of the brew at the base of as many tree trunks as you like. Think about what they’ve provided over the summer, and feel gratitude for each one individually as you pour. Tree spirits will be able to feel the appreciation in your offering and thoughts, which is a nice way to be put to bed for the winter.
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Eat an Apple
SEPTEMBER 21, 2021 BY EMYME

So many spells, incantations, and charms center around apples. Peel an apple in one long strip and toss it over your shoulder. The letter that the peel on the ground resembles is said to be the first letter of the name of your destined true love. This is a simplified version of a love spell found in numerous sources.

That is all well and good, but even better, eat an apple today. What an abundance there is from which to choose! Perhaps you already have a favorite, but if you have little experience with apples, explore the many possibilities. Consider a trip to your local farmers’ market or orchards. Get on that hay wagon with a group of like-minded folks, pick to your heart’s delight, and enjoy the fruits of your labors for days to come. In 2019 a new apple, the Cosmic Crisp, was introduced. Johnny Appleseed would be amazed!
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Full Moon in Pisces Tea Charm
SEPTEMBER 20, 2021 BY DEVIN HUNTER

The full moon today is in one of the most auspicious signs for magic, mysticism, and all things psychic—Pisces! It’s the perfect time to perform acts of divination, to cross the hedge, to practice soul and astral body travel, and to listen to your instincts. Your magic today should reflect your internal needs at the moment, as Pisces makes us pay attention to such things. To help make those clear, here is a tea charm.

In a teacup, add one tablespoon of dried lavender, one whole small apple (cored and diced), a pinch of clove, and a tablespoon of honey. Fill with boiling water three-quarters of the way and let steep for five minutes. Before sipping, draw a pentacle over the cup in the air with your index finger and say:

Reveal to me the true desires within.

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Heartwings Love Notes 1001 Fall is on the Way

Heartwings says, “Let us celebrate the change of seasons.”

The change of seasons has begun. I noticed it first in late August. I was traveling to Westborough near the end of old Westborough Road, when by the side of the road a branch of red leaves flamed among the green. When we lived on Warren St. I had a window from which each fall I would see the same thing: the first stroke of autumn’s paintbrush telling me the changes had begun.

Fall is my favorite season. I enjoy the crisper air, my appetite perks up, and I can wear my nice sweaters and the warm clothes I am fond of. It is associated in my mind with newness. As a child, I enjoyed the fresh new notebooks and school supplies, unbroken crayons, sharp pencils. Late on when I was a mom, I sewed dresses for the first day of school for my little girls. Now I enjoy watching the leaves turn, some slowly, others later on almost overnight.

On our calendars, autumn began on the 22nd. Then there’s the ancient Celtic calendar which has fall beginning on August 1st or 2nd, and the equinox as mid fall. In certain respects, all calendars aside, to me fall is a state of mind. It is a season of change, of transition. For some it begins when children start back to school. For others, Labor Day marks its beginning. In Australia it’s spring, also season of transition.

Here in New England the long days of summer have shortened. The green of the leaves has darkened, and their freshness has dwindled. They look tired, even faded, hanging listlessly. Birds are eating more. Perhaps they are stocking up for a trip. With seasonal change, animals’ fur thickens. Humans go shopping get their warm things out of storage.

I appreciate my food more. As the weather cools off, I do more cooking and baking as well as eating. It’s fun to try new recipes. I have little to no interest in cooking or baking during the summer heat. Better yet, it’s fun to snuggle under the feather quilt, back on the bed. I know many will experience the onset of fall with regret, but for me, the change of season is welcome.

May you enjoy your fall days to the fullest.

Blessings and best regards, Tasha Halpert

Do you like fall or do have another favorite season? Do write and tell me, I cherish your emails, dear readers. Please do also check my web site at http://www.heeartwingsandfriends.com. And write me at tashahal@Aol.com .

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Sacred Gardening: A Druid’s Spiritual Approach to Weeding and Clearing Plants
by Dana

A shrine for the spirits of nature in a new outdoor kitchen area

Druids revere all nature as sacred–but what happens when you need to weed your garden? What happens when you need to clear a new area for a project where lots of things are growing? Is there a way to clear plants or trees honorably and with reverence? In fact, there certainly is! In today’s post, I’ll walk through some simple suggestions for how to weed and clear plants respectfully and with reverence. This is all part of my philosophy of Sacred Action, or bringing earth-honoring, care-oriented activities into our every day life (if you are interested in this concept, check out my Sacred Actions book!). This is part of what sacred gardening, creating a true Druid’s garden, is all about!

Our big project this year was starting to build an wood-fired, naturally built outdoor kitchen with a maple sap boiler/grill, an earth oven, a small pavilion and set of rocket stoves (this is an ongoing project and I’ll share more about it in upcoming posts). In order to do this, we had to clear a small bit of land. Where we are situating our outdoor kitchen is on the edge of a clearing with a shaded overstory, just as the forest begins. The tentative plan for our earth oven was about 6′ into an area with some brush and small trees. We were hoping to use this spot for the earth oven because sometimes we get bad winds from the fields that are to the south-west of our home, and by locating it slightly in the brush, it would allow us to provide it some additional shielding from the elements. But, this particular spot required me to clear a small 5′ path and about an 7 foot round area in the brush–assuming the spirits of the land and plants agreed. I’ll walk through the general principles using the clearing of my earth oven space as an example.

  1. Recognize the agency and sanctity of nature by seeking permission and offering gratitude.
    An offering bag near some garden weeds that will be cleared

One of the first things to remember is that if we are going to cultivate reciprocal relationships with nature, we must treat nature with respect, reverence and recognize nature’s own agency. This means we do not take from nature without permission (treating her with the same respect you would do any other person. There are different levels of permission: one-time permission and ongoing permission.

Getting permission for anything is twofold: seeking it and allowing the necessary time for negotiation and conversation. Don’t expect to get permission to clear a large area of land 5 minutes before you want to clear it. Seeking permission begins with simply spending time engaging with spirits of the land and explaining what you want to do and why. Explain what you would like to do and how you will do it. See what results from this converation: sometimes you can get a clear go-ahead, while other times, the spirits may want something in response (e.g. clear this area but leave this area to grow wild; build this shrine, use everything that you’ve cleared, etc).

If you are clearing for a permanent space (such as a garden, outdoor kitchen, home, etc) you can seek a blanket permission statement. This means that you have the general permission to create the garden and then keep it as a garden, clearing as necessary.

Two months before starting construction of the earth oven, I began by asking permission. I started by making an offering at the space I wished to clear and speaking aloud what I would like to do, where the boundaries of it were to be, and why. I asked the spirits to think about my request. A week later, I returned to the spot and we started discussing. I came back several times over the course of a few weeks and after that, I received the confirmation that I was permitted to proceed. As part of this negotiation, I was told that each plant species would have something different they would like me to do as I cleared.

  1. Setting Boundaries for Activities
    As part of your request, make it clear what you plan on doing and how long this agreement lasts. For example, if you are cultivating a garden, make it clear that you would like permission to tend this garden throughout the year and weed any plants that come up in the garden that you haven’t planted, etc. This allows you to set some clear boundaries for the kinds of activities you will engage in over time. You can also set boundaries about other things, such as not using any chemical sprays, etc. The idea here is that you will make a clear agreement with the spirits of the land that you are both satisfied with so that you can proceed.

In the case of our earth oven, I agreed to tend the path and boundaries of our earth oven space and also to cut back some of the surrounding areas if they grew too close to the oven, always asking the plants’ permission. We established where the areas of the other outdoor kitchen were to be before proceeding. I was also asked to build two smalls shrines, one to invite the spirits of the hearth to join us (see the first image in this post) and a hidden shrine to honor the earth elementals.

You also may need to negotiate with specific dominant plant species in an area. For example, in the case of our garden, I’ve made it clear that dandelions are welcome to grow anywhere, but I will be harvesting any within our garden areas for making food or medicine for ourselves and our animals. But, any dandelions that grow outside of the bounds of the garden will be undisturbed (unless I further sought permission to harvest them for a different purpose, which would be a different negotiation).

  1. Clear mindfully and listen to the voices of nature as to how to use cleared material.
    Once you have permission to clear an area, establish a garden, or weed regularly, the next step is to start clearing it in a way that is reverent and respectful. I like to call this “mindful” clearing. I’m going to clear in a gentle manner, pulling out each plant, checking in with each plant to see how they would like me to proceed (cut you off at the root? Harvest the root? Put you in the compost pile? Feed you to the geese?). Thus, as I clear, I am also engaging in deep connection with the plants and hearing their voices for how to proceed. As I do this, I continue to make offerings, I sing songs, and I raise good energy for the work I am doing. Beginning to clear the area for the earth oven

I work to do as much clearing without the aid of fossil fuels as possible, relying on hand tools, as this allows me to get closer to the individual plants I am clearing. Once in a great while, I do have to use a battery-powered lopper or chainsaw, and I let the spirits of nature know what I am doing before I do anything.

So in the clearing of my earth oven space, I spent about 2 hours clearing the space, while I was in a meditative place. Using movement meditation, I cleared my mind as I cleared down to the soil, making sure that each plant I was clearing had a chance to share what they would like to see happen. I ended up transplanting several wild yams into another section of the forest. The Allegheny Blackberry asked me to take their roots and use them for magic (they have been teaching me their magic for many years now) and to compost their stems and leaves. The small spicebush asked to be potted and given away. The Virginia Creeper had me pull out enough to clear, asking me to make a small wreath of her and then place that wreath on the altar. And so it went with each of the plants in this space, where I listened to their voices and did my best to honor their requests. In the end, I had not only a cleared space but new magical plant knowledge and several roots for my spiritual practices.

I do the same thing in my garden as I am regularly weeding and tending. While I don’t necessarily need steps 1 and 2 each time I got into weed the garden, when I am weeding, I am still listening to the voices of the plants and honoring what they would like me to do with them. I am treating them in reverence and respect, even as I clear them.

Eventually, you may find that even the most dominant weed can be negotiated with to grow elsewhere.

Doing these practices in this way allows you to both hear what the plant spirits may offer you as well as give you a chance to learn some of the uses of common plants in your area. For example, if you are clearing a garden, many garden “weeds” have tremendous herbal and edible uses including lambs quarters, ground ivy, pursuance, dandelion, red clover, chickweed, and wood sorrel, to name a few. If you are pulling out something and you don’t know what it is, take a few minutes to learn and do what you can to make use of that plant for food, medicine, crafts, or spiritual purposes.

  1. End in Gratitude
    Wood Sorrel Wood Sorrel, garden weed, delicious food!

Finalize your work each day in gratitude–gratitude for the land itself, the soil, and any plants or materials that were moved or pulled as part of the work you were doing. Recognize the sacrifice that these plants have made and honor them. You can practice gratitude by making offerings (such as this offering blend), drumming, dancing, doing a land blessing ceremony, or any other number of things.

In the case of my earth oven, the end of the clearing, I again sat with the space and honored it with flute music and offerings. I meditated to see if there were any additional messages, and if not, I continued to work on the project. The next steps in the project were to create a draining gravel foundation to prevent frost heaving, and so when I went back to the site a few days later to start removing soil and subsoil, I made sure to continue to make offerings at the shrine I built and continue to offer gratitude.

Conclusion
As the above explores, the key to honoring nature while also tending spaces, weeding, or clearing land has to do with the approach. Rather than immediately moving into clearing, spend time honoring the spirits of the land first, the physical bodies of the plants to clear, and take your time to make sure you are engaged in reverence and respect. This kind of practice integrates spiritual practice with everyday life in the practice of sacred action, and can certainly deepen our own relationship to our immediate landscapes.

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Create a Supportive Life Story

While we are on earth, we are all human beings in different phases of our lives and soul development.

We all have our own life story. It is filled with relationships and events that help shape who we are and what we believe to be true about the world. Depending on our perspective and willingness to grow, our experiences can become fodder for negativity and patterns of playing the victim, or they can fuel a life of empowerment and continued self-development. It is the story we tell ourselves about what happens that makes all the difference.

Take a moment to look at the life story you create for yourself on an ongoing basis. If you generally feel peaceful about the past and trust in your ability to handle whatever comes your way, then you are framing circumstances in a manner that serves you well. On the other hand, if you retain a lot of guilt or resentment and often feel weighed down by life, you may want to start telling yourself a new version of past and present events. No matter who the characters are in your story or what they have done, you are the only one who can give their actions the meaning they will have for you. You are the only one who can define what role you will play in your own life. By taking responsibility for your story, you are able to learn and grow, forgive and find compassion, and most importantly, move on into a brighter future.

From now on, you can choose a life story that supports you. Let it be proof of your own resilience and creativity. Be kind with the roles you give yourself and generous with how many chances you get to learn what you need to know. When you remember that you are the author of your own story, you are free to create a masterpiece.

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Big Steps On Life’s Path

There is freedom that comes with awareness, because with it comes the opportunity to make a choice.

Life is a journey comprised of many steps on our personal path that takes us down a winding road of constant evolution. And each day, we are provided with a myriad of opportunities that can allow us to transform into our next best selves. One moment we are presented with an opportunity to react differently when yet another someone in our life rubs us the wrong way; on another day we may find ourselves wanting to walk away from a particular circumstance but are not sure if we can. Eventually, we may find ourselves stuck in a rut that we can never seem to get out of. We may even make the same choices over and over again because we don’t know how to choose otherwise. Rather than moving us forward, our personal paths may take us in a seemingly never-ending circle where our actions and choices lead us nowhere but to where we’ve already been. It is during these moments that awareness can be the first step to change.

Awareness is when we are able to realize what we are doing. We observe ourselves, noticing our reactions, actions, and choices as if we were a detached viewer. Awareness is the first step to change because we can’t make a change unless we are aware that one needs to be made in the first place. We can then begin understanding why we are doing what we are doing. Afterward, it becomes difficult not to change because we are no longer asleep to the truth behind our behaviors. We also begin to realize that, just as much as we are the root source behind the causes for our behaviors, we are also the originator for any changes that we want to happen.

There is a freedom that comes with awareness. Rather than thinking that we are stuck in a repetitive cycle where there is no escape, we begin to see that we very much play a hand in creating our lives. Whether we are aware of them or not, our behaviors and choices are always ours to make. Our past and our present no longer have to dictate our future when we choose to be aware. We are then free to move beyond our old limits, make new choices, and take new actions. With awareness, our paths can’t help but wind us forward in our lives while paving the way for new experiences and new ways of being. It is through awareness that we can continue to consciously evolve.

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Feeling Stressed Out? Try Passionflower

Derived from Passiflora incarnate, a plant native to the southeastern United States, passionflower preparations are calming without being sedating. It is also commonly used to address over-stimulating stress and anxiety, offering a calming solution. This plant can be especially helpful when trying to cram for exams, reach time-sensitive deadlines at work, or need gentle sleep support.

Obviously as our world continues to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, finding opportunities to calm yourself become essential. This herbal support should be paired with taking time to press pause in your day, do a bit of relaxation breathing and bring yourself into balance. While providing some internal peace, breathing exercises will allow your immune system to be at its best as well.

Passionflower products are available as supplements and tinctures, as a tea, and even as a topical application that can be used to address inflammation and burns.

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Gilberto Rides Again
by Stephen Halpert

Chapter 20

Gilberto was upset. Maria didn’t take his side concerning Mona’s fascination with ants and worse, her wanting a pet white mouse. He decided to put his foot down. At breakfast the next day, he looked hard at Mona. “I said No mouse in this condo. You understand what I’m saying? You bring one home and I’ll fling it out the window.”
Tears filled her eyes. Gilberto felt terrible, but he held firm. How could he back down? No, he didn’t want to. No mice!
Maria looked from one to the other and finally backed up Gilberto. “You heard your father.”
“I don’t care. I want a pet white mouse.”
“How about a hamster,” Maria tried. “Maybe even a pair.”
But Mona shook her head no. “Hamsters smell and mess all over their cages. None of my friends like hamsters, or gerbils. They smell even worse,” she proclaimed.
“But they like white rats? Gilberto said calmly.
Mona said nothing. “Please mama I’ll keep it in my room and daddy will never have to even see it.”
“That’s not the point,” Gilberto said, his jaw tight.
“Your father and I are agreed,” Maria said. Her tone signaled finality.
“When I grow up and have my own place I’ll have as many white rats as I want.”
“And I’ll never take one step into your rat-infested condo,” Gilberto said with finality. “If you have rats, I’ll never come to visit you.”
Mona burst into tears, jumped up and ran to Maria and threw her arms around her. “Please mommy,” she wailed. “Don’t let daddy be so mean.”
“I’m not being mean,” Gilberto shouted, his face red, his hand starring to shake. “Keeping a rat is crazy. Where do you get such crazy ideas?”
“Maybe you need to get to Atlas,” Maria said softly. She looked sympathetically at Mona. “Your Daddy means what he says.”
Mona sniffed. “Mean daddy. You’re being so mean.”
Gilberto rose from the table, kissed Maria, paid no attention to Mona.
Maria rose, followed after him. “Best to try not to be confrontational with her. She takes after you and is just as stubborn.”
He sighed, whispered. “Rats freak me out. Ever since I was a kid and saw them on the farm.”
“They don’t exactly thrill me either,” Maria said. “Our daughter wants to be a naturalist like Charles Darwin. Hopefully it’s just a phase.”
He frowned.
Maria grinned. “Better than a strip tease dancer. You wouldn’t like that would you?”
He frowned. “Or maybe an undertaker. Then she can dissect people.” He kissed her.
Laughter bloomed in her eyes. “You’re afraid it would escape from her room and jump into bed with us aren’t you.”
He grimaced. “Something like that.”
She kissed him. “I love you Gilberto. Please don’t worry. This too shall pass.”
Mona came to the doorway. “I love you daddy. Please don’t be mean anymore.”
He reached out and patted her head. “It’s OK Pumpkin, just let it go, OK?” With a kiss from Maria he headed out the door.
It was a bright sunny morning. Gilberto decided to walk to Atlas. He cut through the Public Gardens and crossed Arlington Street stopping at the newsstand for his morning paper.
Then he felt that that same sense of being followed. After walking two blocks up Boylston Street, he ducked into an alley and waited for whomever might appear. Moments later a man stumbled into the alley. His age was uncertain, his worn clothes reeked of booze. He hadn’t shaved and his hair was stringy. A derelict? Gilberto wasn’t sure he was what he appeared.
Carefully he pulled several ones from his pocket, let them slip from his hand and flutter to the ground. If this was really a bum, he’d head for the cash.
Seemingly unsure of his footing the derelict stumbled toward him. He may have seen the bills but didn’t stop to retrieve them.
Gilberto measured his distance, then said. “Good morning Mr. Midgley, fine day, isn’t it?”
The derelict paid no attention; he stared at Gilberto. Finally said, “Huh?”
“Mr. Midgley,” Gilbert persisted. “Sara’s deceased husband. That’s you, isn’t it?”
Squinting, his body swaying side to side, he drew closer to Gilberto.
Gilberto shifted his footing. “Can’t kid me,” he persisted, “Why not end this charade, let’s get coffee, get to know each other better.”
He mumbled something that sounded to Gilberto like a foreign language.
Gilberto watched patiently. “You can tell me all about it,” he tried. That’s when he saw the long-handled blade slide from the man’s sleeve into his hand.
Gilberto spun instantly, kicked hard at the left knee but missed. The drunk cried out, jumped back maintaining his hold of the long blade. He swung the blade at Gilberto again, missing twice before turning and darting from the alley back onto Arlington Street with Gilberto in pursuit. Despite seeming drunk, the man was swift. At the Arlington Street subway station he made an acrobatic dive down the stairs past the emerging crowd where he vanished in a wall of busily moving commuters.
Gilberto sighed turned and went on to Atlas.
“Why didn’t I use the camera on my phone,” he told Ramon. “That would have simplified things considerably.”
Ramon nodded. “You were too busy chasing him.”
“Whoever he is he’s graceful, maybe once a fancy dancer. He hid it well but I could sense his grace.””
“Acrobatic,” Ramon said. He called Sara’s line; they went to her office.”
“Foreign language?” she said. My husband was a linguist but I never knew him to use it in conversation.”
“Did he ever do theatre?” Ramon asked. “Any dramatics or acrobatics?”
She looked thoughtful. “Not that I know of, no I don’t think so.”
Gilberto nodded. “So we’re not sure if he was your deceased husband or not?”
Her face turned white. There was panic in her voice. “Do you think it’s him? Back from the dead to haunt me?”
“Might not be all that dead,” Gilberto said.
“Not to change the subject,” she said showing him a complicated legal form. As corporate council for Clay Calhoun Colonel Dimwittie is initiating a multi-million-dollar lawsuit against Atlas for breach of contract.”
(To be continued

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Kitty Kat’s Korner
Share your love for cats!

The Black Cat Mystique
By Sandy Robins, September 24, 2021

Cat book author and feline furniture designer Kate Benjamin lives with a clowder of black cats. Seven in all, with delightful names such as Jeremiah Beandip, Horacio Queso and Pico de Gato. She refers to them as her little house panthers, a term of endearment that has become a universal, modern-day homage to these felines whose mystique has earned them love and reverence since the ancient Egyptians treated them as gods.

Kate started dying her hair black when she adopted her first black cat, Ando, and named her business Hauspanther, adopting the German spelling haus as a reference to the Bauhaus, a birthplace of modern design.

In many places around the world, black cats are symbols of good luck and good fortune. Although, there are still superstitions labeling them as unlucky — and even evil — which make them targets of hatred and cruelty.

Kate is on a crusade to dispel the negative myths, instead promoting black cats to be the funny, friendly and endearing creatures they are.

Kate’s cat Jeremiah Beandip is a product tester, photo shoot model and shining testament to how cute and endearing black cats are. ©Kate Benjamin

Just The facts
Now that we’re in the 21st century, it’s really time to put superstitions to rest and instead look to modern-day science. There have been many studies about black cats relating to cats of other coat colors in terms of their personalities and behavior.

Dr. Liz Stelow, chief of the UC Davis veterinary hospital’s Behavior Service, has played an active role in this research and sums up her findings in a single sentence: “We did not find black cats to be more aggressive than other coat colors,” she says. “Further, we didn’t find that they stood out in other positive or negative ways, either.”

According to Dr. Gary Weitzman, president and CEO of San Diego Humane Society, black cats (and dogs) do tend to get overlooked by potential adopters.

“But it may not be as significant as we once thought,” he adds. “There are some studies that show that there are simply more black pets because black coloration is a dominant gene. Therefore, there are more black pets in shelters.”

Says Dr. Weitzman, who has authored nine books including How to Speak Cat, “At San Diego Humane Society, our length of stay is negligible for all black pets — 31 days for cats and 14 days for dogs versus pets of other colors — (27 days for cats and 15 days for dogs).

“Black pets still can be undeservedly overlooked by adopters, but the good news is an animal’s personality shines through no matter what color their coat is. And there are wonderful people who will only adopt black pets knowing this is growing,” he confirms.

There are others reasons why black cats can be overlooked by potential adopters. According to a report published by the British Broadcasting Corporation, they are the last to find homes because they don’t look good in selfies!

Changing Shelter Policies
“At San Diego Humane Society, we have a wonderful team of professional photographers who volunteer their time taking great photos of our adoptable animals,” Dr. Weitzman says. “Black animals are harder to photograph (selfie or not), so having their expertise is crucial in showcasing the beauty of all animals in our care.”

The organization, like many other shelters around the country, also holds special adoption promotions designed to give special attention to black pets. These events are usually tied to calendar days such as Black Friday, Black Cat Awareness Day and Black Dog Awareness Day.

However, in contrast to many shelter policies, San Diego Humane no longer prevents black animals from getting adopted during certain times of the year, like before Halloween, based on the fear they would be used in satanic rituals.

“It’s a total myth, and over the years has prevented hundreds of animals from finding good homes,” Dr. Weitzman says. “Putting up unnecessary and ineffective barriers isn’t the answer to protecting them.

“The reality is, San Diego, like most big urban areas, is filled with compassionate, animal-loving people who want to open their hearts and homes to animals. We want to let them do this! We want to empower them and provide resources that encourage adoption — not obstruct it.”

San Diego Humane Society also provides adopters with lifelong support to keep those pets in their homes. Says Dr. Weitzman: “This open approach to adoption is saving lives, which is resounding proof that sometimes, letting go a little can be the best way to share the love.”

Take to social media to dispel silly and outdated superstitions about our black feline friends.

Ask friends and family to share photos of their black cats on social media to highlight the joys of living with these black beauties.

Adopt a black cat yourself! “Don’t judge a cat by his or her color, get to know their personality first!” says Kate Benjamin. “In fact, all my cats have really cool, laid-back personalities. When going to adopt a cat, be open to all the possibilities. You never know who you will fall in love with.”

Expert Tips for Beautiful Black Cat Photos

You want your cat to look like the shining star she is, right? Whether you’re shooting with a cellphone or a fancy SLR camera, here are some tips to get the very best photographs possible of any house panther!

Set the scene. Don’t let clutter steal the show! Clear out any distractions from the area where you’ll be shooting. Sometimes you’ll need to sneak a photo in the moment and won’t have time, but your cat will always look better if you can brush away or lint roll any extra crumbs and loose cat hair on the surfaces around them. This might seem like a boring tip, but trust me when I say it’s a game changer!

Find your light. The most universally flattering lighting is natural light that is bright but indirect, like the light you see near a window. Indirect light is key, though: Direct sunlight creates harsh shadows and highlights. If you don’t have a great window, use a bright lamp or two to light the room. Be aware that each light source or bulb has a color tint known as its “temperature,” so if you’re seeing some funky colors in your photos, try a different type of light.

Play with contrast and color. For truly eye-catching photos, color and contrast are a black cat’s best friend! Use brightly colored throw pillows, blankets or even an interesting piece of fabric draped somewhere behind your cat. Any color or pattern you love can work, but it’s fun to try hues that match your cat’s eye color or a color that’s the complete opposite!

Experiment with angles. If all of your photos are taken while standing above your cat, you’re missing out on a lot of incredible shots! Instead, get comfy on the floor and shoot from their eye level, off to the side or slightly below them. Or get up close and personal for an ultra-close beauty shot! Certain angles will naturally create beautiful separation between your gorgeous subject and the background behind them, so play around and have fun trying new things!

— Erica Danger, cat photographer

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Georgia’s Weekly Horoscope: Sunday, September 26, 2021
https://www.georgianicols.com/

All Signs

This week we have a lot of energy and a lot of idealism. Mercury is now officially retrograde. Planetary configurations will be encouraging, and then perhaps challenging for some. (Expect fading energy and frustration at trying to deal with practical issues.) It’s a mixed bag! Best to start the week with baby steps. Shrink your ambitious goals and begin small. You can do small. Small will get done. Small is good because it is doable. We like small. This way if you take care of small tasks, later, you’ll be glad they were done. My piano teacher always said, “When you’re sweeping the floor, take care of the corners because the middle will always take care of itself.”

Aries (March 21-April 19)
This week, more than usual, you seem to be involved with the wealth and possessions of someone else or shared property – something that is jointly owned. This includes real estate and it also includes debt. You might be interested in fundraising, especially to help people who need assistance. You can be effective in dealing with groups (and classes) including interactions with friends. Your desire to help someone in need will set in motion something powerful and inevitable that will return to you. This means whatever you do this week will ultimately be mutually beneficial, even if it looks like it’s a one-way street of giving. Just do it! “Fresh horses and whiskey for my men!”

Taurus (April 20-May 20)
There’s no question that you are pulling out all stops trying to be as organized as you can be given the challenge of Mercury retrograde’s delays, misplaced items, mixed-up messages, confusion and broken equipment. Oy! Fortunately, your energy is focused and strong, which will help you to be productive. Heed the advice in All Signs above. Whatever plans or projects that you have in mind, break them into smaller increments and tackle them with baby steps to begin. If you do this, you will accomplish more this week than facing them head-on. Relations with partners and close friends are excellent this week. It’s a mutually receptive lovefest! Kiss, kiss; hug, hug.

Gemini (May 21-June 20)
You’re still in play mode! Fun times, invitations to socialize, sports events, activities with kids and anything to do with the arts and the entertainment world all beckon to you! At the beginning of the week, you think you want to do it all! By midweek, you will see realize what is a more realistic expectation. Therefore, pull in your reins. Complete small tasks first and do what you can. Relations with coworkers are excellent this week. You might help someone or vice versa they might help you. Work-related travel is also likely. Old flames are in your rearview mirror. Hiccups with social plans might occur. Give yourself wiggle-room to deal with the unexpected this week. Make your work space more attractive.

Cancer (June 21-July 22)
An interesting week! Family reunions and opportunities to get in touch with family you haven’t seen for a while are at hand. DIY projects might be stalled along with other ambitious plans at home. Therefore, start small at the beginning of the week, and accomplish what you can before fatigue or obstacles arise. Meanwhile, romance is sizzling this week! Not only will you delight socializing with special people, you will welcome any opportunity to express your creative talents. Accept invitations to party, dine and enjoy the company of others. This includes kids. If you’re active in a creative project, you can get a lot done!

Leo (July 23-Aug. 22)
This will be a busy week. Get as much as you can done — right at the beginning. Be happy to do part of what you hope to achieve. Your pace is busy and you’re eager to enlighten others about many things! Nevertheless, Mercury is retrograde and it will dog your steps. Car problems, missed appointments, traffic delays, lost messages, computer glitches, broken equipment and confused communications will be par for the course. Nevertheless, you will enjoy time at home. You will enjoy redecorating where you live. You will enjoy entertaining where you live. This will be your prize — grab it.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22)
You definitely have money on your mind this week – earnings, cash flow possessions and perhaps an important purchase. This is where it’s at for your sign right now. Fortunately, Venus is sitting nicely in your House of Communications, promoting your ability to sweettalk everyone. You will enjoy discussions with neighbours, siblings and relatives. You will enjoy the beauty of your daily surroundings. You will enjoy your popularity with others because you see they truly care for you – they’re glad to see your face. This is reassuring. It’s so nice when someone wants to see your face. Be extra clear in all your communications with others to avoid misunderstandings.

Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22)
It’s all about you dear Libra, with the Sun, retrograde Mercury and fiery Mars in your sign. Mercury is definitely retrograde starting this week, which means you will encounter ex-partners and old friends from the past in person, online or in your dreams. Mars along with the Sun will give you lots of energy! Nevertheless, there will be some fuzzy deflection from Neptune, which could rob you of some of your ambitious productivity. Therefore, start this week with a strong intention to get something done, but break it into smaller parts so that something is quickly doable. Meanwhile, you might attract money to you this week. You might also buy beautiful things for yourself or loved ones. Give serious thought to your moneymaking ideas.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21)
Continue to keep your head down this week because you are best served by working alone or behind the scenes. Fortunately, Mercury is officially retrograde now, which means any attempt to study history or pursue the past or dig for details in the past will probably be successful. Meanwhile, trust your hunches. If you encounter someone and you think they don’t have your best interests at heart – make a hasty retreat. Life is too short to hang around someone who doesn’t want the best for you. (We both know that.) It’s also important to remember that relationships are reciprocal: if someone benefits you, you will benefit them. It’s mutual. (I like that part.)

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 21)
This is a popular week for you! Many of you are involved with younger contacts – perhaps friends and members of groups and organizations from your past. It’s good to catch up on what’s been happening in other people’s lives. You might also be physically involved in a competition through sports or some other activity with others. (You might even play a take-charge role in this.) Enjoy schmoozing with others because this is a positive time for you. Meanwhile, some of you are involved in a secret love affair or something special that is going on behind the scenes. (It might relate to a family secret especially if it is related to drugs or alcohol.) It’s a bit hush hush.

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 19)
This is a strong time for you! The Sun, Mars and Mercury retrograde are all at the top of your chart, which calls attention to you! Specifically, the Sun makes you look excellent in the eyes of others. People admire you, especially people in authority. (We like!) With this kind of easy endorsement, now is the time to make your pitch and do what you can to advance your agenda. Mars this high in your chart, arouses your ambition, which means you have the courage to make your pitch. (Even better.) The placement of Venus now smooths relations with friends, groups and organizations, which means doors will open for you at this time. You have the advantage! It’s important that you know this so that you can use it to your benefit.

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 18)
Lately, you feel adventurous! You’re exploring new ideas, new philosophies, new belief systems and meeting people from different cultures and backgrounds. You’re flexing your intellectual muscles and learning more about what is possible. This new energy and drive make you want to travel and explore new places and meet new faces. However, Mercury retrograde will attract friends from the past to you, which is always a chance to talk about the bad old days and trade lies. Meanwhile, with Venus at the top of your chart, people in authority look kindly on you. They admire you. Someone might even ask for your advice about how to make something look more attractive. In fact, relations with bosses are so cozy, some of you will strike up a romance.

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20)
You continue to be focused on money, debt, inheritances, shared property, funding from the government, taxes and anything to do with your partner’s wealth or assets. The reason for this could be that some of you are disputing issues in these areas. Others might have old business from the past back on the table again. Travel plans look promising – no question. Some of you might strike up a romance with someone “different.” Meanwhile, let your confidence grow because good things are coming your way. Lucky Jupiter will be in your sign for the first five months of next year, which will definitely bring you good fortune and increase your optimism and sense of happiness! In fact, 2022-23 you’ll get richer! Ka-ching!

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Weekly Horoscopes Beginning Sunday, 26 September 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:

While both existing plans and new arrangements will fall into place magically, unexpected twists and turns are bound to slow the pace. The secret? Instead of seeking the swiftest solution, explore every option. Not only will you learn a lot, with retrograde Mercury triggering confusion, and often sudden changes, dealing with the unexpected could broaden your horizons in ways as exciting as they are surprising.

People will gather together to campaign against plans for your community that are causing a lot of contention. If you feel strongly about this issue, you will do your bit in trying to rally up more support. There is a competitive feel to your career and social environments. A senior colleague will be in a position to pull a few strings to help you achieve a goal but you must let them know your intentions.

On Monday, Mercury turns retrograde in your opposite sign. That doesn’t mean that others will turn their back on you and run away, but it does suggest altered thinking that prompts you to wonder what direction others are taking and whether or not you should go along with them. Don’t jump to too hasty conclusions. Mercury’s retrograde station is followed by a Last Quarter Moon in another of the Cardinal signs. For you, this marks a turning point in a journey that began about two years ago. (You could say that this is all pandemic related). Alterations in work schedules are inevitable. Yet here you could be marked out as a leader. You know how to take a fresh approach. For many years as Uranus passed through your sign (2011 and 2018), you developed futuristic ability and understanding of trends. Now is the time to harness that skill and talent. True, you might ruffle feathers in the process, yet there is every reason to think that it will be your progressive thoughts that have useful impact.

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

Your horoscope for this week:

When looking back on this week’s range of twists and turns, each will make sense. At the time, however, you could struggle to impose order seeming chaos. The secret? Understanding that what’s least expected will turn out best in the long run. Knowing that, you’ll do something out of character, and go with the flow. The value of that approach will be clearer, day by day.

Everyone needs time to relax and enjoy life. Voluntary and community groups are starting to provide more facilities to have fun while mixing and mingling. Be sure to make the most of these. Just be careful in your approach to financial affairs. New deals and contracts will affect you for better or worse depending on how much time and thought you put into them in the first place. It will be in your interest to take a considerate approach when dealing with others.

Mercury turns retrograde on Monday and in the ‘worker bee’ zone of your solar chart. Expect a task that you thought had left your desk to return. There could be some confusion about this because initially you might wonder what an earth has gone wrong. Note however that there is a Last Quarter Moon on Wednesday and it’s possible that if you were to look back over the last couple of years, then you’d see that an essential error was made right at the start of this project. It may not be too late to put things right, but the process might require that you make contact with someone who was there right at the beginning, but who has now moved on or is less available than they once were. It could take the better part of October to unravel this. The diligent approach you take and your awareness of the security levels that must be respected even as you adjust course, should mark you out as a valuable member of a team.

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

Your horoscope for this week:

If you’re into astrology, you’re probably aware your ruler, Mercury, is retrograde or in reverse motion from Monday the 27th. While this cycle has a reputation for triggering confusion, the insights you gain in the process won’t just be informative, some could be life-changing. The secret? Instead of seeking swift solutions, take your time. Explore absolutely every twist and turn. You’ll be amazed what you learn.

Your attention will turn to community affairs. The gap between the less well-off and the more advantaged seems to be widening. Plans are being put in place to give more people a chance to be treated fairly. Supporting a good cause will help restore a power imbalance. Someone you live with is making ambitious plans for the home. You will like their ideas but you need some time to prepare while they want to start on them immediately.

Your ruling planet, Mercury, turns retrograde on Monday and in another of the Air signs. As you probably know, Mercury has a track record for mischief-making. It doesn’t always turn retrograde in the same place and key to understanding what any effect might bring is to work out where activity is likely to be most marked. A strong possibility is that you will come up with an idea that has much mileage. Where things could go wrong is in the presentation! Take your time. It might seem to others that you’re changing your mind. It might also seem that the U-turn you seem bent on taking will prove costly for them. Arguing your case will likely be challenging. This though needs to be done before October 7; but yes, you could find yourself at cross purposes with someone who was so confident in the path that you were taking that they have difficulty accepting your proposed amendments. It all seems to come down to debate and arguing your case.

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

Your horoscope for this week:

It’s an unsettled period. However, your instincts are probably telling you that even sudden twists and turns are leading to breakthroughs. The secret? Being patient, enough you’re able to explore what arises in depth; but, also, recognise that what’s most beneficial could be unrecognisable initially or, alternatively, will emerge over time; and if others demand swift decisions? Tell them they’ll just have to wait.

A community group needs more support. You will be asked to attend a meeting on their behalf. Everyone will be waiting with bated breath for the outcome and the pressure is on, for you to do well. Big ideas need careful planning. Acting on a spontaneous whim could be a costly mistake. Some unpredictable events will have some people grumbling about their lot but not you. You have felt for a long time that certain issues were overdue a change.

Mercury turns retrograde on Monday, – and at the base of your solar chart. Anticipate many comings and goings both at work and at home. That could and should be exciting. Then there is Last Quarter Moon in your sign mid-week. It may be that matters that have been developing in the last couple of years come to their natural turning point. This may not be a bad thing but yes, given Mercury’s status, misunderstandings and confusion might need to be dealt with. The most promising news though is that something you’ve been working on since September 11 should show great promise. In fact, at least one colleague may feel you’ve got your finger on a new pulse and deems you to be the natural leader for a project they’d like to see launched in October.

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

Your horoscope for this week:

True, you enjoy others’ company; but when making decisions, you’re fiercely independent. This is tricky. Why? Because while you’ll often chat with those around you about ideas or potential plans, making them is another matter; and you’ll act independently. Usually that works well; but at the moment, you need either advice or support. Seek it out, listen and heed others’ suggestions. You won’t regret it.

People working for the community should not be subjected to abuse and attack. Whether voluntary or in the course of your employment, you do not come into work to be abused verbally or physically. Visual deterrents can help de-escalate these kinds of situations. Sometimes an act first and think about it later approach can work wonders and such a moment will occur as the week ends.

Unfinished business requiring reconnection and review dominates the next few days. Bear in mind that Mercury turns retrograde on Monday and that, facts may be incorrect. A more constructive approach is likely at Wednesday’s Last Quarter Moon though you might need to deal with someone in highly emotional state (a Cancer?). They may feel that their position or even their home is threatened. Coaxing them to think constructively could be this week’s biggest challenge. Yet you can and likely will accomplish this. Obviously much depends on your personal chart, but presently, all Leos seem tuned to under-currents and the sense that fresh approaches aren’t just needed they are vital if progress is to be made. In this respect, and before the weekend, it might be wise to think about organising meetings for soon after the New Moon on October 6 – giving you plenty of time to prepare and rehearse your arguments.

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

Your horoscope for this week:

Events triggered by the powerful Virgo Full Moon, on 7 September, will have kickstarted a range of plans, some straightforward, others complex but all exciting. While some have been finalised, you’re wrestling with several. This is annoying but also, offers an opportunity to think through both existing arrangements and whether you should reconsider your approach or, possibly, objectives. Do this now. It could change everything.

Issues will be discussed and addressed as people try to correct mistakes of the past. It will be important that you share your opinions when you are asked for them. Funding could be received following a successful pilot scheme. It will feel wonderful to have this investment into a worthy cause. A career change is in the offing. There will be none of the objections you had expected from your family.

It’s time to think about balancing the books. Mercury turns retrograde in neighbouring Libra on Monday. This accents one of the finance zones of your solar chart. Mercury (your ruling planet) has a reputation for messing with people’s heads. It’s entirely possible given how busy you’ve been in recent weeks, that you’ve temporarily lost the financial plot and that quick review would be helpful. That said, there is a Last Quarter Moon in Cancer on Wednesday. Research suggests that the mix of Virgo and Cancer brings anxiety to the surface. It might help to go through matters within experience of professional whose practical suggestions enable you to move forward without worry; but yes, in the process they could uncover unfinished business, and yes possibly even a bill that yet to be paid. On the constructive side however, your recent efforts are likely to be rewarded with discussions about using your talents more usefully leading to arrangements for a meeting next week.

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

Your horoscope for this week:

Ordinarily, you’ve a talent for organising plans that suit you but also keep others happy. Now, however, that won’t work. The resulting discussions will take you in new directions, in terms of both arrangements and the people involved. Overwhelming as those changes seem now, by early October’s Libra New Moon, you’ll recognise just how much you’ll benefit, as the coming weeks and months unfold.

A problem hasn’t changed even though this has been going on for some months now. If you feel strongly about this matter, you might gather people together to campaign for something definite to be done. Your expertise will be highly valued. A neighbour will do you a favour. You won’t take their kindness for granted and will offer to do something for them in return. They won’t have expected this and they will be delighted.

Mercury turns retrograde in your sign on Monday. This isn’t something that happens every year. The last time it happened was in 2015. You will need to take care that you don’t mess with other people’s heads. It may be that they view you as having procrastinated or prevaricated long enough. Try to avoid making a decision in haste. You’d likely regret it later. Focus instead on the world you’re trying to create. Making adjustment is not the same as doing a U-turn. At the Last Quarter Moon midweek, you could make excellent presentation incorporating the reasons why you’ve made alterations and, in the process, receive respect. Dealings with those who live and work abroad or who have international connection is set to increase greatly from the end of this year. Now should be considered the optimum time for laying the groundwork for developing these partnerships.

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

Your horoscope for this week:

Appealing as the idea of finalising existing arrangements or future plans may be, the coming weeks’ planetary activity indicates you’re in for a few surprises. While these may be unsettling, each will also bring a breakthrough of some variety. The trick? It’s to explore everything, aware that this isn’t about finalising plans but rather, broadening your awareness of options, now and as the future unfolds.

Sudden disagreements could put a block on group activities which up until now, had been going well. You know you can work successfully as a team and you are certain that you will do so again once you overcome the problems now facing you. This would be a great time to start to ease yourself away from tiring commitments that are starting to make you feel restricted. Think about booking a holiday.

Mercury turns retrograde in neighbouring Libra on Monday. As you might expect, this could bring confused communication. It is definitely not the best decision-making day as you could so easily jump to conclusions. Far better perhaps to wait a few more days and do more research. Of course, it’s entirely possible that you will be driven to do so by having to take stance before the end of September. That being the case, you perhaps need to go to those who offer the best advice: possibly an Aquarius, but certainly someone who is able to take the ‘eagle eye’ view. Experience matters. The Moon reaches a Scorpio career point on Friday when your needs will doubtless be recognised. It might also be suggested that you work closely with someone for whom you have had admiration in the past. Though they may take an opposing view to your own, you will likely thrive on the ensuing debate; placing you then in excellent position to move forward.

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

Your horoscope for this week:

Nobody is better than a Sagittarius at figuring out ways to sidestep obstacles, whether they involve difficult individuals or dull practicalities. Now, however, you’re urged to delve into these. This isn’t about proceeding as planned but, rather, gathering facts. These seem unimportant now; but by mid-October, when powerful planetary activity indicates breakthroughs, you’ll be glad you’ve thought options through, and know who to call on and what to ask.

Lively and sociable describes your activities with friends and neighbours. Group activities make this a good time to let your natural zest for action go to your head. Your enthusiasm for new projects will be contagious. Have fun and make the most of the sociable spirit around you. Information you should have been given some time ago will be received and now you will know why you weren’t told about this at the time.

A trip down memory lane seems more likely than not between Mercury’s retrograde station on Monday and the Last Quarter Moon midweek. Of course, this could be a good thing – particularly if you’re clearing things out and making space for the new. It might also be a little disturbing. Communications could at best be confused and at worst costly: especially if you’re involved in the sale of items. Double check all arrangements as there are times when you can be careless. The issue maya be about description and history – where you are eventually proved correct. Yet it wouldn’t be surprising if you experienced rethink moments. This may not be a bad thing. Fact is that over the next seven days you’re likely to be digging deep into your memory bank.

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

Your horoscope for this week:

Not only are things falling into place magically, they’re so promising you’re wary. As a cautious Capricorn, you expect obstacles and, when possible, plan how best to deal with them. While with Mercury retrograde from the 27th until 18 October, there’ll be unexpected events, still, the planetary setup indicates the resulting surprises will benefit you. The challenge? Relaxing and allowing good things to come your way.

You hate to admit it when you are feeling restless. People know you as being cautious and controlled but you can have your fidgety moments too. Others won’t notice this so much if you are on the move or if you keep yourself busy with a variety of tasks. You may not like the direction some conversations take later in the week when you gather changes have been discussed in the past without your knowledge.

The combination of Mercury turning retrograde at a career point and a Last Quarter Moon in your opposite sign on Wednesday, suggests turbulence at work. It may be that people are moving on and or that you’re asked to review a task that began a few weeks ago but is in very much unfinished condition. This seems to be a recurrent theme. Not since 2015 have you had to deal with such a muddle. Yet this is where you excel. For the last decade Pluto has been moving through your sign and you’ve learnt to dig deep and find extra resources. Over the next few days not only could you do that, you might also realise that there are certain individuals who have been draining your batteries. It’s perhaps time for you to consider parting company or re-delegating. This isn’t a task that needs to be done in haste, indeed, it may be that strategic planning is necessary if a project is to be accomplished by mid-October.

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

Your horoscope for this week:

Sometimes the misunderstandings triggered by Mercury retrograde, from 27 September, are no more than that. Explore what’s coming your way now, however, and you’ll soon spot the amazing ideas, if not breakthroughs, you’re encountering. True, taking advantage of them could mean rethinking certain longstanding arrangements. Actually, you may already have been considering it. If so, you’ll realise that the time has come to take action.

A pushy colleague or relative will try to make decisions for you. They may have done this already in the past and although you don’t want to make waves, it is time to let them know you have a mind of your own. If they don’t want to hear, deliberately doing the opposite to what they expect will get the message across. You could do with a change of scenery and travelling to a place you don’t visit often will lift your spirits.

Mercury turns retrograde in another of the air signs on Monday. That’s followed two days later by a last Quarter Moon. It may be that a situation that’s been developing over the last couple of years has now reached crisis point. Action may be needed; but this likely requires that you take a fresh approach. Mercury is turning retrograde in an area associated with higher learning. It may be that the expertise you have is no longer sufficient for what you want to do. You might also be disappointed by an educational course. Finding another route is perhaps one option; another would be to address the issues of what is being offered and demand meetings for next week to see what, if anything, can be salvaged. You likely need to know that your career path is not blocked.

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

Your horoscope for this week:

Having been born under perhaps the most compassionate sign, you’ll help those who’re struggling, in whatever way is necessary, and often without a thought. Taking personal advantage of the current amazing ideas or offers, some financial or involving work, is another matter. You worry or may even feel guilty. The secret? Say yes now. Then consider how you’ll share the bounty destiny is bringing your way.

There’s a cloud of doubt and suspicion hovering over a close friendship. Someone hasn’t been honest with you and you don’t feel comfortable with certain aspects of this relationship. A heart-to-heart talk is recommended as you won’t be at ease in their company until an issue has been settled. You’re growing tired of being left with jobs other people don’t like to do. Take a few days off work if possible then they will have no choice. Get in some relaxation.

It’s just possible that something important has been overlooked. At Mercury’s retrograde station on Monday this could come to light. It may be that there is a financial element and that you need to take action quickly if you’re not required to pay a costly penalty by the Last Quarter Moon on Wednesday. All this you can deal with. Yet you might need to query why certain administration has taken so long to complete. The excuse of pandemic related chaos may no longer apply. It might be as well to anticipate that schedules won’t go according to plan and that you will need to be ultra-flexible. If you’re prone to finding all this irritating, then be prepared for your temper to flare: something which could sabotage your chances for improving your situation next week.

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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

By GrannyMoon Posted in Pagan

GrannyMoons Weekly Feast: 19 Sept 2021

See the source image

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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Herb of the Year for 2021: Parsley (Petroselinum crispum, named by the International Herb Association.

SEPTEMBER 20, 2021: HARVEST MOON

Reap what you have sewn as the Harvest Moon rises on September 20 at 7:55 p.m. Eastern. The Harvest Moon is the name given to the Full Moon in either September or October, depending on the timing of the Fall Equinox. Whichever month’s Full Moon is closest to the Equinox wins the title. In 2021, it’s September.

Goddess Month of Month of Mala runs from 9/6 – 10/2

Celtic Tree Calendar: Sept 2 – Sept 29 – Bramble/Vine

THE 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. 

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 May 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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Earth Signs and Omens in Nature Course

Uncover the hidden 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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Learn About Herbs with GrannyMoon!

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.

http://goddessschool.com/Paganstudies/healingarts.html

The cost for Level 1 is $50.00 or the entire Healing Arts Course (1-3) for $150.00, which includes a free Reiki certification course when all three are ordered!

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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 (www.Goddessschool.com) has grown into a large and beautiful global community of women.

Coventry Creations 2021 

BHC Newsletter Reta

September 20, 2021 – September 26, 2021

This week is a mixed bag of tricks, cosmically speaking. We start off with a Full Moon in Pisces (see above) and a beautiful aspect (a trine) between Mercury and Jupiter. If you need to sign contracts or secure a deal, take advantage of this opportunity before Mercury turns retrograde next week. Otherwise, you will spend the first part of the week focused on the future and your mood should be rather optimistic. 

Despite the lighthearted energy at the beginning of the week, Wednesday and Thursday will bring a double dose of trouble as Mercury squares Pluto and Venus opposes Uranus. Be careful when interacting with others on Wednesday because Mercury square Pluto can spawn arguments if you are feeling frustrated with the people around you. The best way to work with this energy is to look within at what you can change about yourself rather than attempting to force your will upon others. On Thursday, Venus opposes Uranus in Taurus. Unresolved tensions in relationships could lead to sudden upsets and disappointments. Avoid starting new relationships at this time. 

The ray of sunshine midweek may be quite literal as the Sun moves out of Virgo and into Libra. Although tensions may be high, the Sun in Libra may be balanced enough that people respond to energies proactively rather than reactively.

This weekend, it’s time to get the job done as energetic Mars trines Saturn. You will easily be able to take care of duties and obligations under this influence. Focus on activities that need immediate attention. 

Recommended Candle: Problem Solving (Blessed Herbal), Lakshmi (World Magic), Happy Home (Blessed Herbal), and Full Moon (Astro Magic)

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

Full Moon in Pisces on September 20, 2021

The Full Moon occurs on September 20th in the sign of Pisces. Get out your snorkel, it’s time to swim. Your intuitive faculties will be at their peak, so it’s time to do magic that will help you enhance your intuition and focus on your dreams, meditation, and connecting with spirit.

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AUTUMN EQUINOX SEPTEMBER 22, 2021

September 15, 2021

So much is going on in our world right now the Pandemic, hurricanes, wildfires, earthquakes, floods, loss of work  and most important the loss of loved ones.  It’s time to welcome in the Fall Autumn Equinox.  This will be a time that we can use for quiet and silence.  Our minds have been racing nonstop and in the midst of all this chaos the autumn equinox’s brings to attention the fact that everything does change.  Nothing remains the same and that’s something you need to hold on to right now.

The September Fall/Autumn Equinox occurs the moment the Sun crosses the celestial equator – the imaginary line in the sky above the Earth’s equator – from north to south. This happens on September 22 – 24 and will mark the Autumnal Equinox which signals the beginning of Fall in the northern hemisphere (our friends in the southern hemisphere are celebrating the Spring Equinox). There will be an equal amount of light and darkness during this time, and afterwards the nights grow longer and we head towards winter.

For us in the Northern Hemisphere, people are enjoying the cooler days of autumn even as preparations for winter are underway.

Autumn Blessings

Fall is my favorite season.  I seem to come alive more at this time than any other time of the year.  I have always noticed the change that comes over me this time of year. Although the nights are getting cooler, the days are still warm, and there is something magical in the sunlight, for it seems silvery and indirect.

It’s also such a powerful spiritual time of year. Equinox’s are powerful portals and crossing points.  The veil between the two worlds thins and it’s the perfect time to communicate with deceased loved ones, ancestors, angels, and spirit guides.

This year the Autumn Equinox falls two days after the Harvest Full Moon.  This is a time of a powerful 3 Day Galactic Portal time and the Birthing of The Shift: whereby there is a wonderful Opportunity to set the pattern/s of your Life to exactly how YOU want it to look, like or be. A beginning of a true quickening of “Realty” shifts based on your “output” of energies of your thoughts, words, intentions, and deeds.

A great time for creating with an open -heart based Consciousness. Positive, loving, benevolent, life affirming, compassionate energies bring quick” like” experiences.. On the other hand, Negative, harmful energies No longer have the use or support of Universal Life Force and so will falter…So.. May All Blessings and Good be Yours! Create Wonderfully and Joyfully!

Equinox, meaning “equal night”, has its share of folklore and tradition as well. Some are rooted in Mythology; others are more grounded and carry their tradition to this day.

Folklore surrounding Autumn Equinox included the following:

In Greek mythology, Persephone (formerly named Kore) returns to the Underworld on Autumn Equinox to live with her husband, Hades, for half a year after living on Earth with her mother, Demeter, starting at Vernal Equinox.

Higan (meaning “the other shore”—nirvana), a Buddhist memorial service, occurs around the time of Autumnal Equinox (as well as Vernal Equinox), for seven days and serves to comfort ancestral spirits with loved ones visiting family graves.

Michaelmas, the Christian holiday honoring the Archangel Michael, has pagan roots in Autumn Equinox—end of harvest time, the marking of shorter days and longer nights, as well as the expulsion of Lucifer from Heaven by Archangel Michael. Michael is a warrior angel and will fight battles for you if you ask him.

Mabon, the Witch’s Thanksgiving. Mabon was a Welsh god and the male “counterpart” to the Persephone myth. Taken from his mother while only days old, Mabon gestates in the womb of Modron (the Great Mother) waiting to be reborn.

Clearly, this time of year has a variety of cultural observances spread around the world, diverse in custom, yet united in season. This September, when experiencing one of the biannual “Balancing of Nature”, remember the multitude of celebrations that share the advent of Autumn.

The sun is rising later now and nightfall comes sooner. This is our autumn equinox, when the days are getting shorter in the Northern Hemisphere. At this equinox, day and night are approximately equal in length. For us in the Northern Hemisphere, people are enjoying the cooler days of autumn even as preparations for winter are underway

A great time for creating with an open -heart based Consciousness. Positive, loving, benevolent, life affirming, compassionate energies bring quick” like” experiences.. On the other hand, Negative, harmful energies No longer have the use or support of Universal Life Force and so will falter…So.. May All Blessings and Good be Yours! Create Wonderfully and Joyfully!

Autumn Cider

To welcome in this beautiful and magical season use some of the following to embrace all that is good.

Incense or scents to use: Pine, sage, sweetgrass or myrrh.

Seasonal Herbs: Rue, yarrow, rosemary, marigold, sage, walnut leaves and husks, mistletoe, saffron, oat leaves, apple.

As a Spiritual Advisor on I am able to help you move forward in your life with one of my services.  Click Here for Discount

Autumn blessings,

Cherokee Billie Spiritual Advisor 

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Llewellyn’s Spell A Day

Pine Cone Prosperity Spell

SEPTEMBER 19, 2021 BY THORN MOONEY

Here, we’ll combine a classic fall craft with a little abundance magic. You’ll need string, some pine cones, peanut butter, a spreading utensil of some kind, birdseed, and a plate.

Begin by tying a loop of string to the end of a pine cone—make it as long as you need to in order to hang your finished treat from an outdoor tree or plant hook! Next, use a butter knife or spoon to spread peanut butter generously on the pine cone. Be sure to get it into the crevices! Pour birdseed onto the plate, then roll the peanut butter–covered pinecone in the seed, coating it. As you roll, imagine your household full of warmth, health, and prosperity. Say:

By bird and cone and hearty seed,

We welcome friends come round to feed.

Of warmth and love in winter’s chill,

May all who dwell here get their fill.

Hang your pine cones outside and enjoy watching the critters who snack on them!

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Harvesting Prosperity

SEPTEMBER 18, 2021 BY DEBORAH BLAKE

We are in the midst of the harvest season, which is a perfect time to work on magic for prosperity and abundance. You can use this simple spell at any time, but it is especially nice if you can do it either at noon in a patch of sunshine or during the full moon.

Take a pretty bowl and fill it with fresh fruits and/or vegetables. Make sure they are practically spilling out, to represent the abundance of the season. Place your hands around the sides of the bowl and feel all that fabulous energy. Send out appreciation for the bounty of the earth and think about manifesting that bounty in whichever ways you need it most. Then say:

Gods of the harvest,

Abundant and overflowing,

Let that abundance come into my life

In whichever ways are best for me,

And grant me prosperity

In any and all positive forms.

So mote it be.

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Empress Card for Birthing Project Goals

SEPTEMBER 17, 2021 BY BLAKE OCTAVIAN BLAIR

We all have ideas for projects in cubating in our minds. Here is some motivation magic to get them started! Find an image of the Empress card from your favorite tarot deck. The Empress represents fertility and bringing new life—qualities we want to home in on for our project. Gather a tealight candle and a carnelian stone. Put the image of the tarot card on your altar, and set the carnelian near the candle. (Make sure you burn the candle in a safe holder.) On a small piece of paper, write things you’d like to accomplish today to get your project started, even if they’re small preliminary steps. Put your list under the candleholder and carnelian, then light the candle and visualize accomplishing your goal. Let the candle burn all the way down on its own, supervised and in a safe holder. When the candle is out, carry the charged carnelian with you for energetic oomph.

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The Cleansing Pool

SEPTEMBER 16, 2021 BY STORM FAERYWOLF

Even if we don’t think we need to do cleansing work, guess what? We do. We are receiving messages and energies each and every second of every day, and most of the time we are completely unaware of this. We need to periodically clear out these extraneous energies before they begin to fester. Think of it as spiritual and magical hygiene.

For this spell, gather these items:

* A white candle

* A large bowl of water

* Some sea salt

* Some fresh mint

Safely light the candle. Focus your awareness into the bowl of water. Imagine it is fresh and pure. Sprinkle a bit of salt into it, then crush and add some mint. Place your hands over the bowl, infusing it with life force, and say:

I conjure forth the crystal pool

With healing waters clear and cool.

Wash your face with the water, then your hands. Extinguish the candle and use it the next time you wish to perform this cleansing. Use the rest of the water to sprinkle around and/or outside your home.

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Balance Meditation

SEPTEMBER 15, 2021 BY ELIZABETH BARRETTE

Au tumn is a time of balance. Light and dark, heat and cold, are moderated in this season. It’s not just about balance in nature, though. It’s also about balance within, work-life balance, and other personal aspects.

For this moving meditation, you will need a wobble board, a yoga ball, a bicycle, or another balance tool. First pay attention to your body. Think about how balanced you feel (or not). Climb onto your balance tool. Feel for your center of gravity. It should help you find your balance. Tilt your weight gently to feel the shifts, taking care not to fall off. Feel your awareness of gravity and your vertical axis. Visualize how the earth spins, always moving, always balanced. Think about different areas of your life. Are you doing too much of one thing and not enough of another? Feel how your balance shifts along with your thoughts. “Heavy” thoughts have weight! Imagine doing something different and see if that shifts your balance. After you finish meditating, go change one thing.

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Summer Lovers

SEPTEMBER 14, 2021 BY NAJAH LIGHTFOOT

Love is in the air. The nights are warm and the stars are bright. There is laughter and romance in the night.

Your beloved may be with you or far away, or you may pine for love to come and stay.

On this night as the summer winds blow, become one with nature and watch your love grow.

Draw a bath or run a shower. Sprinkle rose petals in the water. Cup your hands and gently pour water over your head.

Acknowledge the healing, loving gentleness of water as it flows over your head and onto your body.

Cross your arms and hug yourself, for we must love ourselves first before we can love others. Visualize the love you desire.

Step from your bath and safely light a candle. Let it burn bright, and hopefully the love you seek will be in your dreams tonight!

Be sure to extinguish the candle.

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Chocolate Meditation

SEPTEMBER 13, 2021 BY SAPPHIRE MOONBEAM

September 13 is known as International Chocolate Day. In ancient times the Mayans and Aztecs used the base ingredient in chocolate during rituals to enhance their connection to the spirit world. Since chocolate releases endorphins that promote peaceful, loving feelings, meditating with chocolate can help you ease into the process.

Sit in a comfortable position and take three deep breaths. Place a small piece of chocolate in your mouth and let it melt onto your tongue. A more pure form of chocolate with less sugar is the most beneficial to connect you with spirit via meditation. As the chocolate slowly dissolves in your mouth, close your eyes and focus on going deep within while being mindful of the present moment. Relax and trust the guidance that you receive from your inner teacher and the wise whispers from your spirit guides.

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Heartwings Love Notes 1000 How It All Began

Heartwings says,” Beginnings are important to honor.”

The beginning of Heartwings Love Notes goes back to my childhood, when I decided I wanted to be a writer. Of course, as a child that meant I wanted to write stories, and I did. Making them into little books I would illustrate them and give them to my mother, who lavished praise on me, encouraging me to keep on writing. For a while, as an adult I tried writing stories however, it was difficult for me to come up with good plots and my submissions to magazines were rejected.

I started writing articles when, as a married adult, I wrote publicity for an amateur theater group I belonged to. Then came the Confidential Chat, a feature in the Boston Globe where readers could, using pen names, write in with queries, comments, advice and recipes that were published on their pages. Pomander’s Child–my pen name–wrote lots of letters and enjoyed exchanging ideas with other chatters. I still have one or two recipes with pen names attached. 

Fast forward through many busy years to our move to Virginia, where our mentor there encouraged me to write a newsletter. I called it Peacemail. It began as a pasted-up letter of one sheet, then two. As the years went by and we moved back to Massachusetts, it became a four-page newsletter mailed monthly to a good number of subscribers. Our home, where we had monthly Peace Potlucks and meditations, became the Grafton Center for inner Peace. Every month friends came over to help fold and stuff the envelopes I mailed out.

After ten years I retired Peacemail. An internet friend suggested I do an online publication. By then I emailed my Good Earthkeeping column in to the Grafton News, why not an internet newsletter for friends? I set to work, and after various experiments, my short and simple Heartwings Love Note was born. It has been and continues to be my joy to share my ideas as well as my monthly recipes more widely. My aim is to provide my readers a fresh perspective on some of the more difficult yet common aspects of life. Too, I hope to be of help, and occasionally even to entertain. 

May you continue to enjoy and hopefully to benefit from my writing.

Blessings and best regards, Tasha Halpert

How am I doing? Please let me know. I treasure my readers’ responses. Suggestions and questions are always welcome. Please write to me at tashahal@aol.com, for more Love Notes, visit http://www.heartwingsandfriends.com.  &nbsp;

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Peace

Peace starts within us — we cannot bring to the world what we do not have to offer.

Often we look at the outside world and find it in a state of seeming chaos or disorder. We feel compelled to transform the situation from one of turmoil into one of peace, yet we are often disappointed in our best attempts to do so. One reason for this is that we cannot bring to the world what we do not have to offer. Peace starts in our own minds and hearts, not outside of ourselves, and until its roots are firmly entrenched in our own selves, we cannot manifest it externally. Once we have found it within, we can share it with our family, our community, and the whole wide world. Some of us may already be doing just that, but for most of us, the first step is looking within and honestly evaluating the state of our own relationship to peacefulness.

Interestingly, people who manifest peace internally are not different from us; they have chattering thoughts and troubled emotions like we all do. The difference is that they do not lend their energy to them, so those thoughts and feelings can simply rise and fall like the waves of the ocean without disturbing the deeper waters of peacefulness within. We all have this ability to choose how we distribute our energy, and practice enables us to grow increasingly more serene as we choose the vibration of peace over the vibration of conflict. We begin to see our thoughts and feelings as tiny objects on the surface of our being that pose no threat to the deep interior stillness that is the source of peacefulness.

When we find that we are able to locate ourselves more and more in the deeper waters and less on the tumultuous surface of our being, we have discovered a lasting relationship with peace that will enable us to inspire peace beyond ourselves. Until then, we help the world most by practicing the art of choosing peace within. 

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A 21st Century Wheel of the Year: Cultivating Receptivity at the Fall Equinox

by Dana – The Druid’s Garden

The Fall Equinox is traditionally about harvest, harvesting the fruits of your labor and the fruits of the land in preparation for the coming of winter. This model of the wheel of the year focuses on earned outcomes: you’ve planted your crops, you’ve tended them all season, you’ve invested the time, and now, you are able to receive the rewards of your efforts. And a lot of our own understanding of the celebration of these seasons works on that narrative: planning, planting, tending, harvesting, and the cycle of the seasons. This same cycle is expected, perhaps, anticipated, in our everyday lives. For example, if you put the effort into getting degrees and starting a career, or if you put in a ton of hard effort at your workplace, you will eventually be rewarded with a harvest, a payoff, and a sense of stability. There’s this large sense that if you put your time in, then your harvest and rewards will come.

For weeks now, I tried to write a different post, a one celebrating the harvest and using the traditional themes of the Fall Equinox in the druid tradition. Yet, it turned out to be very difficult to write. There’s been so much change and challenge in the last two years.  While our garden is certainly bountiful and we are bringing in the harvest on our homestead, I found these narratives of “putting in your work and getting a harvest” really problematic to dwell on because for myself and so many others, that whole idea has crumbled in workplaces and cultures. In talking with friends in a variety of fields and contexts, I think that’s perhaps the thing that’s been most difficult for everyone during the last year and a half–the loss of that narrative, of that stability, of that dependable way forward. A lot of those expected cycles and seasons were disrupted, and it appears that most of us are never going back to “before.”  This led to my own thinking and meditations about the new skills that getting such a harvest in today’s age requires–resilience, like I shared a few weeks ago, but also other themes I’ve touched on, such as flow. In other words, just like our traditional wheel, this new set of skills and themes may help us find balance, grounding, and stability in an increasingly unstable world.

I’m not suggesting that we abandon the traditional wheel or the themes of harvest or balance at the Fall Equinox, because these themes are still very much present on our landscape and in many aspects of our lives. But, I do think we need to build into our traditional wheel and celebrations a broader set of thinking, visioning, and ideas that might help us live, adapt to, and thrive in this new and less predictable age. In other words, if the stability of the Holocene allowed agrarian societies to develop elaborate spiritual traditions surrounding planting and harvest, what does the instability of the Anthropocene require of our spiritual traditions? What themes or concepts can those practicing nature-based spirituality embrace now so that we can offer a better vision for the future?  It is this question that I will consider today for the Fall Equinox, and I will return to this question for the next seven holidays as we move froward through the next eight seasonal holidays–creating an wheel of the year that offers us tools for visioning and resiliency.

So with all of that written as a way of introduction to why I’m deviating from the traditional theme for the Fall Equinox (and subsequent holidays for the wheel of the year in the coming seasons), I’m going to present some themes that I think are powerful lessons for us to incorporate into spiritual practices and seasonal celebrations.  So let’s turn to one of these themes: receptivity!

Receptivity as a theme for the Fall Equinox

 Hickory, Maple, Aster, Hawthorn, and Poke mandala on moss

Receptivity has a lot of dimensions and definitions. In its most simple form, it is about openness: openness to new ideas, to change, and new experiences or patterns of life.  Its about accepting what comes rather than trying to force things in a specific direction. Receptivity is about us simply allowing things to flow in, rather than trying to force things in a specific way. When you dig into it, receptivity is a very good theme for the “harvest” narrative, because with receptivity, rather than cultivating an expectation of what we want and expect to come, we are open to what is and what comes our way.

One of the reasons that Receptivity is such a good theme is that it is a counter balance to the effort-reward cultural narrative that is tied to the Fall Equinox and themes of harvest. There is one enormous problem with the effort/reward theme on a larger cultural level: it belongs to a different age. It belongs to the Holocene, an 8000-11,000 year period of stable climate that allowed humans to develop agriculture, allowed humans to have some predictability about their surroundings, and allowed us to develop symbolic understandings like those drawn upon for the modern wheel of the year. It also belongs to the 20th century, when stable careers were common and people would retire from blue collar jobs with pensions. But we are not in the Holocene any longer, both climate-wise and culturally, we’ve moved onto the Anthropocene (or, as Stephen Pyne recently called it, the Pyrocene, the age of fires). The Anthropocene is characterized by human-driven planetary changes which destabilize every aspect of our lives. These changes are increasing in intensity and will continue throughout the course of our lives and into the lives of our descendants. Many now point to 1950 as the time when the Anthropocene officially began, with humanity’s “great acceleration” of consumption and capitalism. But like any age, it takes time to ramp up, and it is now in the 21st century, seventy years later, we are really starting to see the accelerating effects of the Anthropocene.  In thinking about these changes, both culturally in the last 18 months with the pandemic, and in the wake of the UN’s release of the IPPC 2021 climate change report, we need some new themes.

While we have traditionally based the wheel of the year on more recent agrarian human ancestors as part of the Holocene,  we no longer live in that age. Agrarian societies depend on very limited numbers crops for sustenance and survival. For a culture that depends on a small number of crops, getting a harvest from those crops becomes absolutely critical for life, and it makes sense that a huge amount of their spiritual tradition was focused on the harvest. If you think about many of the harvest traditions–they was (and still were) focused on staple crops like apples, wheat, and barley without which our agrarian ancestors would not have survived.  This is also of why situations like the failure of one crop were so devastating; for example, the Irish Potato Famine in the 1850’s killed over 1,000,000 Irish and sent many of them (including my own ancestors) in search of new places to put down roots.

However, if we go back further to the time of our more distant hunter-gatherer ancestors, we know that they lived and thrived through multiple destabilized climates and planetary ages.  If we examine their experiences with obtaining a harvest–the picture emerges quite differently. Most hunter-gatherer societies still had a few foods that were central to their diets (like acorn eating cultures, specific animals that were hunted and revered, etc) but most lived off of an incredible variety of different foods, in some cases 1000 or more (as you can learn from ethnobotanical guides like M. Kat Anderson’s Tending the Wilds or Charlotte Ericssen-Brown’s Medicinal and Other Uses of North American Plants).  These foods vary considerably from season to season–hardwood nut crops, for example, have a “mast year” every 3-5 years.  That is, while there was always food to harvest, the kinds of food, amounts of food, and timing of it was pretty variable and required us to simply accept what was, capitalize on what was, and move forward.  (As an aside, hunter-gatherer societies did also not suffer from what some scientists would call “diseases of civilization” like heart disease or diabetes; see more about this at this article).

So let’s focus for on gathering and how it is tied to receptivity. I do a lot of wild food foraging and wild food education in addition to tending a 5-acre homestead and growing a lot of food.  The mindsets for gathering vs. farming are really different. Both are based on innate wisdom and knowledge of the land, but there are expectations in homesteading/gardening that are simply not present in wild food foraging. With foraging, you never really know what you might encounter or how abundant things might be. You can only use your knowledge to go to places where you’ve found food before and use your knowledge of the timing of the season to help you see what is out there. One year, the wild berry crop is massive while the next there’s practically no berries to speak of because of a late frost.  One year you could harvest hundreds of pounds of chestnuts and in the next, they are full of worms but there are incredible amounts of lamb’s quarters to make flour.  That’s how it is when you are foraging for wild foods–you just put yourself out there to look and see what you can find.  Hence, receptivity and gratitude for the harvest.

Receptivity: Bardic, Ovate, and Druid Practices

 A ritual altar at the fall equinox

Receptivity is a pretty challenging concept for many of us who grew up in Western cultures, and I think its grown a lot more difficult in recent years.  Here in the US, for example, an extremely polarized cultural and political climate encourages us to shut down, to not even be willing to hear voices that are different than our own, and to spend time only with people who think and act like we do.  US culture also maintains the effort-reward faulty narrative that suggests that if you simply work hard you will be successful.  Obviously, that’s a lot different from cultivating receptivity.  Thus, I think it is useful to work to cultivate spiritual practices that cultivate receptivity.  And yes–I keep using the term “cultivate” very specifically–this is something we can bring into our lives, like a new skill we are learning. Here are a few methods to practice receptivity through the lens of bardic, ovate, and druid practice.

Receptivity and Wild Foods: An Ovate Practice

One way of cultivating receptivity and honor the harvest is to take up a wild food foraging practice and take a day to go out and seek out wild foods.  Wild foods can be found in all settings, from urban to wilderness, and its just a matter of time and building your knowledge.   See if you can find enough for to create at least part of a meal.  This time of year in Eastern North America, they are particularly abundant–you can find wild apples, hardwood nuts (hickories, chestnuts, butternut, walnuts, hazelnuts, acorns);fall greens (usually there is a second harvest of greens like dandelion); grain harvests (wild amaranth, lambs quarters, or yellow dock); and fall mushrooms (Hen of the Woods, late Chicken of the Woods, Honey Mushrooms, etc).  Building an ethical foraging practice and bringing some of this into your regular practice allows for not only a deep knowledge and reverence of nature, but also a way to align with ancient human ancestors and cultivate receptivity.

With any wild food foraging practice, I want to stress the importance of ethical harvest.  Offer gratitude and respect to what you are harvesting, seek permission, and monitor wild food populations. For an introduction to ethical foraging, please see this post.  I also have two general posts that can get you started on wild foraging with resource and book suggestions: here and here.

So as a fall equinox celebration, you might gather some wild foods leading up to the Fall Equinox and then prepare a celebratory meal in gratitude and reverence for what the land has provided.  Supplement this with food from your own garden or farmer’s market and enjoy the feast!

Receptivity: A Fall Equinox Journey of Spirit

On the druid side, we might think about how to create receptivity through spiritual connection and ritual.  Druid practices are about ritual, meditation, and celebration.  For this practice, rather than planning a formal Fall Equinox ceremony, you will simply allow yourself to experience the magic and enchantment of the living earth, be guided by spirit, and create an ongoing ceremonial experience for yourself.

To do this, plan on spending some deep time in nature, at least an hour or more. Ideally this will be a place with some wildness to it. You might take a few tools with you–an offering blend, a harvest knife, your crane bag, a spiritual journal. But don’t plan too much–the idea is to allow the ceremony to unfold on your journey.

When you get where you are going, start by opening up yourself to a ceremonial experience. Keep your mind and intentions open but do any protective work you see as necessary (e.g. I would do AODA’s Sphere of Protection ceremony to begin).  After that, begin to walk and explore, seeing what you are drawn to.  Leave offerings, talk with trees, and spend time simply communing with the living earth.  Look for messages in the forms of animals, clouds, wind, trees.  See what calls to you and the work you can do to celebrate this year.  This might be a tree meditation, a grounding ceremony in the woods, forest bathing, taking a nap, making offerings, building a nature mandala, etc.  The point here is that rather than prepare a pre-concieved plan for your Fall Equinox, you simply allow spirit to guide you.

As you are exiting the forest, give yourself some time to return.  Breathe deeply, “close” the ceremonial experience in whatever way you see fit, and take time to return to the mundane world.  Carry what you’ve learned about yourself and nature with you into the coming season.

Receptivity: Cultivating in Community

Bardic practices involve both creative expression as well as community, and in this case, this practice focuses more on cultivating open relationships with others.  The practice is simple:

Talk to someone who believes very differently than you do in a non-judgemental, open way*.  One activity to help you cultivate receptivity is to find someone who has very different life experience, different political or social views, and/or a different way of seeing the world from you. Spend time asking that person questions to understand what they believe and why they believe it.  As you are listening, work to withhold your own judgment (note your emotional reactions) and also work hard not to respond to them in a way that would put your own beliefs at the center of the discussion. Ask questions, listen, and absorb what they are saying. After you’ve done this, express gratitude to the person for sharing their time and thoughts. (And yes, I realize how incredibly hard this might be to do, at least for those in the US right now.  Try it anyways.  Strip aside the common political stigmas and simply listen to a person as a human being).

After you’ve done this, meditate on the experience. What did you gain from this experience? Did it reaffirm your beliefs or did it allow you to really experience a new perspective? Do you have more empathy and understanding for those who may believe differently than you?

(*I am grateful to  Dr. Abby Michelini for this practice.  Abby recently completed a dissertation and I was honored to be a dissertation reader on her project. Her project was to create poetic narratives from people on radically different sides of the spectrum and use those as a way of cultivating deep listening to bridge political and cultural divides. And you know what? It worked. After seeing her study, this practice gave me a lot of hope.  I started trying this practice in my own life and I was really grateful for this as a new tool to cultivate openness and receptivity towards others! So I’m sharing it here!)

Closing

Learning how to cultivate receptivity in such challenging times offers us a powerful tool.  It allows us to be more flexible and adaptable to things that we can’t change and encourages us to find delight in the unexpected.  May your feet tread ever lightly upon the soil and your lungs fill with clean air at this blessed Fall Equinox!

Also, If you are interested more in this topic, cultivating your intuition, connecting with our primal ancestral roots, and in connecting deeply with nature, I wanted to draw your attention to a fabulous 8 week online course by Jon Young, Nate Summers, and Sarah Fontaine starting soon! Here’s a link to the Intuitive Tracking course https://www.primalnate.com/intuitivetracking   I’ll be taking this course, and I hope you consider it as well!

Dana | September 19, 2021 at 8:30 am || URL: https://wp.me/p19QCR-1il

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Take Action

In order to make our dreams come true, we must take action rather than simply wishing for what we want.

There is a popular misconception that we might be able to just wish our dreams into being. Maybe on some other level of consciousness, this is the case, but here on earth what we need to do is take action in our lives. Vision is an important companion to our efforts, but it can’t accomplish anything all by itself. When we focus on what we want and ask for what we want, we are initiating a conversation with the universe. Our desires, passionately defined and expressed, bring about valuable and relevant opportunities, which we then respond to by either taking or leaving them.

Many of us are afraid to step out into the world and make things happen, and so we hang back, dreaming and waiting and watching. There are times in life when this is the right thing to do, but this phase of inaction must eventually give way to its opposite if we are to build our dreams into a reality. This can be really scary, and we may fail and struggle, but that’s okay because that’s what we’re supposed to do. Waiting for everything to be perfect before we act, or waiting for what we want to be handed to us, leaves us waiting forever. No one expects us to be perfect, so the best thing we can do for ourselves is to get out there and take action on our dreams.

One of the hardest parts about having a vision is that when we test it in the laboratory of life, it often comes out looking completely different than what we had in mind or, worse, it doesn’t come out at all. If you read the life stories of people who have brought their dreams into reality, you will hear many stories about this experience. But you will also hear about hard work, taking action, perseverance, and, finally, the successful birthing of a dream.

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Gilberto Rides Again Chapter 19 

by Stephen Halpert

As they boarded the return flight from Greenbush to Boston, Ramon took Gilberto aside. They sat together in the back of the plane. Ramon sighed. “I’m doing my best with Sarah. But resisting her demands is like standing up against a man-eating tiger.”

Gilberto chuckled. “But I thought….”

Ramon shook his head no. “It’s just that she insists we go for a drive most afternoons; park, sit in her Jag by the Charles and drink coffee. She pours out her heart to me. It’s like I’ve managed to become the little brother she never had.”

Gilberto nodded. “I hope you’re doing her some good.”

Ramon shrugged. “Who knows. Mostly I listen, but make sure to get in my two cents.” He shook his head and sighed. “I’ll tell you this: she’s terrified. She thinks someone will murder her, possibly that deceased husband of hers. He caused her all sorts of emotional damage. From what she said about how he acted, most other women would be broken.”

“But I thought he drowned.”

“His body was never found,” Ramon said, “remember?”

Gilberto shrugged. “Could be I guess.”

Ramon nodded. “I told Rosa what was going on with her. She urged me to be the devoted little brother. And so far, that seems to work.”

Gilberto smiled. “Good for you.” 

“Oh,” Ramon said. “Not to change the subject but, I’ll be getting my upgrade and you can give Mona my old cell phone.”

Gilberto nodded “Thanks, that’s thoughtful of you. I’m not thrilled with the idea of my ten-year-old daughter having a phone, but times are changing.” 

As an announcement prompted them, they rose and returned to their seats. The return flight was uneventful. Sitting beside Maria, Gilberto read Soccer News while she checked out her email and perused Facebook. 

Sara Midgley and Buzz’s secretary Grace Moynihan sat in the forward cabin. They were monitoring Buzz’s admittance to a long term care hospital in Boston. The initial medical prognosis had not changed. He remained in an induced coma. An ambulance was scheduled to meet the flight, and take him to a hospital. Sara and Grace would accompany him through admissions making sure everything was in order.

As they collected their belongings, Maria yawned. “Those last few days felt like an eternity.” 

Gilberto nodded. “I wouldn’t trust those people in Greenbush as far as I could spit.”

She took his hand. “You were wonderfully tactful. At times I feared you’d deck someone.”

Gilberto grinned, drew her closer. “And be sued, maybe even jailed on some absurd bogus charges? Southern justice? “

Maria took his hand. “As far as I’m concerned those two old ladies are witches who put some sort of hex on Buzz.”

“That must mean that from the get go they didn’t want that merger to be completed.”

She nodded. “I doubt Colonel Dimwittie had a clue as to their intentions either. But who knows?” She kissed his cheek. “After all, this is all theoretical. No such thing as a hex, right?” 

He took her hand. “I’m not so sure about anything anymore.”

“Me neither. Except my love for you.” 

When they arrived at their condo, Maria went to check on Mona. 

Coming into the living room, Gilberto saw Joey and Toni sitting beside one another on the big sofa. They were gazing into each other’s eyes like star crossed lovers. “We’re engaged,” Joey announced, chin held high.

Gilberto nodded and said nothing. He knew that to be a good listener he needed to wait before voicing any opinion. 

Toni looked up at Gilberto “My mom doesn’t think it’s such a good idea. But she’s really old fashioned. We’re in love and feel dedicated to each other.” “Our being engaged and getting married makes it real,” Joey added.

“And you’re not pregnant?” Gilberto said lightly.”

Joey’s face reddened. “How could she be? We haven’t gotten that far yet.”

Maria came into the living room. She smiled and hugged Joey and Toni. “I just spoke with Rosa. She thinks matrimony is a bit premature. Why don’t you just say you’re going steady. That’s a good beginning.”

“My mom’s so convervative,” Toni said. 

Maria sat down with them and began chatting.

Gilberto smiled. He left the living room and walked down the hallway to Mona’s room. Inside he saw her carefully feeding the ants in a glass container. She looked up at him and smiled. “This is my ant farm,” she said proudly. 

Gilberto shuddered. “Why are they in the condo? They are insects and, they’re dangerous.”

“Oh daddy,” Mona said softly sounding like Maria. “This is my ant farm, and they’re for my science project at school. They’re so amazing to watch, especially Homer. That’s him.”  She waved her hand excitedly. 

Gilberto took a deep breath. “Who’s Homer?”

She pointed to what Gilberto construed as a swarm of ants. “That’s Homer!” she said. “He’s the one with the little green speck. He’s so cute. I’m hoping I can train him like people train fleas at the circus. See look, he’s giving those lady ants a bath.”

All Gilberto could see was a cluster of ants crawling upon one another. 

He gritted his teeth and shivered. In what he hoped was a firm but fatherly voice he said, “I don’t want those ants in this condo. Put them outside on the patio.”

Instead of arguing Mona jumped up and screamed, “Mom. Please mom, daddy wants to kill my ants.”

Maria came in. “Aren’t they’re in a sealed container?” 

Mona nodded. “Daddy’s just being frightened.”

“Don’t be disrespectful,” Gilberto said. Then he pointed to several ants on Mona’s bedroom rug. 

“They’re ok,” Mona said. I brought them in myself so they could get to know the ants in the farm. I thought they could all be friends.” 

Maria smiled. Our daughter wants to be a naturalist. She told me about the ant farm and I thought they’d be better than the alternative: baby white rats.”

Gilberto’s voice rose. “Rats carry bubonic plague,” he said. “Please get them out of the condo.” He paused and his voice became even louder, “Now.”

Maria sighed and nodded. “Put them outside on the patio.” 

Mona stamped her foot and looked defiantly at Gilberto. “You’re just frightened,” she repeated.”

“Without ants the world will end,” Mona said dramatically. “They do so much for human life. Many people in China even eat them in chocolate sauce.”

“Enough,” Gilberto shouted. “Please Maria.” “Outside if they must be kept until she takes them to school and leaves them there.”

Mona glared. “Then can I have a pet white rat?”

“No,” he shouted. He threw up his hands, turned and left the room, leaving Maria to console their daughter. 

To Be Continued

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Only Genuine Swear Words Work!

by Andrew Weil, M.D.

These findings come from psychologists at Keele University who tested the impact of swear words by measuring the pain threshold of 92 participants who agreed to plunge their hands in icy water and keep them there for as long as possible. The idea was to see if made-up swear words such as ‘twizpipe’ and ‘fouch’ helped the participants deal with the pain better than conventional ones. Study leader Richard Stephens, Ph.D., Senior Lecturer in psychology, said the study was the first to assess whether novel swear words have any pain-relieving effect. They didn’t, but traditional swear words increased pain tolerance by 33 percent.

Source:

Richard Stephens and Olly Robertson, “Swearing as a Response to Pain: Assessing Hypoalgesic Effects of Novel “Swear” Words”, Frontiers in Psychology, April 30, 2020, doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.00723

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Kitty Kat’s Korner

Humans’ Guide to Kitty Tricksters

By Angie Bailey

Autumn is upon us, and human kids aren’t the only ones who enjoy a clever trick (or a treat!) to celebrate the season. Here are six ways cats get tricky during Halloween — and all year long

Chair hijacking

You know the routine: Leave your chair for five minutes to grab a pen or pour some coffee. When you return, the seat cushion has magically grown fluff and ridiculously cute faces. And if you do decide to be a total monster and remove them, they’re the ones who look offended. Now we feel guilty on top of everything else. So, like the all-day suckers we humans are with our cats, we surrender and grab a different, less comfortable, chair.

Pretend sleeping

Adult cats sleep an average of 15 hours per day, which includes periods of deep sleep, as well as shorter “one-eye-open” cat naps. As we’re well aware, kitties make their own rules, and we’re wise to let a sleeping cat lie. However, sometimes we want to grab our sleeping cat’s attention: “Look at this new catnip cigar!” “Did you see the new box in the kitchen?” “Come say hi to Grandma!” If we elicit any response, it’s usually a sarcastic cock of the ear telling us, “I hear you but choose to ignore you.”

Now, ask the same cat if they’d like a treat or fill the air with the thrilling pop of a cat food can opening, and they’re at your feet faster than you can say “seafood medley.

Hiding — sometimes in plain sight

Felines think they’re excellent at concealing themselves, hidden away from the human eye — and sometimes they are. They’re known to slide behind pillows and find obscure spots in closets. However, their trickiness is sometimes overshadowed by their inability to use non-cat logic or tuck their tails: “They’ll never see me if I stand perfectly still behind this sheer curtain” or “Sure, I’m completely cloaked by the bed skirt.” Apparently the exposed tail doesn’t count. Pretty sneaky, kitty.

Cuddle teasing

Who doesn’t love a kitty cuddle? They’re the best when the cat initiates them, lovingly climbing onto your lap, nuzzling your arm and vibrating your entire body with mega purrs. One of the great pleasures in life is watching a cat heading toward you, that loving look in her eyes, slow blinks aplenty. Then she keeps walking, passing us right by like we were cheap kibble on the clearance rack. Her destination? Some random cardboard box that could never be as cozy as our lap. Those feline tricksters are such teases!

Helping themselves to food

Most kitties operate under the self-prescribed policy of, “What’s mine is mine, and what’s yours is mine.” For some cats, this includes the contents of our plates. Case in point: the “dinner-and-a-show” maneuver. We’re comfy on the sofa, completely engaged in the latest rom-com, plate piled with pizza slices on the nearby TV tray. The cat, borrowing a move from his ancestor’s sneaky hunting techniques, slinks underneath the TV tray and waits for the perfect opportunity to attack the cheesy prey. At the very moment when the screen fills with kissy faces, a lone paw reaches up to the plate and pulls the slice into his clutches. Sometimes we immediately realize the pizza slice is missing, and other times we assume we mindlessly ate it during the kissy-face scene.

Acting like they haven’t been fed

This is an all-too-familiar scenario: We arrive home from an outing and our cats greet us like they haven’t been fed in days. Seriously, this kind of drama is usually only found on bad TV movies, but these cats are convincing. As we quickly rearrange our immediate priorities, placing our near-popped bladder at the bottom of the list, we grab the bowls and prepare to feed the starving furballs. Meanwhile, our partner enters the room only to advise us they’ve just fed the cats. The cats, as always, claim complete innocence.

Treat your trickster with these fun Halloween-themed goodies:

Bow Tie Cat Collar Set — Here for the Boos $26.95; madebycleo.com

Weruva Cats in the Kitchen Pumpkin Jack Splash — Tuna in Pumpkin Soup Recipe $16.99 for 12-pack of 3-ounce pouches; chewy.com

Skull and Pumpkin Catnip Felt Toys $7.45 each; www.etsy.com/shop/TheMinimalistCat

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Weekly Horoscope: Sunday, September 19, 2021

https://georgianicols.com/weekly/

All Signs

There’s a lot happening! This week, the Sun moves into Libra where it will stay for the next four weeks. At the end of the week, Mercury goes retrograde until Oct. 18 (nevertheless the shadow phase continues until Nov. 3. Therefore, if buying big-ticket items like cars, trucks computers and cell phones, wait until after Nov. 3.) The week starts off on a happy, upbeat note. Yay! But by Wednesday, squabbles are likely. Cat owners might feel calmed by “furplay”. ((That semi-elicit feeling you get when a cat rubs against your leg.) This is not to be confused with another faintly elicit feeling – “muffinlust”! That’s the anticipation you experience when undressing a cupcake.

Aries (March 21-April 19)

In the next four weeks, you will have a strong focus on close friendships and partnerships because the Sun is opposite your sign. (This is the only time all year this occurs.) When this happens, you have the advantage of having more objectivity, which allows you to more clearly see the relationship you are in. Nevertheless, Mercury retrograde is also taking place opposite your sign. Oy! This will attract ex-partners and old friends back into your world. Sometimes this is an opportunity for fun times and a chance to catch up on old history. Sometimes it’s disastrous. That’s because ex-partners come in all flavours, shapes, sizes and colours.

Taurus (April 20-May 20)

There are different messages for you this week. As the Sun changes signs this week, it means that for the next four weeks, you’ll be gung-ho to work hard, work smart, and get better organized! You will set high, personal standards for yourself and want results for your efforts. Commendable! (So far so good.) However, Mercury retrograde will rob you of some of your desired efficiency. You will encounter delays, goofy mistakes, mixed-up communications, lost paperwork, missed appointments and broken equipment (including transportation). This means that right when you want to be on top of your game, Mercury retrograde will be like Loki – the trickster – trying to sabotage your best efforts. Courage!

Gemini (May 21-June 20)

You’re in a playful mood at the beginning of the week. Ideally, you would love to escape somewhere, especially a fun vacation. Relations with children will also be pleasant. Admittedly, midweek there will be dissension or power struggles. The good news is that the next four weeks will bring opportunities to have fun and socialize with others. Sports events will delight. Fun activities with kids will please you. This is an excellent window of time to be on a vacation. Meanwhile, old flames might be back in the picture. This can be a challenge. Sometimes it’s dreadful or sometimes you’re Jennifer and Ben? Note, this is a strong week for those in competitive sports because you will give everything you have!

Cancer (June 21-July 22)

The next four weeks will be a strong emphasis on home, family and your private life. Many will be more involved than usual with a parent. One of the reasons you might have this strong focus on home and family is because of family reunions. Relative you haven’t seen for a while might be camped on your doorstep and eating out of your fridge. Hopefully, someone will help you with home repairs? You’re keen to make improvements and changes at home. Be patient with partners on Wednesday to avoid power struggles. (You need that like a fish needs a bicycle.)

Leo (July 23-Aug. 22)

Expect a fast-paced four weeks ahead! Your daily pace will accelerate because of a jampacked schedule full of short trips, appointments, meetings, extra time spent with siblings and relatives, increased studying and reading plus conversations with everyone. You’ll be full of ideas and eager to communicate. Please note: in this same window of time, Mercury retrograde will trip you up because it is sitting in its own “home.” Expect transportation delays, mixed-up communications, misplaced items, cancelled appointments, goofy errors and crazy misunderstandings. Very likely, you will hear from old friends and run into people from your past. Enjoy redecorating at home and buying pretty things.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22)

“Show me the money!” In the next four weeks, you will focus on money, cash flow and earnings. You might contemplate big expenses and major purchases. You will have moneymaking ideas, especially ideas you considered once before. Why not try again? Run it up the flagpole to see if anyone salutes? Meanwhile Mercury retrograde will cause delays and mistakes. Cheques in the mail will be late. Be aware of all financial transactions because it’s easy to make a mistake now. Perhaps information is incomplete? You might be led astray or jump to wrong conclusions? Disputes about money or possessions on Wednesday are possible. Fortunately, with Venus in your House of Communications, you are charming and diplomatic.

Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22)

Once a year, for four weeks the Sun is in your sign giving you a chance to recharge your batteries for the rest of the year. That time has arrived! You will feel invigorated, confident and energetic! Things will go your way and you will also attract important people and favourable situations to you. Furthermore, fiery Mars is in your sign! When you add the energy of this to the Sun – you end up being PowerPoint on steroids! Mercury retrograde is also in your sign, which means you will be plagued with silly delays, stupid mistakes misplaced items and car problems. You might encounter ex-partners from the past either in person or online. You might dream about them or think about them? Stay mellow on Wednesday. You will get a lot done this week.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21)

This is an excellent time to buy wardrobe goodies for yourself. (Check the daily Moon Alert to avoid regrets.) Meanwhile, for the next four weeks, the Sun, Mercury retrograde, and fiery Mars are all “hiding” in your chart. This means it’s an excellent time for you to be retrospective and do a little navel gazing. Not only will you benefit from contemplating some inner issues – you might also do research and dig up answers to old problems. It will be very easy for you to “go into the past”. You might also work alone or behind the scenes to do something to shore up your home and family scene. Whatever work you do now will have a pay off in the future. (We like!)

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 21)

The next four weeks are a popular time for you! Younger people as well as physically active people will be in your world. In fact, some of you might be involved with a competition, especially to do with physical sports. Not only will you enjoy the company of others; this window of time offers you a good opportunity to share your hopes and dreams for the future with someone to get their feedback. (This is because their feedback will help you.) Likewise, it’s a good window of time to do some serious goalsetting. Try this. Goals are helpful. They make future decision-making easier and they keep you on track. They give you a sense of purpose and clarity. Meanwhile, a hidden love affair might be taking place for some of you.

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 19)

The Sun will be at high noon in your chart for the next four weeks, which symbolically means it will be casting you in a spotlight. This is good news because this spotlight will be flattering! This means that without doing anything special, bosses, parents and VIPs will admire you in the next four weeks. (It’s all smoke and mirrors.) Since you have this marvellous advantage – use it! Now is the time to make your pitch and advance your agenda. Squabbles midweek might take place but don’t let this hold you back. By the end of the week, your ambition will be so strong you will achieve results that please you. This is also a lovely time to enjoy the friendship of creative, artistic people. “You’re related to Pablo? I thought you looked unusual.”

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 18)

You will have strong feelings of escapism in the next four weeks. “I gotta blow this pop stand!” Grab every chance to travel that comes your way. You might also explore opportunities in publishing and the media as well as something to do with medicine or the law. You will also have strong opinions about politics, religion and racial issues, which could lead to arguments. You are an idealist and you always want to make the world a better place. Very likely you will be revisiting old issues. Incidentally, Mercury retrograde will help you to finish important papers, manuscripts, screenplays or a book. You might also be in touch with someone in another country whom you have not seen for a while.

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20)

Activity is taking place in one of your Money Houses, specifically the one dealing with the wealth and assets of others. Issues will be quite intense for you in the next four weeks. Past situations are suddenly back on your plate again. The good news is that the next four weeks are an excellent time to wrap up old business concerning wills, mortgages, shared property, insurance matters and anything that you own jointly with others. Squabbles and disputes about ownership might take place. Just remember – you can be happy or you could be right. What’s going to be?

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Weekly horoscopes beginning Sunday, 19 September 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:

After a lengthy period devoted to dealing with a range of vital but often dull practical matters and various obligations, your ruler Mars has shifted to accent close alliances. Some are personal, a few out in the world, many are longstanding, although unexpected ones will pop up. Core to each is creating a new, timelier, if not easy-going, balance between you and others.

Animated talks will give you a lot to think about. You love to hear other people’s views and opinions and lively conversation seems to be a great way to fill your time if you have nothing else to do. Friends have ideas about starting a joint project. There’s no reason why you should feel bored or restless with so much going on around you to keep you interested and stimulated. Think positively as you start planning for the last three months of the year.

Before Tuesday’s Full Moon it would be advisable to think back to all that was agreed in the closing weeks of 2020. Ideas and plans that were incubated during that time will likely now require attention. Partnership issues are high profile for all signs. In your case, these could be linked to business opportunities. This is the week of the Equinox when the Sun moves into your opposite sign and when Aries shows its independence by first of all partnering. Once you know who your opposite is, you also determine your competitors! With Venus and Mars in mutual reception i.e., each travelling in a sign the other prefers, the need to explore differences between people is boosted. In your case, showing the power and authority you’ve gained at work in recent months may be irresistible. Care though, should be taken that you don’t alienate a Virgo or Pisces in the process.

Taurus

Personal theme: I have!!

Earth & fixed sign: April 20 — May 20

Your horoscope for this week:

Events are as thrilling as, in many situations, they are disruptive. However, each is triggering timely changes in elements of your life. While some will be the result of your own persistent efforts, others may be so sudden you’re unsure what to think or how to respond. In every case, begin by saying yes, even if it’s tentative. For now, life’s about exploration, discovery and excitement.

Household arrangements are turned upside down which will be annoying. You always like to have everything planned well in advance. What currently seems to be a nuisance will turn out to be a blessing in disguise. It won’t be easy but try to sit on any vague feelings of irritation. Instead of trying to fight against it, do your best to swim with the tide. Learning a new skill could be frustrating if there are too many people trying to teach and advise you.

Your ruling planet, Venus, is now in mutual reception with Mars. (i.e., each is travelling through a sign the other prefers). What this does is to boost the energy of both. That this effect coincides with both the Full Moon (Tuesday), and then the Sun’s arrival at the Equinox, (Thursday), suggests this will be a dynamic week for all signs. Relationships, partnerships and unions will all be high-profile. You might even consider making a merger: driven by strong desires and emotions but also using expertise and knowledge you recognise that you have acquired since the end of 2020. Ideas that you thought of towards the end of 2020 should now have a momentum that is compelling and irresistible – taking you on an exciting career path.

Gemini

Personal theme: I think!!

Air sign: May 21 — June 20

Your horoscope for this week:

Even at your most optimistic, you’d be surprised by the good fortune you’re experiencing. While not every idea, plan or offer will last, each will broaden your horizons or lead to new ways of doing things. The secret? Try out absolutely everything. In some cases, you’ll gain valuable insights, then move on; but in a few, that first step will lead to unexpected, yet welcome, developments.

Be careful about revealing your thoughts to others. There are times when it is wise and sensible to keep your views silent, even when you are asked for them. Either someone will take what you say the wrong way or take your ideas and pass them off as their own. A disappointment that once held you back from achieving your aims will not be repeated so stop imagining the worst. Think positively. Whatever your goal, tell yourself you can do it.

It’s reasonable to expect that a Full Moon accenting the backbone (or career axis0 of your solar chart, together with the Sun’s arrival in another of the Air sign, Libra, will provide a dynamic seven days. Change is afoot. On top of this, the two planets, Venus and Mars, are in what is known as mutual reception (i.e., each is travelling through a sign preferred by the other). This boosts the energy of both. Venus and Mars are the relationship pairing and so likely that a fresh working partnership will be formed. As of Thursday’s equinox, and the Sun then transiting the research and development area of this same chart, your ideas could be high-profile. Take time to consider those that have been developing since December last year when there was a rare alignment of Jupiter and Saturn in another of the Air signs, Aquarius. It is entirely possible the genius idea was seeded then. Now it reaches its next stage. The challenge is to persuade others to review it. Given that security may be an issue, you may find that others are open to ideas which a few months ago they would not have considered necessary.

Cancer

Personal theme: I feel!!

Water & cardinal sign: June 21 — July 22

Your Horoscope for this week:

Obviously, you’d rather plan even extensive changes well ahead. However, the current planetary setup is about you and others thinking and moving swiftly. Often this means venturing into new territory, in terms of your lifestyle, work or close alliances, and without discussion. Saying yes, despite being short of facts may seem unwise. While often changes are tentative, each is broadening your horizons with wonderful if unanticipated developments.

You’re making the most of any chance you can get to meet up with friends. You won’t be surprised therefore when social plans are on the expensive side. Someone in the family will ask you whether it’s all worth it. You feel it is doing you good to have fun without counting the cost. There’s a sense of haste and determination in the workplace and you can be relied on to carry out your fair share of the responsibility.

The combined effect of this week’s Full Moon in another of the Water signs, Pisces, with the Equinox on Thursday, and the mutual reception between Venus and Mars (when each is travelling through a sign preferred by the other), suggests this will be a dynamic week for all signs. Relationship issues will surely be high priority. Given the equinoctial accent on the backbone of your solar chart, it seems likely that working partnerships will have your full attention. You will need to take care that you are not overly emotional around the Full Moon prompting someone to consider whether or not you are the right person for a task. Assuming that you can control emotions (!) and instead offer the kind of support they need, then, it may be that you are considered the absolute best person for a role which a couple of years ago did not exist. The breath-taking speed at which everything happens could be breath-taking disconcerting. You might then enjoy the company of an Aquarius whose perspective, so very different to your own, raises a few laughs and help you maintain equilibrium.

Leo

Personal theme: I will!!

Fire & fixed sign: July 23 — August 22

Your horoscope for this week:

What’s coming your way is as thrilling as it is unexpected. When you’re organising plans, you’ll happily move swiftly, but if changes are taking you into new territory or are up to others, you’re cautious. Don’t be. During this powerful cycle, experience and chance encounters are you best teachers. Final decisions? Not yet. This is about discovering new pursuits and, often, new people to join you.

You might feel nervous about taking on a new challenge as this is bigger than anything you’ve ever done before. One way to overcome your uncertainty is to face up to anxieties instead of letting them stand in your way. Some unwanted commotion late in the week will turn out to be a storm in a teacup. A friend or neighbour has a habit of exaggerating everything. You won’t be so quick to believe their stories in the future.

This week includes a Full Moon (Tuesday) and the Equinox on Thursday. It concludes with an opposition of Venus to Uranus across the backbone of your solar chart and yes, this could bring a life-changing decision. Think of yourself as being at the controls of a plane: at some point you have to decide where and when to land. Decisions need to be made. Not making them is disconcerting. You’d be right to suppose that those made around the Full Moon would surely be based on emotion and might not be the best long-term course. You could though, run plans past a Gemini, Libra or Aquarius friend or colleague. Though their responses will likely be very different, the fact that they take an Air sign perspective i.e., they take the ‘eagles view’ should be most helpful. That, in turn, could lead to you agreeing a slightly altered but exciting course of action affecting how you live and work; and yes, property matters could once again be discussed.

Virgo

Personal theme: I analyse!!

Earth sign: August 23 — September 22

Your horoscope for this week:

Only weeks ago, you debated potential changes in several areas of your life, existing arrangements and future plans, and committed to some. You regarded those as final. However, events between now and the end of September indicate there’s more. Explore each, if only to familiarise yourself with the people, places and ideas involved. Note, you’re not alone in these changes. Join others. Together you’ll learn a lot.

Too many people have too many ideas, offer too much advice and cause too many distractions. In areas that cause confusion, your best option is to try to sort it out alone. You can think better when working quietly in the background. Start planning for the last few months of the year. You could learn a lot and be grateful for any experience gained through further education and travel. ‘ You’re never too old to learn something new.

Tuesday’s Full Moon is the annual one in your opposite sign. It takes place at the very end of Pisces and yes, you could experience moments of absolute exhaustion. It may be that you’ve been thinking too much. Yours is a sign with known skills for meticulous planning. It may be that you’ve given too much and you actually need ”time off for good behaviour’. That though might not be available. The chart for Thursday’s Equinox shows Venus moving into opposition with Uranus. This is likely to bring shakeup to all signs of the zodiac. You could be thrown a significant sidewinder by being asked to join a team, or to take on extra responsibility based on just how well you’ve done in recent weeks. What might be wise is to consider whether your delicately balanced nervous system can accept this. Perhaps you should suggest a trial period?

Libra

Personal theme: I balance!!

Air & cardinal sign: September 23 — October 22

Your horoscope for this week:

Ordinarily, Wednesday’s move by the Sun into Libra would mark your own personal new year. However, the events shaking up your life and the circumstances of others are leading to more far-reaching changes. While, in a few, decisions are clear, most are so complex they’ll require lots of thought. Take your time. Others may be in a rush, but there’s no need for you to hurry.

Some good luck through a partner’s efforts is likely. An offer of promotion or written confirmation of more money coming your way will bring a surge of excitement and optimism. Any plans you may have to broaden your mental horizons may be nothing more than daydreams and fleeting thoughts. It will either be the expense of a course or the time you will need to put into it that puts you off committing to this.

The Sun reaches your sign on Thursday but before doing so comes to Full Moon on Tuesday; and yes, emotions could run high. There are many reasons for this: not least of which is the approaching opposition of Venus, your ruling planet, to Uranus. It’s not the first time that this has happened in recent years but this time an alteration in partnership direction seems more likely than not. Your financial situation could be affected and yes, even the threat of this would be mildly disconcerting at the start of the week. There is high probability of you waiting for others to take action. You might also have to accept that before equilibrium can be reached there has to be disturbance. Yours is a sign that craves balance and harmony. The very idea that you have to cope with turbulent waves might not be pleasing. Yet you’ve ridden several of these in the last decade and must surely now have some experience. In fact, you could consider yourself a master navigator. So, far from this being a frightening or threatening time, you could seize the controls, accept that change is inevitable and start driving things the way in which you want them to go.

Scorpio & Ophiuchus

Personal theme: I desire!!

Water & fixed signs: October 23 — November 21

Your horoscope for this week:

You don’t think of yourself as a perfectionist, until faced with circumstances such as this week’s, in which you’re making joint decisions; and, often, you’re shocked how few questions others ask. While usually you’re subtle, the swift pace and importance of the actual circumstances force you to be uncharacteristically frank. If this worries you initially, you’ll soon be enjoying, and learning from the resulting discussions.

Surprising things are happening in your closest relationships. A more mature approach will work wonders and this will help bring you closer to people you haven’t been able to understand recently. You will also find yourself more in tune with relatives you don’t normally get on with. Any investment made at this time is almost certain to take the shape of improving your lifestyle and surroundings in a pleasing and pleasant way.

It is entirely reasonable to expect that a week that contains both a Full Moon, an Equinox and Venus (travelling through your sign) opposing Uranus will be one of high drama. You don’t have to be centre stage! It is likely however, that colleagues will be altering direction, defining new goals and that you will feel disconcerted as a result. Add to that the feeling that even more work is headed your way, and you have to decide whether or not to be energised by the challenge or overwhelmed. It would help if you were in peak physical fitness. That’s something you might need to give extra thought to. Scorpio is one of the Fixed signs of the zodiac and it is all too easy for you to get stuck. What would perhaps alleviate stress, is ensuring that you get plenty of movement. Taking a walk – and preferably with a Virgo or Pisces colleague might help. Though their reaction to events will likely be so very different to your own, there is the strong possibility of you finding something to laugh at and so releasing tension.

Sagittarius

Personal theme: I see!!

Fire sign: November 22 — December 21

Your horoscope for this week:

Whether it’s discussing ideas or actually making plans, you’ve a knack for sidestepping pointless details. Ordinarily that’s useful. Now, however, what seems minor could be of pivotal significance. The problem? You won’t know that until you’ve done some investigation. So do something out of character and plunge in. Once you begin, your perspective will change dramatically. What you discover could be as fascinating as it is unexpected.

A journey that takes you away from familiar places may not provide you with the break you had been hoping for. Transport delays and other frustrations will make you wonder whether you would have done better staying at home. Friends are gathering together. A party will seem to develop from nothing and the weekend will be a good time to have some fun. A gift from someone special will give your spirits a boost.

With the Full Moon accenting the backbone or career axis of your solar chart, to be followed two days later on Thursday by the Equinox, and the annual opposition of Venus to Uranus, this could be a week of high drama: obviously affecting all signs but, for Sagittarius providing moments of high drama. It wouldn’t be so surprising if a group of people needed your expertise and in particular, your understanding of how situation has developed. This is more than just being the class historian. It’s about understanding and explaining original motivations. It may be that you’re asked to take sides. Whilst instinctively you may know which is ‘right’, and be tempted to persuade others to your point of view, hold the thought that before the end of this month, Mercury will turn retrograde. It’s likely that crossed wires are in danger of forming. Be as clear as you can be – and even if it upsets others, demand that agreements are recorded.

Capricorn

Personal theme: I use!!

Earth & cardinal sign: December 22 — January 19

Your horoscope for this week:

True, nothing could undermine the current superb planetary activity. In fact, some events seem too good to be true. The problem? While things really are that good, tricky events in the background are triggering shake-ups. However, these, too, hold promise. Plunging in, then dealing with details later may be out of character, if not seriously worrying; but you’ll soon recognise it’s the ideal approach.

You will do your best to avoid making judgements without knowing all the facts. That’s why you will take some of the things people say with a pinch of salt. If you need to make an important decision, you will do so only when you have all the information necessary to make a sensible choice. An older colleague will announce they are retiring soon. They are warning you in advance so you can prepare yourself for a possible promotion.

A week containing both the Full Moon and the Equinox. together with key aspects involving Uranus suggests a week of high drama. It might be wise to take a deep breath before it begins. The Full Moon comes first (Tuesday). Emotions are likely to run high with others acting with an urgency which would have been a helpful energy weeks ago. Yes, these could be pandemic-related but it might also be that newly-crafted working schedules hit immediate difficulties and that there is a degree of panic as a result. Others will no doubt look to you for a cool, calm and collected response. Not for the first time, you are likely to be irritated that certain issues weren’t addressed months ago. Yet amidst all this, you might also sense that you now have expertise and knowledge that is truly needed. Your status may be altered as a result. If you can keep calm and be super careful with your use of language, you could position yourself to take a significant step up the career ladder.

Aquarius

Personal theme: I know!!

Air & fixed sign: January 20 — February 18

Your horoscope for this week:

Usually, you’re the first to spot and explore innovative ideas of any variety. Yet you’re oddly wary of a range of unexpected offers. The real problem is your instincts are saying they’re not only thrilling; they’d lead to changes more far-reaching than you’re ready for. Or so you think. At least explore these. The experience will transform your attitude and you’re thinking about the future.

Whatever you commit to, you will be serious about it. That’s why no one can accuse you of setting your sights too high. It will mean a lot to you to be able to achieve the goals you are now setting yourself and you will put your heart and soul into this. Once you have decided on what you want to do, you will share these intentions with those who are close to you. A loved one will have something to celebrate. In the weekend, you will happily give yourself up to the sociable atmosphere around you.

It’s said that those of your sign have curious perspective. Certainly, it does seem that you’re able to take the ‘eagles’ view’. That ability to look at the long-term, and to some extent fixate on what could be, can be sabotaging at times. Yet at other times is most useful. Where others seem to be going off in one direction, you are not afraid to go off in a different one. That’s likely this week given the combination of Tuesday’s Full Moon followed by Thursday’s Equinox and the opposition of Venus to one of your ruling planets, Uranus. It won’t be at all surprising if you appear particularly exercised; political even. There may be very good reason for that too. Another – and strong possibility – is that your career will take a decided ‘left turn’. You will need to take care that your outspokenness doesn’t get you into difficulty. Think through implications. Be aware too, that it can take time for others to catch up with your thinking. In so self-sabotage many ways you are too far ahead of your time!

Pisces

Personal theme: I believe!!

Water sign: February 19 — March 20

Your horoscope for this week:

While every sign will be influenced by the powerful Full Moon, on the 20th, which triggers a series of changes over a period of days, because it’s in the sign of Pisces, you could find yourself questioning your own feelings and certain longstanding convictions. The trick? Note these and where appropriate, discuss them with others but avoid taking action on ideas or plans until later in the week.

All that is needed to get friends interested in meeting up with you is to send a few short text messages or e-mails. If you are missing someone, get in touch with them. Make this a sociable week and make the most of any chance to join in with friendship activities. Are you single? You could be your own worst enemy if you turn down the chance of a date because they don’t look like your type. Remember: looks can be deceptive.

It’s reasonable to expect that a week that contains the Full Moon in your sign, and which is followed by both the Equinox and the annual opposition of Venus to Uranus will be a week of high drama. Expect to find yourself centre of attention. This will likely be particularly important in the working scene. It could be that others feel you have untapped gifts. It might also be that you have one of your ‘feeling left out moments’ and need to be noticed. Take care that you don’t self-sabotage by playing the victim role: you’re not and you needn’t be. You have much to offer. In particular, your ability to deal with those who to others can be difficult and even obstreperous, adds to your value. More than that, and though you have a reputation for being forgetful, you also have the happy knack of recalling information just when it’s needed. Some would say this is a magic touch. Certainly, it looks as though that will be prominent by the end of the week: leading perhaps, to an invitation to join a new team.

Home Page: https://groups.io/g/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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Healing Arts and Pagan Studies

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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!

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!”

Goddess Bless!

GrannyMoon

By GrannyMoon Posted in Pagan

GrannyMoons Weekly Feast: 12 Sept 2021

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

Today’s Affirmation:

I choose to respond to life’s provocations,

not with anger, resentment, or regret,

but with equanimity and a focus on positive action.

– Jonathan Lockwood Huie

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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Herb of the Year for 2021: Parsley (Petroselinum crispum, named by the International Herb Association.

Week 2. National Arts in Education Week

September 14. In England, the traditional time for the hops harvest.

September 16. National Guacamole Day. Perfectly delicious. Also the feast of St. Ninian, especially venerated in Scotland.

Goddess Month of Month of Mala runs from 9/6 – 10/2

Celtic Tree Calendar: Sept 2 – Sept 29 – Bramble/Vine

THE 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.) Symbolic of growth, manifestation, attainment, gravidity (heavy with child – both philosophical and literal).   

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 May 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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Earth Signs and Omens in Nature Course

Uncover the hidden 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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Learn About Herbs with GrannyMoon!

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.

http://goddessschool.com/Paganstudies/healingarts.html

The cost for Level 1 is $50.00 or the entire Healing Arts Course (1-3) for $150.00, which includes a free Reiki certification course when all three are ordered!

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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 (www.Goddessschool.com) has grown into a large and beautiful global community of women.

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Coventry Creations 2021 

BHC Newsletter Reta

September 13, 2021 – September 19, 2021

The cosmic energy this week begins on Tuesday as the Sun opposes Neptune. This is a low-energy sort of day, and you may feel confused and uncertain about the future. Try to stay out of victim mindsets because they will only lead to feelings of doubt about your world and the major players in it. Later on Tuesday, Mars moves into Libra, and he provides a small energy boost that can help break Neptune’s spell. Focusing on your feelings and connecting to your inner being may relieve some of the anxiety of Sun oppose Neptune.

Later in the week, the Sun trines Pluto on Thursday. Sun trine Pluto gives us the needed energy to discover what we want out of our lives and is easier energy than the Sun’s opposition to Neptune. Since Pluto likes to transform any planet he aspects, he helps us make the changes necessary so that our lives feel more fulfilled and have meaning. However, it’s best to make major decisions that have an impact on your life rather than ones that supply only temporary happiness.

Finally, this weekend, Venus squares frustrating Saturn. You may need to take a deep look at your relationships and whether or not your personal needs are being met in them. You may find it difficult to relate to others and this could make you feel insecure. It’s best to face relationship issues head-on and work towards a positive resolution than allowing them to fester and become toxic.

Recommended: Truth and Justice (Blessed Herbal), Love (Chakra Magic), Everything and Then Some (Dorothy Morrison’s Wicked Witch Mojo), Adam and Eve (Motor City Hoodo).

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

Is the Universe doing that Shoulder tap again?

September Astro Magic 2021

For the bulk of the summer, I felt trapped in cosmic Groundhog Day as multiple planets retriggered Saturn square Uranus to the point that I felt like these two planets had taken control of my life.

I mean, it was all I seemed to write about, and as a content creator, that can be unnerving, and I am sure that my readers were sick and tired of endless discussions about preserving structures and unexpected change.

Copyright Coventry Creations 2021 

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Llewellyn’s Spell A Day

Altar Renewal Spell

SEPTEMBER 12, 2021 BY DALLAS JENNIFER COBB

As summer wanes, our altars need renewal. Remove everything from your altar. Sort things into sacred tools and objects, supplies (like sage, sweetgrass, or salt), and seasonal objects and symbols.

Wipe down smooth surfaces, saying:

May the grace of the Goddess

cleanse this altar.

Place a fresh cloth upon your altar. Say:

May the beauty of the

Goddess bless this altar.

Place fresh candles in fireproof containers on the altar. Say:

May the spirit of the Goddess

shine in all I do.

Carefully place your magical tools. Say:

May the sacred strength of the

Goddess live in all these tools.

Create a container for all your supplies. Say:

May the magic of the Goddess

be in these elements.

House seasonal items separately, and take them out as needed. Whenever you work magic after this, light the candles, recall the renewal spell, and invoke:

The grace, beauty, spirit, strength, and

magic of the Goddess all live here.

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Day of Service

SEPTEMBER 11, 2021 BY EMYME

It’s hard to believe it was twenty years ago on this date that the United States was attacked on its own soil. This has become a day of service and a reminder of the solidarity that was forged among citizens. It is a day that brings people together.

This date falling on a Saturday seems like a good time to seek out a local cause to which you can offer your time and talents. Should that not be an option for you, another option is to offer blessings to those allies without whose assistance we would all be living a different type of life:

Lady and Lord, protect all nations

in all ways from darkness and evil.

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Beauty Elixir

SEPTEMBER 10, 2021 BY EMBER GRANT

We all know that inner beauty is what counts, but it never hurts to look your best—especially for a special occasion. Keep in mind that an attitude of self-love is at the core of this spell. Know and see your true beauty and others will too.

Place a small piece of amber in a glass of cool water and let it soak for at least an hour. As you dress and prepare to go out, use this elixir to wash your face or add it to a bath. As you wash, repeat these words three times:

The more I love myself,

the more beautiful I’ll be.

I will shine, I will glow—the

best of me is what they’ll see.

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Witch’s Crown Spell

SEPTEMBER 09, 2021 BY DEVIN HUNTER

Today is full of air energy, with five planets in air signs. Expect lots of talking and to even find yourself in a debate or two. With the Moon, Mercury, and Venus in Libra right now, it’s a good time to do magic that will restore balance to an area of your life where you have been feeling powerless. Cast this spell when you forget how good it feels to wear your crown.

Stand in front of a mirror. In the air before you, draw a pentacle with your index finger and say:

By balance, power, respect, awareness,

and divinity, I claim my crown in

the name of the witch’s trinity!

Primal, ego, and higher soul, I summon

the crown and become whole!

Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and visualize a crown manifesting on your head.

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Forget a Lover Spell

SEPTEMBER 08, 2021 BY JAMES KAMBOS

At first you were in feel-it-to-yourtoes love. But that was then. Your feelings have changed. This spell will help you forget ’em fast.

You’ll need a tart apple, peeled. You’ll also need some lemon juice and a crushed clove of garlic. Rub the lemon juice and garlic into the peeled apple. Rub it hard. Then set the apple on a paper towel to dry for a few days. It doesn’t need to dry completely, but allow it to begin to shrivel. When the apple is ready, take it to a wooded area. Hold the apple, think of your former lover, and say:

I loved you at the start.

Now you’re out of my mind—

And out of my heart!

End by throwing the apple as far as you can. Walk away. You can also throw the apple into the trash or a compost pile instead.

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Bless the Hearth

SEPTEMBER 07, 2021 BY MICHAEL FURIE

Many believe that the hearth is the center of the home, and even if we aren’t the best chefs in the world, the kitchen is an important part of life. Though house blessings are commonplace, a blessing specific to the kitchen and our modern hearth—the stove/oven—can be useful to keep the energy harmonious.

First, thoroughly clean the kitchen with the intention of removing physical grime and any psychic buildup as well. Then boil a mixture of water, sliced oranges (with the peel), and rosemary sprigs in a pot on the stove. As the mixture begins to steam and bubble, encircle your kitchen by moving clockwise in a circular motion while mentally sending loving energy through an athame or wand. As you circle, say:

Filled with magic to transform

and combine, renewed and

empowered, this vital shrine.

Sacred hearth of this home, be

cleansed, be well, be blessed and warm.

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New Moon, New Job

SEPTEMBER 06, 2021 BY KATE FREULER

The new moon is a space between the ending of one lunar cycle and the beginning of another. Things in life enter this phase and come out the other side reborn, just like the fresh waxing moon. This spell uses the transformative power of the new moon to create a job change or promotion.

Gather these items:

* A black bowl filled with water to represent the dark moon

* A waterproof object to represent your job (such as a paper clip, a nail, etc.)

After dark, sit outdoors or near a window with the bowl of water. Hold the object in your hand. Imagine your job as it is now and say:

Dark moon,

Cauldron of change,

I give this job to you.

Darkness stir,

Mysteries move,

Bring me something new.

Drop the object into the dark water and spend a moment visualizing yourself doing the job you want. Leave the water out overnight.

Dump the water onto the earth in the morning, and continue to use the object as change comes your way.

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Declaring Our Intentions

If you’re feeling stuck in life and are ready for change, take time to declare to the Universe that you’re ready.

There comes a point in most of our lives when we feel ready to experience a change we’ve had trouble carrying out. Maybe we’ve been stuck in a home, a relationship, job, or a town that hasn’t felt right for a long time, but we’ve been unable to shift our circumstances in the direction we want to go. At times like this, it can help to declare to the universe that we are ready for a change. Think of it as informing a helpful friend that you need her assistance to move to the next level in your life. If the time is right, the universe will respond with opportunities and offers designed to help you create the change you wish to see.

You can begin the process of making your declaration by getting clear within yourself about what exactly you want to change. Whenever we ask anyone for help, they can assist us that much better if we are specific. The universe also appreciates our clarity and has an easier time answering a direct communication than a vague yearning. When you are clear on what you want, write your declaration on a piece of paper and place it on your altar, if you have one. If you don’t, you can also place it under your pillow or in a box on your nightstand. Set aside a period of time every day to be silent with your wishes for change, repeating your declaration like a mantra. This lets the universe know that you are ready to change and will be receptive to its efforts.

Feel free to continue to refine and redefine your declaration, and remember to be open to the many different ways in which the change you seek might come to be. Remember also to be active in your own efforts, taking opportunities that come your way, watching for signs, and always taking responsibility for your intentions. If things don’t happen quickly, try not to be discouraged; it might take time to free up energy that has been blocked and possibly serving a purpose beyond what we can understand. If you continue your conversation with the universe, declaring yourself clearly and openly, you cannot help but experience the magic of changing and being changed. 

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Heartwings Love Notes 999 Bread and Cheese Casserole

Heartwings says, “A frugal cook makes use of every scrap of good food.”

I do not remember my mother ever making this casserole. She tended to use rice or pasta—usually macaroni in her casserole dishes. These were never served at lunch. My dad came home to eat the noon meal, which was normally some kind of meat, poultry or fish, a vegetable and all too often, potatoes, boiled in their “jackets” as she called it. As a result, I grew up disliking potatoes, especially boiled ones.

I find it surprising she never made this casserole because it is a frugal way to feed any number of people using bread that might otherwise go to waste or to feed animals of one sort or another. I discovered the recipe somewhere and wrote it down in my original recipe notebook—one of those school notebooks with a black and white marbled cover. On the inside back cover is a precious photo of my young children from fifty plus years ago.

The notebook is almost full of recipes from a variety of places, some with the names of friends who gave them to me. Most of them have been made numerous times and many are spotted and splashed with food stains. I have collected recipes for as long as I can remember. After that notebook, I had used a ring binder and pasted the pages with recipes cut from newspapers and magazines. I gave that one to one of my daughters who put it in the attic of her summer home where mice, attracted to the food spatters devoured much of it.

The recipe can be adapted to serve one or many It will double or divide, and the amounts of the ingredients are flexible. I never measure them myself, so I will set down an approximate quantity and you can have fun making it to suit yourself. To serve four you will need a two quart casserole. Preheat the oven to 350 and plan on forty-five minutes or perhaps more to bake it.

Ingredients: softened butter, half to one stick, 6 to 8 slices bread of any kind except pumpernickel or rye, 2 eggs 2 cups any kind of milk, 2 or more cups grated cheddar or Colby jack block cheese. Hint: You can shred the cheese in your food processor to make it easier. You can also blend different kinds of cheese for fun.

Method: Butter bread lavishly and cut into 1 inch squares. Layer in well greased casserole alternating cheese and sprinkled herbs. End with cheese on top. Beat eggs in a bowl and add milk, salt and pepper. Beat well and pour over bread, cheese and herbs. Put into oven and bake at 350 for 45 or so minutes, until brown around the edges and cheese is bubbly. Serve to 4 or even 2 and reheat leftovers which are good the next day or whenever served.

May you and those you share it with enjoy this simple casserole.

Blessings and best regards, Tasha Halpert

This is great comfort food for any day or season. Do you have one too? I so enjoy it when my readers share. Write me at tashahal@gmail.com, and for more Love Notes and other writing, visit http://www.heartwingsandfriends.com.&nbsp;

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Sacred Trees in the Americas: Paw Paw (Asimina triloba) Medicine, Myths, and Meaning

by Dana

The PawPaw is a tree that is so wild and unique and wonderful, and yet, is often quite unknown–it is the only native citrus tree we have in the upper east East Coast and midwest areas. Like some of the other trees I have recently shared in this series, Paw Paw is an underappreciated and under-recognized tree. Within the bushcraft and permaculture circles, it is quite well known as an amazing tree to find, plant, and tend. One of the reasons that PawPaw is probably not more well known has, unsurprisingly, everything to do with the commercial viability of the fruits. PawPaw fruit is absolutely delicious but it only stays good for a few days after picking–so it would never survive the rigors of modern industrial agriculture.  You can occasionally find it at a good farmer’s market, and it is well worth seeking out! You can also seek it out in the wilds. And yet, PawPaw is the only citrus tree that grows in a north-eastern climate.  Read that sentence twice–yes, we have a native citrus tree that grows utterly delicious fruits that taste like a cross between guava, strawberry, and a banana.

This leads to the names for the PawPaw, which includes everything from Appalacian banana, Michigan Banana, Ozark Banana, Kentucky Banana, West Virginia Banana, to American custard apple, Quaker delight, hillbilly mango, and poor man’s banana. As you can see from some of these names, a bit of a stigma was once attached to PawPaw, which may be another reason it is not as sought out or well known.

Unsurprisingly, there is also a lack of discussion of PawPaw in the magical community–so, like so many of the underlooked understory trees (of which PawPaw is one), we will build a magical understanding of this tree by exploring its uses, edible qualities, medicine, natural history and doctrine of signatures (for my full methods, see this post).

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 (which I hope to have completed by early 2022–so you will be seeing a lot more tree posts!) For my methods using ecology, the doctrine of signatures, and human uses, you can see this post. Other trees in this series include Eastern Sycamore, Tulip Poplar, Tamarak, 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 of the PawPaw

The slender stem of a five year old pawpaw

PawPaw has a native range that spans from the edges of Texas and Oklahoma all across the southeastern US into Georgia and Alabama and upward into Maryland and Pennsylvania.  As a USDA Zone 5-9 fruiting tree, people have planted it as far as New England and the upper Midwest. Pawpaw is one of the few fruit trees that can handle full shade, and when I’ve found it in the wild, that’s typically where you find it: along quiet stream beds and river valleys, in damp and fertile flood plains, and deep in the shade of the overstory. PawPaw often spread by roots to form a dense clonal colony–thus, when you find mature trees, you will often find a large patch of them growing closer together.

PawPaw is an understory tree, typically growing between 25-35 feet in height with trunks somewhere between 8-12″ in diameter at full growth. The leaves typically grow only hear the ends of the branches so PawPaw may look a bit sparse compared to other trees.

PawPaw flowers have three sepals (petal-like leaves) that surround six maroon flowers. PawPaws are predominately fly pollinated, which means that you do not want to sniff the flowers, as they often smell like rotting meat (I learned this the hard way, haha!).  Don’t stick your nose in that maroon flower! The PawPaw flower would be classified as a “carrion” flower due to this unique odor–it creates a stinking, fetid odor to attract flies and beetles that would pollinate it.

The flowers appear at the same time that the new leaves are coming forth in early spring. I will also note that the leaves and branches also may have a slightly fetid smell, so do keep this in mind as you work with this tree.  It is kind of amazing that this stinky flower and tree can produce such delicious fruit!

After spring pollination, the green fruits grow to the size of your hand or more, eventually dipping down the tender branches and dropping from the tree in September or October. Here in Western PA, it is often late September that the fruit is ready to drop from the tree, just around the Fall Equinox. The fruits typically will fall from the tree while still green and ripen on the ground.  This is when you can find them–pick them up on the ground green and then sit them on a counter or in a dark paper bag until ripe.  Keep a good eye on them, as they will ripen quickly.  Once they ripen, eat them fresh or process them into fruit leather, jam, pies, etc as they only stay ripe a few days before spoiling.

PawPaw as Anachronistic Fruit and Tree of the Ancestors

This PDF titled “Anachronistic Fruits and the Ghosts Who Haunt Them”  by Connie Barlow of the Harvard Arboretum gives a really interesting natural history of the PawPaw as an anachronistic fruit.  While pawpaw and other fruits (including Osage orange, Persimmon, Honey Locust, and Kentucky Coffee Tree) were originally eaten and spread by the “megafauna” at the end of the Pleistocene, these animals went extinct at about 12,700 BC, likely due to overhunting by humans. These megafauna animals included mastodons, giant sloths, giant beavers, and spread PawPaw fruits by ingesting and then pooping out the seeds.

Barlow notes that PawPaw and other anachronistic fruits developed clonal spreading techniques when there was an absence of large megafauna seed spreaders. She notes that at the Arnold Arboretum after an old PawPaw died, the underground root network had hundreds of baby pawpaw spring up almost immediately.  When humans came into North America at the end of the last Ice Age, they would have taken up the work of the Megafauna and spread the seeds of these useful and edible trees. Thus, if you find a large PawPaw tree cluster in the wild, perhaps it was deposited there by ancient human ancestors of the land.  And, anytime you are planting a new pawpaw tree by root cutting or seed, you are connecting with that ancient legacy.  So this is an ancestral tree with ancestral connections.

Human uses: Food and Wood

Obviously, the PawPaw is a great wild or cultivated food. As permaculture, restoration agriculture, and food forestry take off, PawPaw has become a shining superstar for developing native perennial-based food systems here in North America.  PawPaw are particularly good for areas where you have rich soil with shade and water. In fact, one of the first things I did when arriving on this land was to plant 30 PawPaws in the understory, much of which had been logged, as part of my forest regeneration efforts. They haven’t borne fruit yet, but I know they will in the next few years, and I’m quite excited!

As I mentioned above, the fruits typically fall from the trees in the fall.  PawPaw fruits are usually higher than you can reach in mature stands, so you have to wait for them to fall onto the ground to collect. The fruits fall green and will naturally ripen on your counter in a few days.  You can also pick them from the tree, but only if the tree is ready to give of its fruit–in other words, if the fruit is easy to pick from the tree, it is ready (just like harvesting a wild apple). If the fruit does not want to come off the tree, come back in a few days and try again–it is not ready.

The fruits are delicious when eaten raw. They have large seeds (which you can plant, but you need to keep them moist or else they lose viability–so plant just after eating!)  You can also create custards, pies, jams, and jellies from your pawpaws. There are two real keys to pawpaw.  The first is that you have to process it fast: it’s really only good for a few days on the counter (or maybe up to a week in the fridge) before it goes rotten, so you’ve got to use it while it lasts!  This post offers some great tips for where to buy PawPaw products like beer, popsicles, and more.  The second key is that it is best used fresh, dried, or baked–so with the exception of my goose egg custard, I don’t typically cook it much, as you do lose some of the flavors of the fruit. Canning a jam can work, but it’s not going to be nearly as good as a fresh or frozen puree.

My happy pawpaw, growing along the path in the shade at the homestead My happy pawpaw, growing along the path in the shade at the homestead

The fruit itself really tastes like a custard already, but I’ve found it particularly good when a bit is added to a duck or goose egg custard (I use the linked recipe and replace 50% of the maple syrup with the pawpaw for either duck or goose eggs). I’ve also made a nice fruit leather using a similar technique to what I posted for Autumn olives in the above-linked post.

Beyond its delicious fruit, PawPaw has a number of other bushcraft uses. PawPaw wood is very soft and fibrous, making it excellent for use in a bow drill set, both spindle and motherboard as well as for a hand drill (needs to be quite dry to use as a hand drill).  In fact, my first bow drill set (which I made at the North American Bushcraft School’s MountainCraft Gathering in 2019, taught to me by Jeff Gotieb ) used a PawPaw spindle.  PawPaw is one of the softer woods, considered good for a beginner who is new to ancestral fire-making.

As with any uses of any tree, I always suggest you practice reciprocation: make offerings, ask permission, and do something nice for the tree in return (such as planting its seeds or offspring).  If you are going to enjoy the tree’s fruits, make sure you give something in return.

Historical and Present Uses in Medicine and Magic

In truth, there is almost nothing that I can find on the magical or mundane uses of PawPaw in any of my usual herbal books or references in the different western magical traditions (western occultism, hoodoo, herbalism, etc). Thus, it does not appear that PawPaw has traditionally been used for magical practices or herbalism. This is pretty typical of the other understory trees that I’ve studied, but I think that they are really worth getting to know!

However, what search does yield fruit is looking at some of the publications coming out of the scientific community.  Even if PawPaw wasn’t used traditionally, scientists are now discovering some of the amazing properties of this plant. For example, Nam et. al (2018) found that PawPaw fruit contained at least some anti-cancer components and may be a useful anti-cancer treatment with future study.  In another study by Nam et. al. (2019), they found that alcohol extraction of unripe fruits contained considerable anti-oxidant and anti-microbial properties, suggesting possibilities for anti-aging and anti-microbial applications.  PawPaw is also being explored as a possible food additive for domestic fowl production.

PawPaw’s Magic and Divination

Given all of the above, PawPaw is a really interesting tree to think about from a divinatory and magical perspective.

Death and Underworld. Certainly, PawPaw has connections to the world of the dead and the underworld for several reasons.  The most important being that it has a carrion-smelling flower, that literally smells like fetid flesh, and that attracts flies and beetles as pollinators.  The second way that it connects is also through the doctrine of signatures–the tree itself has very sparse leaves and a very open frame, showing the skeleton of the tree (the branches and trunk) rather than being covered by leaves.  This connection might allow you to use the flowers to connect with the dead, to speak with them, or to help them on their journey.

Strong Need to Move On from a Toxic Situation.  Tied to the carrion flower that is transformed into an extremely delicious–but short-lived fruit, this tree may also signal that something that has been going on for a long time needs to end.  Sometimes we end up in situations where we should have ended a situation (a bad job, a bad relationship, a bad living situation) a long time ago, and for some reasons (fear, stress, exhaustion) we continue to persevere long past our breaking point.  PawPaw can signal the need to move on–and the healing and rewards (fruit) that come when we let go of the toxic situation.

Transience.  Because PawPaw’s fruit is so short-lived and transient, it reminds us of the transience or ephemeral nature of things.  We can never get too comfortable or used to anything in life–the only certainty is the passage of time.

I hope that you’ve enjoyed this look into the wonderful and delicious PawPaw tree–and may you find many on your travels!  I would love to hear of your experiences with this incredible tree!

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The Sound of the Human Voice

Every time we use our voices, we send our energetic imprint out into the universe and to the people around us.

Whether listening to the low muted murmur of a confidential whisper or the proud declarative boom coming from behind a mic on the podium, there are few sounds more evocative than the human voice. Each human being’s voice has a unique tone that is all its own. Carrying their own signature traits and idiosyncrasies, no two voices are alike.

Yet so often, we neglect to hear these resonances under which our spoken words are floated over. A lover’s voice vibrating with tenderness can feel like a warm caress touching the body; words spoken over an angry voice can seem like bullets hitting one’s auric field; and a voice tinged with laughter can’t help but fill us with good feelings. And then there are the voices of other people we encounter. The radio announcer’s soothing baritone that accompanies us during a long ride, the cheerful chatter of children playing on the street, and the dulcet hum of a yogi in mid-mantra are just a few of the voices we may be blessed to hear on any given day. Taken together, they’re like a wondrous symphony of mellifluous notes.

Every time we use our voices, we send our energetic imprint out into the universe and to the people around us. And, like the words that we use when we speak to people, our voices can communicate what we are feeling, what we desire, and what we really mean. There is no hiding our truth that can be felt through the sound of our voices. Timidity, desire, pain, and love can all be expressed and felt through the human voice. Our voices also have the power to heal, to hurt, to love, and to transform others. When we are aware of the impact our voices can have, we can consciously choose what we are expressing. Remember that what you communicate when you speak goes beyond words. Take responsibility for the power your voice has to impact the space and the people around you and let your voice be a sound that creates harmony and compassion in the universe.

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Ghost Hunting Theories

My Top 5 Favorite Halloween Decor Places!

Posted: 07 Sep 2021 02:00 AM PDT

It’s that magical time of year when you drift into the craft, hardware, and big box stores, cruise around online, and bop into the local Spirit Halloween to get your visual fix.

I’m going to share some of my favorite places to find decor for Halloween!

Christmas Traditions (shop)

This shop has an amazing array of beautiful artistry and magic for whatever holiday it is. Halloween is very nostalgic and amazing. If you want true collectibles, this is ideal.

Oriental Trading Company (shop)

This is the most happily priced items with the biggest selection. If you need a costume or are having a party – it’s ideal!

Spirit Halloween (shop)

We all love Spirit Halloween because it has pop up storms from around Labor Day to Halloween. This allows a lot of us to go in the stores, see the animatronics, and soak up Halloween first hand. If you need makeup, costumes, or home decor, it’s awesome! I’m not always excited about the themes they decide to focus on, but thankfully zombies and clowns are fading away. Their online catalog makes it possible to get items anywhere.

GrandInRoad (shop)

This ones is pricey, but you will find seriously quality and beautiful items that you can’t find anywhere else. If you want Halloween to be an interior design delight without being campy and cheesy, you’ll find those items here. They are the kinds of things you keep for decades and probably have your kids begging to take to their adult classy homes.

Michael’s (shop)

Once again, a great store because you can go inside and really play with stuff. Michaels is fantastic about setting Halloween up in the summertime, knowing we can’t resist looking at everything autumn. With the exception of the ugly glitter choices, their buyers are pretty spot-on. The Tiny Treasures/Tiny Town collectibles are a fascination to look at up close.

Vintage Halloween is a real favorite right now and I’d love to see the 1970s stuff – the stacked plastic jack o’lantern light, the macaroni-looking plastic wall hangings of a cat and the moon, a pumpkin, a witch. Would love to see someone turn string lights into those napkin and rubber band ghosts we used to make!

Some other places to look –

Etsy

Ebay

Party City

Overstock

Wayfair

Goodwill

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Angel of Grief

The memorials added to Find a Grave® not only document the burial locations or dispositions of those who have passed on, but also memorialize and celebrate their lives. We’ve received messages from you that mention how visiting a Find a Grave memorial has helped with the grieving process. We all know the sadness and loneliness that follows after a loved one dies and are glad that leaving flowers and visiting the memorial helps.

A particular sculpture captures this sadness: the Angel of Grief, which graces the grave of Emelyn Story. The angel is dressed in classical Roman attire. Her face remains unseen unless you are close to the sculpture. The angels’ wings dominate the scene, but even they look to feel the despair as they drape over the altar to the ground. She seems to be abandoning all else as she steps up and falls on the altar of life in mourning. Her body is eternally slumped in bereavement. The laurel branches that she brought to the altar have fallen from her hand and lie at the base, their evergreen leaves, which symbolize victory and immortality, no longer victorious.

The “Angel of Grief Weeping over the Altar of Life” is located in Campo Cestio beneath the shadow of the once-occupied pyramid tomb of Caius Cestius. It was William Wetmore Story’s last sculpture, made to mark the grave of his wife, Emelyn.

William Wetmore Story

William and Emelyn Story married in their youth and spent their lives together. They had four children: Edith, Joseph, Thomas, and Julian. William was a man of many talents. He was a well-known sculptor, practiced law, authored poems, wrote other literary works, and was an art critic. He also wrote a biography on his father, an Associate Justice for the U.S. Supreme Court. After his father’s death in 1845, he was commissioned to create a memorial statue. It was then that William and his family moved to Italy for his study of sculpture. In Rome, he and his family were well known in social circles and his palace apartments in Palazzo Barberini (which contained forty rooms in total) became a hub for intellectuals, writers, and artists. William sculpted the memorial for his father and continued his artistry with many other famous sculptures.

William and Emelyn enjoyed each other’s company. At one point William was having difficulty finding time to read Ben-Hur, so he and Emelyn decided to read it aloud to one another—all 744 pages. Letters to friends say that they both “felt great regret as they finished the last page.” Theirs was a mature love, gained after being married for fifty years. Emelyn died in 1894 at age 73, and William, in his solemn grief, lost all interest in the affairs of life. He wrote to a friend after her death that Emelyn was “my life, my joy, my stay and help in all things…what is left seems to be but a blank of silence, a dead wall which, when I cry out…only echoes back my own voice.” (The Browning’s Correspondence)

The creation of the Angel of Grief was written about in an 1896 issue of Cosmopolitan Magazine: “It was only when his children suggested that he should make a monument to her memory that he consented to resume work; the design he chose was the ‘Angel of Grief’ and it is wrought to exquisite finish, as are the statues modeled in his summer prime. When this was done, he left the studio never to return.” 

William described the sculpture and his feelings to a relative: “It represents the Angel of Grief, in utter abandonment, throwing herself with drooping wings and hidden face over a funeral altar. It represents what I feel. It represents prostration. Yet to do it helps me.”(The Browning’s Correspondence)

After he completed this sculpture for the grave of his wife, he fell into a long illness and died the following year. He is buried underneath the angel, with his wife.

The Angel of Grief left its intended effect, evoking the feelings of sadness, despair, despondence, and mourning alongside its breathtaking beauty and eternal posture. Within a few years, copies of the angel started showing up in other cemeteries around the world and still do to this day. In popular culture the image of the angel has also been used on album covers and in a film.

The Angel of Grief exhibits the emotions that we feel when we lose someone we love. We’ve added a virtual flower of the Angel of Grief to our Flowers section. Feel free to use this as a token of remembrance for memorials of those that you miss and love.

Additionally, in remembrance, we have created a virtual cemetery for those whose lives tragically ended twenty years ago due to the attacks of September 11, 2001. Our hearts go out to all who are grieving because of the effects of the world-wide pandemic or who have otherwise lost family and friends.

We found quite a number of Find a Grave memorials that include a statue of the Angel of Grief. You can browse through them here.

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Celebrating Garlic Chives

~Susan WIttig Albert

There’s garlic (Allium sativum), and there are chives (A. schoenoprasum)—and then there are garlic chives (A. tuberosum, also called Chinese chives). They are brightening my late-summer gardens with pretty globes of starry white flowers, dearly loved by the bees. I’ve been snipping the flat green leaves into salads, omelets, soups, and mashed potatoes, where they add color and a subtle garlic taste. The tender young leaves are best to cook with, so it’s a good idea to shear the entire clump back to the ground every three or four weeks, to make sure that the leaves don’t get tough and bitter. My chickens love the sheared leaves, chopped beak-size. No chickens? No worry:  you can dry the snipped leaves or pop them into small plastic bags and freeze them.

Now, about those tiny black seeds that will inevitably be produced by those pretty white flowers. You can collect them by tapping the drying seed head onto a plate and sprout the seeds for spicy salad sprouts. Or you can clip the seed heads while they’re still flowering, dry them in paper bags, shake out the seeds, and add the pretty heads to your herbal wreaths. Or you can let Nature take its course, in which case you will have more garlic chives than you know what to do with. (Of course, they do make lovely passalong plants.) In cold regions, they’ll die back to the ground and pop up again in the spring. Every two or three years, dig and divide the clump.

There’s more, naturally. Herbalists have traditionally used garlic chives in the same way that they’ve used onions and other members of the Allium family: to stimulate the appetite, improve digestion, fight fatigue, and even grow hair on bald heads—more reasons to plant and enjoy this ornamental culinary and medicinal herb.

The juice of Onions mix’t with the decoction of Penniroyal . . .

anointed upon a pild [bare] or bald head in the sun,

bringeth the haire againe very speedily.

—John Gerard, The Herbal, 1597

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Gilberto Rides Again

by Stephen Halpert 

Chapter 18

Atlas employees stared in confusion. Buzz lay prone on the small stage, with Ramon and Gilberto standing by. Ambulance attendants rushed into the dining room, carefully put the pale, comatose Buzz onto a stretcher, and hurried him into the ambulance. “Where are you taking him?” Gilberto asked.

“Greenbush Memorial Hospital,” one called over his shoulder.

Clay Calhoun personnel milled around in stunned disbelief. “Please go back to your rooms”, Gilberto told them. “We’ll follow the ambulance and update everyone later.”

The two elderly harridans rose from their table, and with the assistance of two waiters, left the dining room. “They look smug,” Ramon whispered to Gilberto.

Gilberto saw Colonel Dimwittie approach Sara Midgley. Unobtrusively, he moved close enough to overhear their conversation. The colonel looked at Sara pleadingly. “I hope this setback won’t inhibit our merger, or for that matter,” he smiled, “our growing fondness for one another.”

Sara looked grim, lips pursed. Gilberto sensed she wanted to kick the old attorney hard in his neither regions.

“I’m not sure what you are speaking of,” she began. Gilberto watched in admiration how she maintained her dignity. “However, without Buzz’s signature the merger will be null in void. “

“Surely his signature could still appear on the document,” Dimwittie said with a sly vagueness to his voice.

Sara’s tone sharpened. “Such a thing would be quite impossible and highly illegal. Even such a suggestion could be inferred as bordering on criminal conduct.”

Gilberto knew then to move closer. Every vestige of Southern aristocratic charm vanished from Dimwittie’s demeanor. He pointed a trembling finger at her. His voice shook. “And I was led to believe that you and I had a special bonding.”

Sara straightened her shoulders and stared hard at him. “Whatever gave you that idea?”

“We had intentions of going to Paris together.”

She shook her head. “Indeed. Perhaps those were your intentions, not mine.”

His face crumpled. “This merger is essential to Clay …”

Sara glared “I’m sure some other Fortune 500 firm will pick up the slack, Colonel. Now if you’ll excuse me, I must get to the hospital to see about Buzz.”

But Colonel Dimwittie would not be cast aside. “You’re an officer of Atlas. You have the authority…”

She glared. “Thank you,” she said, her tone frosty. “I must say I’ve never had such overly cooked dry chicken in my life. Now if you’ll excuse me.”

He tried grabbing her arm. Gilberto and Ramon immediately stood between them.

“We’re all going to the hospital,” Gilberto said. Then he and Ramon guided Sara and Maria out of the dining room to a waiting limo.

“The nerve of that buffoon,” Sara said sitting next to Maria. Gilberto got in and sat next to Maria as Ramon settled himself on one of the folding seats. “I never wanted to kick anyone so much before.”

“Why didn’t you?” Gilberto said. “Without Buzz this merger isn’t happening.”

Ramon shook his head. “Did you see how the two old ladies reacted when Buzz keeled over? Their faces radiated pure pleasure, like they just won the big prize in the lottery.”

Maria shook her head and frowned. ” I’ve always hated polite hostility.”

“Got that right,” Gilberto said. “I just hope Dimwittie doesn’t cause us any trouble.”

“Doubtful,” Sara said.  “Remember we’re all witnesses to his conduct, and the official documents remain unsigned. I doubt he has a legal leg to stand on.” She patted her large embroidered shoulder bag. “Safe and sound.”

When they arrived at the hospital Buzz was invisible, already being tended to by doctors and staff.

A nurse led them to a small reception area. “Please be comfortable. We’ll inform you as soon as a proper diagnosis …”

Sara smiled and pushed her aside.

“I’m sorry, the nurse said, her voice rising, “but this is a restricted area.”

“Me too,” Sara replied “Gilberto, back me up.” She proceeded down the hall.

“Just one minute,” a nurse supervisor insisted.”

But Sara paid her no attention. Gilberto followed after her. He hoped he wouldn’t be arrested for some sort of trespassing but nonetheless continued.

The examining room had large glass windows. Gilberto and Sara watched as doctors worked on Buzz. He was hooked up to a tangle of tubes.

Gilberto saw tears in Sara’s eyes. “I’m sorry,” was all he could say.

“Me too, if you only knew how hard he pushed himself. “

A Security Guard tried to intercept them. Ramon appeared, stumbling over him. “Sorry,” Ramon smiled. “Too much I fear to drink.”

The Guard fell  against Ramon dropping hard onto one knee. Ramon slipped against him landing atop him, his voice slurred as through in a drunken stupor.

The Guard tried pushing Ramon aside but somehow, they seemed glued together. 

“Get off me you oaf.” The Guard pushed at him.

As though on cue Maria rushed down the hall her heels clacking. “Let me help,” she cried out. Reaching for Ramon’s hand she winked at Gilberto and slipped against the Guard–the three of them stumbling together into a pile.

Gilberto and Sara were focused on the activities on the other side of the glass.

“I tried getting him to exercise and eat right, but no one could ever tell Buzz anything,” her voice was dry as she suppressed a sob.

By now Ramon, Maria and the Security Guard were disentangled and climbing to their feet. The Guard tried standing, clutching at his right knee. He glared at Ramon. “You may have broken my knee, you dumb oaf.”

Ramon looked intentionally helpless, smiling confusedly.

A doctor emerged from the examining room. He looked dour, weary. He peered at Sara, assuming she was Buzz’s wife. “I’m sorry, we did the best we could. He’s resting comfortably in an induced coma. Now his fate is in the hands of the Almighty.”

Sara burst into tears. “I’ll make arrangements to have him flown back to Boston.” She turned to Gilberto, clutched his hand, crying harder. He patted her on the shoulder. She shivered, turned to Ramon, lowered her voice. “Help me please. I’m too upset to be alone. Please take care of me.”

Ramon looked helpless, not knowing what to say. Gilberto remained expressionless.  Finally, in a dry voice, Ramon nodded his head and said, “Sure.”

Sara clutched Ramon’s hand and walked into the elevator. Maria sighed, but said nothing. Together the four left and returned to the hotel.

(To be continued)

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Kitty Kat’s Korner

All Month:

  • Happy Healthy Cat Month
  • National Pet Insurance Month
  • Pet-Sitter Education Month
  • September 12-18: Adopt a Less-Adoptable-Pet Week
  • September 19-25: Deaf Pet Awareness Week

Sept. 12: 23rd Pet Rock Festival

The 23rd annual Pet Rock Festival continues to put a spotlight on the animal welfare organizations of New England that work to promote kindness to animals. Pet Rock Fest features live music, performances and games for kids, author signings, photos of your pets, animal mascots, vegetarian food court, games for kids, a cat photo contest, doggie waterpark, demonstrations, exhibits, vendors and, most importantly, hundreds of nonprofit groups devoted to animal welfare causes. Goes from noon to 5 p.m. Tickets are $12 for adults and $5 for kids 12 and under. Learn more at petrockfest.org.

Sept. 25-26: Skyway Cat Club Cat Show

Join this Cat Lovers’ Paradise and meet more than 25 cat breeds, including Persians, Maine Coons, Bengals, Orientals, long-hairs and no hairs. Adoptable cats and kittens will be available through attending rescue groups. Shop for unique cat items like furniture, jewelry, cat beds, blankets, toys and more. For more information, visit http://www.skywaycatclub.com.

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Georgia’s Weekly Horoscope: Sunday, September 12, 2021

All Signs

These are challenging times, and each challenge is different according to the details of your life, where you live and what you are undergoing. Therefore, this week, let’s have some good news! I want to talk about Jupiter and what this means for each sign for the rest of the year. The planet Jupiter is the biggest planet in our Solar System. In fact, it’s so huge, you could fit all the other planets inside of it, and still have room for three sesame seeds and the heart of a Hollywood producer. Because it’s so big, it represents magnification, abundance, joy, wisdom and wealth. It has a social dimension as well and is the “glue” that holds society together. Jupiter will be in Aquarius until Dec. 30th. It won’t be in Aquarius again until 2033. Read on to see what Jupiter in Aquarius means for your sign. (I’m making popcorn!)

Aries (March 21-April 19)

Life will flow more easily for you for the rest of this year because of the placement of Jupiter in your chart. With very little effort, things will tend to go how you want them to go. Powerful people will help you, because they have confidence in you. Because success attract others, you will be popular for the rest of the year! You might be more active than usual in clubs and group activities. Your idealism is aroused, and you will feel confident about making ambitious goals. In a word, you believe in yourself! For the rest of this year – whatever you put out will come back to you magnified.

Taurus (April 20-May 20)

For the rest of this year, lucky Jupiter is at the top of your chart! This is fortunate because Jupiter will not be there again until 2033. Jupiter represents wealth, wisdom and success; and because it’s at the top of your chart, it means this is how the world sees you! Regardless of how you might feel, you appear to be successful to your peers. They admire your accomplishments! You can expect promotions at work and public recognition. You might receive awards or kudos. Some will choose to leap into working in a new field, especially related to medicine, healing, the law, higher education and travel. You have so much to look forward to!

Gemini (May 21-June 20)

The rest of this year is powerful because lucky Jupiter is in your fellow Air Sign. This means it is supportive to you. The symbolic energy of Jupiter is ready to help you, especially with travel, medicine, the law, publishing, the media and foreign countries. Jupiter will push you to expand your world in some way. This is an excellent influence for writers and students. What you have to be careful of is this: Because Jupiter is “helping” you, you will feel like you can sit back and relax. But this will be a missed opportunity. Jupiter will give you good health, well-being and increased confidence, which means you can go after what you want! Don’t waste this. Use it!

Cancer (June 21-July 22)

The good news for your sign is financial. That’s because lucky, moneybags Jupiter is sitting in one of your Money Houses, specifically the House that relates to other people’s money and other people’s wealth. This means you might receive an inheritance. You might get money from the government. You might become richer because your partner comes richer. For the rest of year, it will be easy to get a loan or mortgage. You can count on the practical support of others not just for money but also for other kinds of support. Someone might let you use something they own. This is a fortunate time!

Leo (July 23-Aug. 22)

For the rest of this year, Jupiter will be opposite your sign. The last time this occurred was in 2009. This definitely will enhance your closest relationships, which ironically, are currently challenged because Saturn is opposite your sign. As they say in the movies, “It’s complicated.” Jupiter will arouse your ambition and make you want to go after as much as you can. However, tread carefully because this can indicate difficulty with authorities. (Don’t overstep your bounds.) The upside is this is a productive time for you and also a growth-oriented time. Others will help you and vice versa. We all need all the help we can get!

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22)

This is a powerful week because the Sun in your sign is dancing with Pluto. It’s the classic time for a makeover. Decide which parts of your life should be reformed. Meanwhile, Jupiter will boost your health in a wonderful way this year. It’s an excellent time for your body to heal or recover from an illness. You will also have opportunities to improve your existing job or get a better job. Even if you don’t have a paying job, you will find that you derive greater satisfaction and fulfilment out of whatever you do. The rest of this year will bring you inner rewards and a sense of fulfilment and personal satisfaction. “You like me! You really like me!”

Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22)

Even though, you are hiding in the wings – nevertheless, the rest of this year is supportive to you! Life will be easier. In fact, life will be so much easier, you will be inclined to take a vacation and enjoy relaxing. But this would be a waste of an opportunity because this year is an excellent time for financial exploration and expansion. You will also work to make your surroundings more elegant. (Yes, you’re ready to spend a lot of money.) Travel will also appeal. Children will bring you joy, and opportunities for your own creative self-expression will grow. Romance will blossom! Oh yes, this is a lovely year ahead for you!

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21)

For the rest of the year, you can improve where you live. You might renovate or redecorate. Some will buy and sell or rent something better. You might buy beautiful things for your home, which make you feel richer. By extension, your family life will also be richer, and relations with your kids will improve. In fact, family members will be more generous to each other. Real-estate negotiations and transactions will benefit you as well. This will happen whether you buy your own home or you speculate – either way, these transactions will lead to future gains. Get ready to shore up the foundation of your life.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 21)

The reason you are a fortunate sign is your ruler is lucky Jupiter. For the rest of the year, Jupiter will support you and help you. You will notice that your life will flow more easily and things will be accomplished with less effort. “It’s magic!” Furthermore, your optimism will increase. You will entertain bigger, more ambitious ideas. You will have more confidence in yourself. “I can do this!” This is a wonderful year to learn, study and write. It’s also a great year to teach and enlighten others. Jupiter will increase your contacts on a daily basis. It will also improve your relations with brothers, sisters and cousins.

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 19)

You have much to look forward to because Jupiter is the planet that represents wealth and for the rest of the year, it will be sitting in your House of Money. Ka-ching! In a word – you will become richer. You might earn more money. If you don’t earn more money then, somehow riches and goods will come to you. In some cases, it might even be that you will buy yourself wonderful things, that in turn, makes you feel richer. Look for ways to earn money. Look for ways to get a better paying job. Trust your ability to do this. You might also earn money in a way related to another country or foreign investments. The sky’s the limit!

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 18)

Well, naturally, the rest of this year will be fortunate for you because lucky, Jupiter is in your sign! The last time this occurred was 2009; the next time it will happen is 2033. (Time flies when you’re unconscious.) Jupiter is in your sign about four or five times in your adult life, and when it occurs, the right people and resources are magically available for you. Life is fortunate for you in personal terms. Relations with others are happier. Associations will benefit you. It’s a time of learning and gaining new experiences. This also is the beginning of a major cycle of growth in your life. It’s all good! Take a bow.

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20)

The experience you will have of Jupiter in Aquarius in your chart will be different from the other signs because in your case, Jupiter will be “hiding.” Why? It’s hiding because at the very end of the year and into next year it will move into your sign! Major bonus! That’s when things will really look up! In the meantime, Jupiter will benefit you in subtle ways this year. It will certainly enhance your spiritual values and your inner world and any interest you might have in metaphysics or hidden knowledge. You might meet a spiritual teacher or you might act as a spiritual teacher for someone else. You will certainly learn more about yourself by coming face-to-face with aspects of yourself that you often ignore. It will be a gentle reality check.

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Weekly Horoscopes beginning Sunday, 12 September 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:

It’s unlike you to put off decisions and, even more, taking action when matters are pressing. However, you’ve been so short of facts that saying and doing nothing seemed better than making a mistake you could soon regret. However, with your ruler Mars moving to accent these on Wednesday, you’ll find you’ve little choice but to do whatever needs to be done, and fast.

You might take a look at your life and wonder how you ended up with so many time-consuming commitments. You will just want to throw off the demands of duty and throw yourself into pastimes that make you happy. For this reason, routine activities will get the thumbs down. You could do with more excitement, more adventure and new challenges. These are the desires you should follow as much as possible. Be imaginative. Be creative. Have fun.

Eclipses can be thought of as knots in a silken thread that spans centuries. Each eclipse spawns’ minor knots along the way. What’s interesting about this week’s First Quarter Moon is that it marks a minor knot connected to the Solar Eclipse on December 14, 2020. Take time to consider the ideas, plans and determination for greater information that were seeded then. It’s likely time to move these to the next stage. Think of how good this could look on your CV when you show the expertise you’ve acquired. True, it could take as much as two years to gain this, but even letting others know that you are walking this path should bring reward and even before next weekend. Mid-week Mars moves into your opposite sign. Others then need to see that you are definite in your intention to go places. Expect to be and to feel empowered by Friday.

Taurus

Personal theme: I have!!

Earth & fixed sign: April 20 — May 20

Your horoscope for this week:

While you’ve wisely tiptoed around a range of tricky issues, some longstanding, others more recent, suddenly the mood is changing. You’ll be exchanging that enforced silence for unexpectedly frank discussions. Better yet, circumstances that, only recently, held little hope are suddenly showing promise. The challenge? Taking action while you’re short of facts. Still, plunge in. Every passing day will bring exactly the insights you need.

You’re about to make a decision that will have long-term consequences. Before doing so, consider whether you are allowing past experiences influence your judgement. Disappointments are not going to be repeated. Things are different now. If you’re giving the past too much control over your present you could miss out on something wonderful. Be sure to check transport arrangements and timetables if you are travelling and anticipate some delay.

Since Uranus entered your sign two years ago, you’ve coped with significant challenges: many of which may have been health-related and not necessarily your own health. You’ve likely been challenged to think differently and to accept that those whom you’ve always assumed had all the answers, perhaps do not. As of mid-week, and Mars’ move into Libra when it is then in mutual reception with your ruling planet Venus, you may be ready to remove rose-tinted glasses and to go on a voyage of discovery all of your own. Contact with those who live and work overseas is likely. It may be that they have information you need. What seems as likely, is that by next Friday, you will be ready to join forces. A business partnership could at the very least be discussed and even possibly made formal through contract.

Gemini

Personal theme: I think!!

Air sign: May 21 — June 20

Your horoscope for this week:

As a quick-thinking Gemini, you’re brilliant at juggling challenges and golden opportunities. However, with things moving so swiftly, and their nature often unclear, even you could be overwhelmed. The secret? For now, it’s about learning as much as possible, but limiting your commitments, at least where you can. While all these strategies seem a nuisance now, within weeks you’ll realise how wise it was.

You feel strongly about a cause that relates to vulnerable members of your community and that’s why you will volunteer to help in any way you can. You are determined that a planned meeting will go ahead even though there is talk about postponing this. Later in the week there’ll be a need to knuckle down to work. You’ve taken on a few new commitments and they can’t be expected to take care of themselves.

Think back to last December when there was a Solar Eclipse in your opposite sign. Eclipses form threads that reach across centuries. They’re all linked and you can think of them as knots in a silken thread. There are minor knots between the bigger ones. One of those minor knots is reached at Monday’s First Quarter Moon. It’s likely that something begun even just as an idea between December 14 and 21st 2020, will reach its next stage. True, momentarily you might wonder if you’ve done the right thing. A goal or dream could seem elusive or not entirely as you’d imagined. It might just take a few days to anchor and yes, to assess levels of support. Mid-week though, as Mars moves into another of the Air signs, there is high probability of joining forces with someone on similar path whose energy and enthusiasm is empowering. By Friday your willingness to learn will be remarked on and that even within days of starting what is effectively a new job, those in charge will feel they’ve chosen well.

Cancer

Personal theme: I feel!!

Water & cardinal sign: June 21 — July 22

Your horoscope for this week:

For weeks you’ve been juggling tricky situations and, worse yet, certain delicate egos. While you’ve dealt with some, and even organised future plans, other matters remain in disarray. Actually, that’s for the best. Why? You’re benefitting from a range of changes, ideas and offers as unexpected as they’ll be thrilling. The challenge? Having the courage to move swiftly now, and seek reassuring facts later.

Saying the first thing that comes into your mind might not be a good idea especially if this is likely to upset someone you care for. Sometimes, keeping your thoughts to yourself is the best option and this will certainly help avoid arguments or embarrassment. If a journey is delayed, it would be sensible to let anyone who might be expecting you know that you are likely to be late. Take any opportunity to use your natural talents.

Two significant planetary events take place this week. Priority is the First Quarter Moon on Monday which links back to the Solar Eclipse on December 14, 2020. First consider what was happening in your working life then. It may be that these can then be moved to their next stage. That energy is likely to be bolstered by Mars’ arrival in Libra, when it comes into mutual reception with Venus. What that means is that those two planets are then travelling in signs they each prefer. This should bring a double boost. For a start, you should feel a creative surge mid-week, and yes costs, – possibly be invited to join forces with someone whose expertise is already acknowledged. They may now be ready to hand over some reins. You can afford to think bigger and yes, you can also afford to consider moving out of your shell. It may be that you’ve been hiding your light under there for too long.

Leo

Personal theme: I will!!

Fire & fixed sign: July 23 — August 22

Your horoscope for this week:

After a tricky period, that’s required both patience and flexibility, now events aren’t just falling into place, things are far better than you’d imagined possible. For this reason, you’re tempted to check out the facts. Don’t. While certain elements may not be as you thought, they’re breakthroughs. The challenge? Taking advantage of these means trusting destiny in a way that doesn’t always come naturally to you.

You might sense as you begin the week that something is not quite right. A sudden twist in circumstances around Wednesday will make it apparent your intuition was bang on target. It’s going to be difficult to work out how successful a new work schedule is going to be until you have seen the figures. Even if there are hurdles to overcome, in all areas, don’t give up too quickly. It will be those who persevere who will gain the most.

You may know that the planets seem to work better when passing through some signs than others. On Wednesday, and as Mars moves into Libra, it comes into what is known as mutual reception with Venus. In other words, Venus would prefer to be in the sign in which Mars is travelling and Mars would prefer to be where Venus is. This type of interchange boosts the energies of both planets. Given that both highlight the base of your solar chart, you would be an unusual Leo if you weren’t considering asset management and property specifically. It may be that you’ve outgrown your present space. That could be as true in the working environment. With a different perspective comes empowerment (this week’s keyword). Before Friday, and perhaps following on from creative ideas that were seeded at the end of last year, you might determine what it is that you’re really seeking and yes, make the first few steps towards it. Career wise, a move seems likely.

Virgo

Personal theme: I analyse!!

Earth sign: August 23 — September 22

Your horoscope for this week:

While, theoretically, the Virgo New Moon, on 7 September, will have triggered a fresh perspective, events seem confusing, if not worrying. Actually, that’s good because, for now, you’re better off focusing on what doesn’t work or should go than the future. In fact, the more you say farewell to, the more open your thinking, and your life, will be to the exciting changes coming your way.

There will be benefits in offering to help a friend or workmate with a job they need to get finished. Once it is complete, they will help you with a task you aren’t enjoying and together you will make short work of anything you tackle jointly. In this week of ups and downs, try to see problems as exciting challenges to overcome. You won’t want to give up too easily as you realise the importance of keeping at it until the job is done.

There was a Solar Eclipse in another of the Mutable signs on December 14 last year. Eclipses form what could be thought of a silken thread that span centuries. There are major and minor knots in that thread. A minor knot is reached at Monday’s First Quarter Moon. Think back to all you’ve learnt and discovered since the end of last year as it may now be time to make another move. Yours is one of the more practical signs of the zodiac but you also need projects to manage. Getting your teeth into something truly suits you. It’s highly likely, – and especially after Mars makes its Libra ingress mid-week, – that you will attract a situation which, though larger than usual, would be preoccupying for the next couple of years. Yes, it will likely require courage and research. The latter will likely not be difficult! You can find courage through alliance with someone who similarly wants to alter their outlook. In short, a working partnership should gather momentum.

Libra

Personal theme: I balance!!

Air & cardinal sign: September 23 — October 22

Your horoscope for this week:

You may already sense you’re beginning a period of exciting, if often unsettling, change and growth. While it’s obvious what’s going, what’s next won’t be as clear for some weeks. Once you understand that, you’ll be patient; and instead of avoiding changes until you’re sure what’s next, you’ll say a courageous farewell to increasingly unworkable arrangements, knowing you’re clearing the way for amazing encounters and experiences.

All will go well for you during the first few days of the week. News you had been dreading receiving will actually be better than expected. Meetings, interviews and appointments will not be as tense as anticipated. In the medium and even the long-term, you can now be cautiously optimistic about what might lie ahead. Change is going on in your life now and new activities and events are about to take place. This will give you a chance to expand your skills and knowledge.

Mars crosses the ‘World Axis’ and moves into your sign on Wednesday. As it does, it will come into mutual reception with your ruling planet Venus; and what does this mean? Both planets prefer to be travelling in the other’s sign. This gives added boost to their respective energies. So yes, partnership-wise given that it’s Venus and Mars involved, this should yet prove a spectacular week. On top of this there is a First Quarter Moon that links back to last December’s Solar Eclipse. Obviously, this affects all signs, but in your case renewed contact with those who live and work far away or in the legal or hired education worlds, could prompt you to alter your career goals. Boosted then by a fabulous aspect between the Sun and Pluto, before next Friday you could negotiate a career hurdle with ease – prompting others to consider you ready to accept greater responsibility: something you might enjoy!

Scorpio & Ophiuchus

Personal theme: I desire!!

Water & fixed signs: October 23 — November 21

Your horoscope for this week:

After weeks of being diplomatic, even when certain matters were becoming urgent, sudden changes in the mood and in circumstances enable you to discuss issues frankly. While, obviously, this is a relief, you’re surprisingly unsure what to say. Ordinarily you’d think things through, but at the moment you’re better off speaking spontaneously, and from the heart. Details and long-term plans? They can, and should, wait.

You intuitively sense the best way forward will be to do what it takes to improve your skills and abilities. You won’t let doubts or negativity that held you back in the past get in the way of your progress. This time you will be more assertive about going after what you want. Professionally, if you feel undervalued, more should be done to highlight your skills, qualifications and achievements. You need your boss to appreciate the valuable contribution you make to the workplace.

Your ruling planet Mars, crosses over into Libra mid-week. Venus, however is travelling through your sign. Both planets would prefer to be travelling in the other’s sign. This creates an effect known as ‘mutual reception’ and boosts the energies of both. Your magnetism is likely to increase especially given that the Sun and Pluto (another of your ruling planets) are also headed towards major aspect. Obviously, this is likely to affect your personal life, but within the working scenario there should be impact too. Ideas – most likely presented by Leos or Sagittarius – should now gather momentum. It may be that they’ve been incubating since the Solar Eclipse last December. They likely can’t move further forward without your assistance. Expect to be much-needed and for your investigative and research skills to be given much respect.

Sagittarius

Personal theme: I see!!

Fire sign: November 22 — December 21

Your horoscope for this week:

Although you’re superb at making life look easy, and your enthusiasm and genuine interest in others, and events in the world around you, leads to excitement, deep down, you’re a bit of a control freak; and currently, certain arrangements aren’t going as you planned. While ordinarily you’d discreetly reorganise things, you’re urged to go with the flow. Why? Try to be patient. Soon it will all be clear.

There’s the potential to develop a deeper understanding between you and a business or loving partner. The more time you spend with each other, the stronger the bond will become. If you are single and can feel yourself falling in love, be brave; this would be a great time to ask for a date. Your ideas to improve a work project may come in for some heavy criticism and yet by the end of the week those who opposed you will suddenly offer their support.

You may recall that there was a solar eclipse in your sign on December 14 last year. Eclipses form a connected thread that spans over centuries. Along the way there are minor knots to be encountered. The first of these connected to last year’s event comes at this week’s First Quarter Moon making it likely that you will now reach a turning point or decision-making time. That the fact that this coincides with Mars’ arrival at the World Axis, and in the ‘friendships zone’ of your solar chart, suggest you might review your position within a group and indeed, determine whether or not you should continue to be involved. You may also find that you receive support from unexpected places. It’s possible that others have been talking about you, but not to you, and that they are now ready to give you a helping hand. With other major aspects in play, it wouldn’t be surprising if, by the end of what promises to be a busy if exciting week, if you felt significantly empowered and challenged in a healthy way.

Capricorn

Personal theme: I use!!

Earth & cardinal sign: December 22 — January 19

Your horoscope for this week:

You may already have noticed that while recent events haven’t gone according to plan, most of those changes were breakthroughs as timely as they were unexpected. Better yet, you’re just beginning this exciting and, in fact, expansive period. The trick? Go with the flow in a way that, initially, may be challenging. Gradually, however. you’ll realise how wise it is, for now and the future.

Anything to do with work, study and research will proceed surprisingly slow. Even workmates and fellow students who are usually quick to get the job done seem to be having problems. You might get frustrated with yourself when you aren’t as efficient as normal. Away from work, a number of visits and newsy messages and phone calls will keep you thoroughly entertained. Make the most of an unexpected twist in circumstances as the week ends.

Mid-week, Mars arrives at the apex of your solar chart. It will then be in what is known as mutual reception with Venus. i.e., both planets will be travelling in a sign that the other prefers. This double whammy event gives both planets an energy boost. You should thrive on this – especially since it comes just after First Quarter Moon. It may be that decisions taken since last December take on fresh momentum- mainly because those who been incubating ideas now have much clearer idea as to what can be achieved and by when. They will doubtless need your expertise. 

You should perhaps also factor in the high probability that at least one member of the team will be unavailable from the end of this month through until the middle of next. Putting contingencies in place would no doubt get you noticed and yes, win you extra points should the situation manifest.

Aquarius

Personal theme: I know!!

Air & fixed sign: January 20 — February 18

Your horoscope for this week:

Recently you’ve dreamt of ideas, offers or changes as exciting as they are unexpected. Now that they’re actually happening, however, you’re feeling uneasy if not overwhelmed. That’s because, as an Aquarius, you were born under perhaps the most independent of signs, so tend to suspect even amazing offers. Do your best to overcome this, and be more open-minded. You’ll soon be glad you did.

If a new friend, colleague or neighbour seems overly generous, it would be sensible to be wary. They may just be trying to be friendly or they could want something from you in which case they won’t hesitate, in the future, to remind you of how much they have given you. You do not want to feel you owe anyone a favour. Be patient if the days bring delays, postponements or sudden changes to plans. Persevere in your attempts to learn a new skill.

It might be helpful to think back to last December. Exactly what projects did you begin soon after the solar eclipse that month? Remember, this was also when Jupiter and Saturn aligned in your sign. How far have you come since then? What precisely has gone wrong and what would you like to reinstate? This week’s First Quarter Moon on Monday is followed mid-week by Mars’ arrival in another of the Air signs. As it does, that planet moves into mutual reception with Venus. This gives a boost to both and puts relationships high profile. Since Venus is moving over the career point of your solar chart, working partnerships will no doubt receive a boost. This doesn’t have to work on the financial level but may well do so. That said, don’t expect permanence. Mercury turns retrograde later this month and it may be that a trial period is needed before contractual arrangements are agreed.

Pisces

Personal theme: I believe!!

Water sign: February 19 — March 20

Your horoscope for this week:

Do you feel that you’re preparing for a major event? You are, but these involve everything from unexpected opportunities or welcome changes in circumstances. They’re best dealt with by exploring every option and saying no to nothing, at least now. Equally, listen to others’ advice, then politely ignore it, and heed your instincts that say to plunge in, knowing you’ll benefit from every day, and every change.

Being teamed up with someone you recently fell out with will give you a chance to discuss recent tense issues. You will feel good to be able to spend more time with a friend or relative than you usually do. You have a lot to do and having help will halve the amount of work. A strong sense of determination will also ensure you succeed. By the end of the week, you will have done wonders in clearing annoying bits and pieces out of the way.

You may know that yours is one of the Mutable signs of the zodiac. When there is an eclipse in one of these signs, this represents a change of gear and likely turning point. Two of these have affected you recently: in December and again in June. This week’s First Quarter Moon picks up on that thread. A decision may need to be taken. This likely focuses on property and asset management. That this coincides with the arrival of Mars at the World Axis suggests a major step. A review of your financial affairs may be made necessary and require advice or support from someone skilled in these matters. Though not everyone can receive good news, and obviously much depends on your personal chart, it could be that before the end of this week you are offered security particularly with regard to your long-term prospects. With this reassurance, you could also think about how to improve playtime and leisure activities.

Home Page: https://groups.io/g/CelestialPrognostication

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Every Day is Earth Day! Love Your Mother!

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Goddess Blessings!

Live Well – Laugh Often – Love Much

High Priestess Training

http://GoddessSchool.com

Healing Arts and Pagan Studies

http://Goddessschool.com/Paganstudies/index.html

http://Goddessschool.com/Paganstudies/healingarts.html

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!

Herbs!!! Herbs!!! Herbs!!!

Interested in herbs and healing? Learn with GrannyMoon!

The Healing Arts Certificate Program Four great courses! Buy three get one free!

http://Goddessschool.com/Paganstudies/healingarts.html

WordPress: http://about.me/granny.moon

Follow Me On Facebook!

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GrannyMoon’s Weekly Feast

https://grannymoon.wordpress.com/

“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!”

Goddess Bless!

GrannyMoon

By GrannyMoon Posted in Pagan

GrannyMoons Weekly Feast: 5 Sept 2021

New Moon Blessings!

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

Today’s Affirmation:

Believe in yourself,

in your vision for your future,

and in your ability to take a small step

each day toward achieving your vision.

– Jonathan Lockwood Huie

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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Herb of the Year for 2021: Parsley (Petroselinum crispum, named by the International Herb Association.

Goddess Month of Month of Mala runs from 9/6 – 10/2

Celtic Tree Calendar: Sept 2 – Sept 29 – Bramble/Vine

THE CURRENT MOON PHASE: New Moon 

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.

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 May 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 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.

http://goddessschool.com/Paganstudies/healingarts.html

The cost for Level 1 is $50.00 or the entire Healing Arts Course (1-3) for $150.00, which includes a free Reiki certification course when all three are ordered!

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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 (www.Goddessschool.com) has grown into a large and beautiful global community of women.

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Coventry Creations 2021 

BHC Newsletter Reta

September 6, 2021 – September 12, 2021

The bulk of the energy occurs at the beginning of the week with a New Moon in Virgo and three planetary aspects – Mars trine Pluto, Venus trine Jupiter, and the Sun trine Uranus. All of these aspects are positive, which is a great relief after the intense energies of July and August. Anything you put effort into will be successful as long as you do not get out of control or unfocused. Take some time to explore new opportunities and be original.

Towards the middle of the week, the Moon moves through relationship-oriented Libra. It’s a great week to collaborate on projects and work towards improving your connection with others. Also, if you want to start a new relationship, now is the time to explore your options.

Recommended: New Moon (Astro Magic), Lucky 7 (Motor City Hoodoo), Success (Chakra Magic), Love’s Enchantment (Blessed Herbal).

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

It’s never too early to grab that Limited Edition Halloween

Last month we focused on finding our destiny. This month it’s all about putting that plan into action. This moment of building is not only about building your future or professional desires but building selfcare into your life. We make time for the things that are important, now it’s time to make yourself important! After a year and a half of panic, refocus your attention on yourself, your inner peace, and building new habits to sustain that peace.

New Moon in Virgo on September 6, 2021

The New Moon this month occurs in the sign of Virgo on September 6th. This New Moon is about putting your life in order. It’s an excellent month to develop systems, focus on health and personal well-being, hire staff, and even find a new job.

Copyright Coventry Creations 2021 

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Llewellyn’s Spell A Day

Magical Upcycling

AUGUST 31, 2021 BY EMYME

What are your artistic, creative gifts? Are you skilled at cooking, painting, or fabric art? Whatever your gift, your crafting space is sure to hold at least one, if not several, items that have been recycled or upcycled. This could include inherited pots and pans, paintbrushes rescued from a yard sale, or vintage lengths of fabric bought at a thrift store. A couple of local artists I know collect costume jewelry and use it to fashion amazing picture frames. Another local crafter utilizes broken and discarded tile and glass in furniture and garden stones.

The presence and power of the previous owner lives on in the item. This can be a very good thing, or it may not be so welcome. Cleanse each item in an appropriate way, then request that the positive energy remain and the negative energy be banished. Rest assured that your appeal will be granted.

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Calming Monday Vibes

AUGUST 30, 2021 BY BLAKE OCTAVIAN BLAIR

For those who start their workweek on Monday, the day can bring a little apprehension and anxiety. Sometimes we need some reassurance to smooth out the emotional turbulence that can come with stress. Moonstone resonates with Monday’s lunar energies and is the perfect stone for nerve-soothing magic at the top of the week!

Find a small moonstone that you can carry with you. Take a few minutes to sit calmly, holding it between your hands. Simply feel and mesh with its soothing energies. Let the stone speak to you through its energies. Let it communicate with you and share its energies through thoughts, feelings, and impressions. The stone people may speak softly, but it is in these ways that they communicate with us. Recite this simple enchantment:

Soothing moonstone, share with me

Your calming energies of stability.

Through the week, be with me,

Lending calm and cool, so mote it be.

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Laughter for Our Spirit

SEPTEMBER 01, 2021 BY BLAKE OCTAVIAN BLAIR

Today is the birthday of actress and comedian Lily Tomlin, who is known for her portrayal of numerous quirky characters. It is well known that laughter is good for our health and improves our mood. Laughter feeds our spirit!

Today, spend some time watching a favorite comedian who always makes you laugh. Then learn a new joke that you can tell to friends to spread the joy and benefits of laughter. You can create your own joke or consult a book or website with jokes. Be sure to find one appropriate for your audience. Challenge the recipients of your comedic stylings to do the same: learn a joke and pass it on. You can turn your midweek blahs into a cascading pay-it forward of mirth and laughter!

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Basket Blessing Wash

SEPTEMBER 02, 2021 BY ESTHA MCNEVIN

It’s that time again to gather all of our baskets and begin filling them with fruits and veggies from the harvest! Sometimes our baskets don’t look so great after a summer of heavy use in the garden. This wash cleans, disinfects, and seals the fibers of the baskets to help them last longer and withstand a bit more robust use. Rinsing them in a full tub of warm water is best, but some baskets like to be soaked overnight and will tolerate their weave being adjusted or mended after a dip in a solution made of the following ingredients:

* 3 tablespoons coconut-based soap, free & clear

* 12 drops essential tea tree oil

* 4 tablespoons pure almond oil

* 2 tablespoons sesame oil

* 4 cups distilled white vinegar

* 4 cups Everclear alcohol

May baskets and the art of weaving remind us of traditional pagan times, filling our homes with health, wealth, and a plentiful harvest. Envision these qualities when soaking your baskets in this helpful solution.

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Hurry Up and Get Slow

SEPTEMBER 03, 2021 BY STORM FAERYWOLF

Timing is everything. Sometimes we just need to slow things down in order to catch our breath.

For this spell you will need a pen or pencil, a thick, plain white paper plate, and a jar of molasses (or honey).

Think of something that you wish to slow down. Maybe it’s a check that threatens to clear your account before payday, or how about a relationship that is going great but maybe just a bit too fast for your comfort.

On the paper plate, write down the thing that you wish to slow, or create a sigil to represent it. Slowly pour the molasses over it while repeatedly chanting in a low, slow almost-whisper:

Fast as a season for lovers apart,

Slow as molasses, slow as molasses.

Put the plate in your freezer until you no longer need to maintain influence over the issue, at which time you can bury the plate in a suitable place.

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Embracing Learning

SEPTEMBER 04, 2021 BY DEBORAH BLAKE

This is the time of year when kids go back to school and some folks are heading off to college. Whether or not you are attending any kind of formal classes, it is always good to keep learning. Learning new things helps your brain function, but it also makes you a more wellrounded person. And as Witches, we always want to be learning and growing as we practice our Craft.

Set a goal of learning one new thing every day, or every week, or every full moon. If you aren’t someone to whom learning comes easily, feel free to ask for help. Sit with a book or your laptop (however you plan to find information), and focus on your desire to learn. Then say:

Athena, goddess of wisdom,

Help me to learn and grow.

Show me what I need to know.

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Acorn Home Protection Spell

SEPTEMBER 05, 2021 BY THORN MOONEY

Oak trees are common throughout much of the US and Europe and have long been associated with wisdom, abundance, strength, longevity, and the changing season. Oak energy is deep and protective, and acorns are a great way to easily call upon that energy in your daily life.

For this spell, collect ten acorns. If you don’t have access to acorns, you may choose other strong-feeling trees that are dropping nuts or fruits at this time of year and ask for their aid. Once you have collected ten, hold them in your hands and imagine a ring of protective trees growing strong around your home. Say:

My home is a fortress shielded in

strength. Wisdom and love are

abundant in this sacred grove, and all

are protected from harm. So mote it be.

Bury the acorns in a ring around your property or apartment building (or even your whole town, if you want to go big!). You may also simply place them in the corners of your home or room, if your space is small.

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Heartwings Love Notes 998 Setting Priorities by Tasha Halpert

Heartwings says, “Priorities need to be set for certain goals to be met.”

Lately, I have been thinking about priorities and how to set them for myself. As a result of a physical condition I developed, I need to prioritize physical movement and fit exercises into my daily routine. Additionally, I must recognize that I simply cannot accomplish as much as I used to in the same amount of time.

It takes me longer to dress than it did a year ago. Simply getting from one place in the house to another takes more time, even though it’s the same steps. My steps have become shorter and slower. It can be, to say the least, frustrating. I tell myself there are many far worse off than I, however, that doesn’t solve the real issue of my priorities. It seems I need to assess and reassess what these need to be.

Like everyone, I’ve had to change mine as I have grown. Young children have few consistent priorities except for their actual needs beyond love and being cared for food, cleanliness, and sleep. As they learn and grow, they resolve ways to answer these for themselves. New priorities emerge, based on what they have learned from the adults around them. Older children and then adults evolve their priorities as life gives them opportunities.

These may include being efficient–one of mine, dressing well or not, being polite, and so on. As they enter adulthood and the world of work and society, the priorities of life have more to do with what to do when and how soon or late to do it. Deadlines of one sort or another– whether the date a bill is due or that of an article, help us to do things in a timely manner. Personally speaking, I find them very helpful and when there isn’t a deadline, I find it far more difficult to get what needs doing done.

Of course, I make lists and try to follow them carefully, even sometimes numbering items. What often happens, alas, is that something else appears that needs to be done, and best-laid plans are out the window again. Of course, there is also the issue, as I mentioned earlier, of not being able to accomplish as much, or of overestimating what I’ll be able to get done in the given time.

This issue is a work in progress for me. I am still learning about it and working with it to see how to manage it. Did I say I liked challenges? Perhaps I invoked this one. If so, it has caught me by surprise. Perhaps I need to assess my true priorities: good health, happiness for myself and those I love, and my work as a creative artist. Balance among these needs to take precedence over tasks, or spending too much time on acts and activities that do not really signify much. As usual, it’s practice, practice, practice all over again, and so it goes.

Do you have issues with priorities? Can you set them easily and carry them out? Tell me how you do it so I can learn. Your emails are precious. Write to me at tashahal@aol.com, and visit www.heartwingsandfrieends.com for more Love Notes and other things to look at and read. 

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Gilberto Rides Again Chapter 17 by Stephen Halpert

Suddenly the sounds of clinking silverware and various conversations faded, and a hush fell over the dining room of the Jeb Stuart Tavern. The wait staff guided two elderly bejeweled dowagers to a reserved table by the podium. They glanced toward the Atlas table and turned away, their countenances haughty.

Buzz leaned toward the others at their table. “Those are the original owners.”

Colonel Dimwittie bowed over their gloved hands. Each clutched one of his and engaged in a brief conversation. He sat between them, smiling broadly.

Gilberto watched. He turned to Buzz. “I don’t think they like us.'”

Buzz shrugged. “They haven’t liked any Northerners ever since Appomattox.”

“They made the shoelaces for the Confederate Army,” Sara said.

Maria frowned. “Those two women look like skeletons dressed up for Halloween. Hate to say it but it looks like they’re giving us the evil eye.” Out of sight under the table, she made a gesture with her fingers.

Gilberto’s eyebrows flew up. “What did you just do?” he said.

“A protective gesture I learned from my grandmother…in case, you know.”

‘”Were Rosa here, she’d do the same,” Ramon said. “I’ve seen it before.”

Buzz was speaking in a happy voice. “After tonight they’ll all be a distant memory,” he said. “Except for you, Sara. You’ll be here, Executive Director until the ink dries.”

She nodded and sighed. “I understand.”

Colonel Dimwittie rejoined the Atlas contingent. Acting like Rhett Butler in Gone with The Wind he took Sara’s hand, gazed at her and said with adolescent fervor, “Once these transactions are complete, I’m whisking you off to Paris that our romance may flourish.”

Sara fluttered her eyelashes and smiled fetchingly. In a pretend Southern drawl that sounded like Scarlet O’Hara she said. “Oh, my dear sweet man. Why I do declare, your generosity is overwhelming!”

His cheeks reddened. He cleared his throat. “For you my dear I lay the glory of our Confederacy at your feet.” He bowed, turned, and returned to the head table.

Gilberto noticed the Colonel was quite flushed. Sara had totally capitated him. He glanced over at the old ladies. They were glaring at Dimwittie as he returned, their lips pursed, their heads shaking. Then their frowning faces turned toward the Atlas table.

Gilberto looked at Maria and leaned toward her. “What’s up with them?”

She grimaced and lowered her voice. “They sure put out one horrible vibe. If I didn’t think it sounded ridiculous, I’d say they were giving us the evil eye.”

Gilberto frowned. “Please Maria, just make sense. I get very confused when you talk that way.”

She smiled. ” I know,” she said. “But relax, Gilberto,” she went on, “The evil eye is an old belief from long-forgotten days.” She touched his hand. “Besides it’s all a belief.”

“I’ve been with you long enough to know there’s truth to all that.”

“And don’t worry,” she went on with a grin, “I doubt they’d dare try to change Buzz into a frog.” 

His face reddened. “That’s not funny.”

Dinner was served: Southern fried chicken, candied yams, and green beans. Dessert was bread pudding smothered in warm bourbon sauce.

After the plates were cleared, Colonel Dimwittie rose and tapped his glass with a spoon. Room

noise diminished. He looked out over the assembled Clay Calhoun employees and other residents of Greenbush.

He smiled and in his deep baritone began. “Friends and members of the Clay Calhoun family, we are assembled here on a great historic day to mark a new beginning for our illustrious firm. Not since our beloved General Robert E. Lee accepted the surrender of General Grant at the Appomattox Court House has our blessed Confederacy met with such prosperity.” Great cheers and hoots from the assembled guests.

Ramon peered at Gilberto, frowning. “Did I get my history wrong? I thought it was the other way around.”

“Like Maria says,” Gilberto whispered. ” It’s all a belief and his belief differs from history.”

“Yes, friends,” Dimwittie went on.” Today our Clay Colhoun imprimatur absorbs the multinational giant, Atlas, that our shoestrings will now expand and rule the world.” Lots of applause.

Gilberto shook his head. Buzz was grimacing. He probably thought Dimwittie was talking through his hat. Gilberto looked again, wait, was that expression one of pain?

Dimwittie droned on in his pompous manner. “I am so proud of Clay Calhoun and the great efforts we have given that this day may be realized.”

Gilberto looked hard at his boss and tried to see if anything could be wrong.

“And now it is my pleasure to introduce to you all the Atlas CEO Randolph Alexander Buzz that these proceedings may continue.”

As waiters poured sparkling bubbly into tall fluted glasses Buzz rose, beamed at the two dowagers, and went to the podium. “Ours is a special union this day. The merger between Clay Calhoun shoestrings of Civil War fame, and Atlas, worldwide shipping.” Polite applause.

Gilberto noticed the two dowagers did not seem pleased. Maybe the word union was inappropriate. One of them looked askance at Buzz while the other frowned at the Atlas contingent.

Buzz nodded to Sara Midgley who rose and beamed her best beauty queen smile. “Sara Midgley will be overseeing the completion of this great effort. If you have any questions or issues go see Sara. She’s a kind and brilliant friend to all us working stiffs.”

A waiter handed him a tall fluted glass. “And now a toast to our mutual betterment. It is our hope that shoestrings will not only rule the universe but outer space as well.” He raised his glass, took a sip, and gazed blankly at the assembled crowd. He tried clearing his throat and bent over, coughing. Then his body swayed and he dropped the fluted glass as he reached out and clutched the podium. Finally, he tumbled to the floor, taking the podium with him as he fell. 

Gilberto and Ramon rushed to him and untangled him from it.

“Very faint pulse,” Ramon said. “Can hardly find it.”

“Get a doctor,” Gilberto shouted. “Someone who can perform CPR.”

Chaos prevailed. People rose from their seats and milled around. Sara Midgley rushed to Buzz. Tears filled her eyes. She picked up one of the gold fountain pens intended to be used to officiate the merger. More pens, together with the papers intended for signing lay scattered on the floor. She scooped them up and stuffed them into her embroidered bag.

Ramon looked at Gilberto. “Without his signature, the merger will be null and void…”

Two first responders rushed to the podium.

Ramon shook his head. “He’s only just holding on,” he said sadly

Maria hurried to Gilberto’s side. “Oh, the poor man,”” she said.

Buzz’s face was drawn, his eyes bulged. His skin was stark white.

After a brief attempt at CPR, medical personnel lifted Buzz into the waiting ambulance.

To be continued.

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7 Reasons To Consider A Meditation Practice

Meditation is simply directed concentration and involves learning to focus your awareness and direct it toward something specific: your breath, a phrase or word repeated silently, a memorized inspirational passage, or an image in the mind’s eye. The benefits of meditation are numerous, and include:

Helping lower blood pressure

Decreasing heart and respiratory rates

Increasing blood flow

Enhancing immune function

Reducing perception of pain and relieving chronic pain due to arthritis and other disorders

Maintaining level mood

Bringing awareness and mindfulness to everyday aspects of life

A simple form of meditation that can be practiced by anyone is to walk or sit quietly in a natural setting and allow your thoughts and sensations to occur; observing them without judgment. There are now a number of guided meditation apps that can be used on your smartphone or tablet. They may have specific focuses for your practice like happiness or creativity. Give them a trial and see if they make starting meditation more enjoyable and more regular for you.

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Being Your Own Village

Sometimes we need to be our own village by utilizing all of our skills and learning more.

Simple survival requires us to be in possession of many skills. The pursuit of dreams requires many more. Most individuals rely on the support of a village, whether peopled by relatives or community members, to effectively address the numerous ways we need assistance. This can mean anything from asking favors of acquaintances and leaning on loved ones for support to paying a skilled artisan to handle specialized tasks. However, each human being is born with the capacity to be their own village. We embody many roles throughout our lifetimes, all of which are representative of our capacity for self-sufficiency and self-determination. In different moments in our lives, we are our own counselor, janitor, caregiver, cook, healer, teacher, and student. Our willingness to joyfully take on these roles grants us the power to maintain control over the direction our life’s journey takes.

In times past, human beings learned all of the skills needed for survival. Today, the majority of people specialize in a single discipline, which they hone throughout their lives. Thus, many of us feel uncomfortable standing at the helm of our own existence. We question our ability to make decisions concerning our own health, happiness, and welfare, and are left feeling dependent and powerless. But the authority to take ultimate responsibility for our lives is simply a matter of believing that we have the necessary faith and intelligence to cope with any circumstance the universe chooses to place in our path. Proving that we can each be our own villages through action enables us to accept that we are strong enough to exist autonomously. Cooking, cultivating a garden of fruits and vegetables, undertaking minor home repairs, or adopting a healthier lifestyle can help you reassert your will.

Being your own village does not mean embracing isolation, for a balanced life is built upon the dual foundations of the inner and the outer villages. Rather, being your own village is a celebration of your wondrous inner strength and resourcefulness, as well as an acknowledgment of your innate ability to capably steer the course of your life.

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THE “EVIL EYE” THEN AND NOW

TWH –  A single glance is all it takes. It could come from a friend, a family member, or a complete stranger. It could happen on a busy city street or along a quiet country road. The evil eye – a curse that stems from someone’s envy or ill will – is ubiquitous and, according to countless magical practitioners, incredibly powerful.

Few superstitions elicit as much fear, and understandably so. The “eye” doesn’t require one to light a candle or recite an incantation. A well-placed stare, the simplest of human actions, can deliver bad luck or the onset of a physical ailment.

Nearly every culture has its own version of the storied malediction. In Italian, it’s called malocchio. In Greece, it’s mati. Some believe it is intentional, while others favor the theory that “the eye” can be unleashed unconsciously if one person feels even a twinge of jealousy towards another.

So what, exactly, is the evil eye?

“The origins of the evil eye belief complex are shrouded in history. However, we know that it goes back at least as far as ancient Egyptian civilization, approximately 5,000 years BCE. We know that the ancient Egyptians had a symbol called the udjat, consisting of an eye, which they painted on boats, coffins, tombs, and objects to protect them against the evil eye,” said Dr. Sabina Magliocco, a professor of anthropology at the University of British Columbia and the author of Witching Culture: Folklore and Neo-Paganism in America.

“As in modern anti-evil charms, the eye acted as an apotropaic device, bouncing away any evil intentions. We know from literature and archaeological remains that the ancient Greeks and Romans also believed in this system in which the gaze of an envious person was thought to cause harm. The evil eye belief complex has continued to exist throughout the Mediterranean and in places colonized by Mediterranean peoples, such as Latin America, for 7,000 years,” she related.

Christopher Penczak, co-founder of the Temple of Witchcraft tradition and the author of numerous landmark books, learned about the evil eye in childhood from his mother’s family.

“My mother’s godmother was a ‘curse breaker’ in the Italian section of the city of Lawrence, Massachusetts who would break the malocchio with a spaghetti pot of boiling water on the stove, extra virgin olive oil, and a needle, while saying prayers to Jesus and Mary,” he said. “The first time I was in the living room of her home when she was doing it, and they wouldn’t let me watch, but my mother did describe it to me. I was fascinated.”

Despite these early encounters, he came to understand “the eye” more fully as an adult. “Later, as an occultist, I understood the evil eye to be often unintentional, but very real harm caused by someone’s strong and harmful feelings towards you or your family, disrupting your sense of connection to being on your path, which causes misfortune or illness,” he said.

A common thread linking the evil eye to those practicing the magic that cures it is family lineage. Rituals are often passed down from one generation to the next, and many modern-day practitioners can trace their working knowledge of the eye to their parents or grandparents.

Leanne Marrama, co-author of the forthcoming Lighting the Wick: An Intuitive Guide to the Ancient Art and Magic of Candles and co-owner of Pentagram, a Witchcraft shop in Salem, Massachusetts, explained that many people are misinformed about what the evil eye truly is.

“The evil eye is often portrayed as a curse cast by a vindictive jealous practitioner of malevolent magic,” she said. “But the eye is more commonly caused by feelings of jealousy and envy by people we associate with daily. My own grandmother believed that insincere compliments to her children and grandchildren were forms of the evil eye. None of us were safe from her randomly spitting on the ground or us, for that matter, with the hopes of protecting us from the dreaded evil eye.”

Over the years Marrama has diagnosed the evil eye for various family members and friends. One test for detecting its presence utilizes olive oil and a bowl of water.

“If the oil forms one large drop in the middle of the plate,” Marrama said, “then it is a sure sign of the evil eye.”

Like countless other Witches and practitioners of folk magic, Marrama acknowledged that there are many ways to both detect and remove the evil eye; in fact, rituals vary from culture to culture, if not family to family.

“My mother’s side of the family and my father’s side of the family had two different ways of identifying and busting the evil eye,” she explained. “My mother used scissors and my aunt used a silver steak knife. Other families use pins or razors stabbed directly into the oily eye, followed by three pinches of salt.”

Marrama further illustrated the ritual through the lens of her own Italian heritage. She explained that the strega – an Italian Witch – will “say secret words or simply the Hail Mary three times” to break or banish the negativity. “Often an egg is dropped into the bowl filled with water and oil,” she added. “The egg absorbs the evil and is then tossed into the toilet.”

In recent years, books and online tutorials have explored the evil eye from the perspective of the modern practitioner, but history remains the best teacher. Among the world’s major monotheistic religions, Judaism and Jewish culture are also replete with references to the evil eye.

Whether using the Yiddish phrase kinnahora or the Hebrew phrase bli ayn hara, many Jewish people seek to ward off the evil eye, the ayn hara, from impacting good news or good fortune.

“The evil eye is not mentioned in the Hebrew Bible, nor is it mentioned in Jewish literature of the Second Temple period,” said Dr. Gideon Bohak, a professor in the department of Jewish Philosophy at Tel Aviv University and author of Ancient Jewish Magic: A History. “But it does appear in Rabbinic literature of the first few centuries AD, and is attested in Jewish texts and practices to this very day.”

Among the practices that Jewish people have developed over the centuries are spitting three times after mentioning plans or positive developments, as seen in films like Fiddler on the Roof, or wearing a variety of different kinds of amulets for protection.

These can include a hamsa, a hand-shaped shield that is sometimes cast with a jeweled eye in its center. It is called the hand of Fatima or Miriam, depending on the wearer, and is said to originate from the Muslim world and was also adopted by Jews who hail from that part of the world.

There is also the ben porat yosef prayer, cast on a variety of metals, which offers protections to the descendants of the Biblical character Joseph, who are said to be immune from the powers of “the eye.”

The Talmud, the compendium of Jewish law and legends, even offers a ritual to confront its powers: “One who enters a city and fears the evil eye should hold the thumb of his right hand in his left hand and the thumb of his left hand in his right hand and recite the following: I, so-and-so son of so-and-so, come from the descendants of Joseph, over whom the evil eye has no dominion. (Berakhot 55b)”

Both Bohak and Magliocco address the compelling fact that belief in the evil eye has an enduring quality. Neither the passage of time nor the impact of an increasingly secular society have weakened its efficacy.

Among today’s most popular forms of protection is the wearing of a nazar, a blue amulet that resembles an eye, which can be found across the Arab world, Turkey, and Greece. Terms like bad juju and negative energy are used colloquially, and each is rooted in what the evil eye ultimately represents. What is its staying power?

“The belief system survives because it serves a psychological and social function,” said Magliocco. “Evil eye belief is usually about social relations, not supernatural ones. It reflects the fear of envy that characterizes small-scale societies the world over. In tightly-knit, egalitarian communities with a shared concept of limited good – that is, a belief that the amount of available good things is limited – one person’s good fortune necessarily comes at the expense of someone else. That applies not only to material wealth, but to fertility, happiness, success, and other intangibles. Therefore, people believe that if they have something good, others will envy them.”

Bohak concurs. “I think this is a combination of several things,” he said. “On the one hand, the evil eye is a form of jealousy, which makes people afraid that the jealousy of others in their own success might somehow hurt them. On the other, the very gaze of people (and animals, especially dangerous animals) is psychologically very disturbing. I think this is why the eye became such a focal point of human fears of how other humans might harm them – on purpose or even inadvertently.”

Beyond envy, the evil eye can also be attributed to other factors such as interpersonal struggles.

“We all have people with whom we might be in conflict – neighbors, ex-spouses, coworkers,” Magliocco said. “Evil eye belief allows us to project bad feelings onto the person we are in conflict with, as well as explaining misfortune: it’s their fault we have a headache or upset stomach, because they wished us ill through the evil eye! They caused us to have a run of bad luck because they’re angry with us; we can hold ourselves blameless.”

There are numerous rituals to remove the evil eye, but what is the source of their development over time? Oil, water, salt, scissors, furtive incantations – are these remnants of Pagan rites that were syncretized with other religious and ethnic beliefs?

“It is very difficult to find evidence of the roots of practices to cure or remove the evil eye, because these practices were passed down through oral tradition and imitation for centuries by ordinary people who were usually non-literate,” Magliocco explained. “It is very likely, though, that practices such as using water and oil to diagnose and cure the evil eye predate Christianity, and that the prayers to saints for a cure were added when Christianity became the dominant religion. Certainly, the use of eye-shaped amulets to prevent the evil eye dates back to ancient Egyptian civilization, and therefore has Pagan roots. It’s worth noting, however, that often, practices with Pagan roots combine with practices from monotheistic religions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam) in the prevention and cure of the evil eye.”

Magic differs greatly among practitioners, but most will agree that one ingredient is a mainstay when it comes to combating the evil eye: water. Magliocco sheds light on a curious – and often overlooked – piece of the puzzle.

“Some scholars have noted that many evil eye diagnoses and cures involve the use of water,” Magliocco said. “They have linked this to the generally dry Mediterranean climate where the belief system originated, and the idea that wetness signified life and health, while dryness was associated with shriveling up, disease, and death. Given the importance of water access throughout the Mediterranean and Middle East, this would indicate the very ancient roots of this belief system.”

The scope of magical practice has grown over the past several decades, and so too have the Witches, Pagans, and folk practitioners who are continually fostering its prominence on the spiritual landscape.

The “old ways” – the rituals and prayers of the ancestors – have never been more significant; some are reclaiming those ways and others are reshaping them to better serve the changing needs of their own communities.

And so it is with the evil eye. Witches like Penczak and Marrama were taught the traditional methods for removing the negativity that accompanies an envious stare, but both understand the need to transmute those practices for wider audiences of seekers who find compelling use in the practice of warding off “the eye.”

“The Temple of Witchcraft has a variety of cleansing and clearing rituals we teach in our school, but I mostly come up with this in my one-on-one work with clients,” Penczak said. “Usually a ritual of cleansing smoke, such as frankincense and myrrh, or a salt bath, is enough to restore balance and wish things off.”

While the daily have changed since the start of the pandemic – Zoom calls replacing in-person meetings – the need to feel a sense of safety and protection has intensified. Are there simple steps one can take to prevent the evil eye?

“Wash with rue in your bath on a Sunday. Scissors wrapped in red ribbon, hung in doorways and placed under the mattress with the points facing the foot of the bed are weapons for protection,” instructed Maramma.

“The first lesson,” she continued, “is the hardest: choose your confidants carefully. Keep your good news and plans to yourself. Even the most loving friends are capable of jealousy. Once your good fortune has transpired, then it is time to share the happiness with others. Creating a healthy circle of confident, supportive friends and family is the best way to avoid malocchio.”

ABOUT ANTONIO PAGLIARULO

Antonio Pagliarulo has been a member of the Pagan community since his teens. The son of Italian immigrants, he was schooled in the ways of Italian folk magic and Stregheria and is a dedicated priest of the Old Religion. While a college student, he authored Rocking the Goddess: Campus Wicca for the Student Practitioner and American Witch: Magick for the Modern Seeker (Kensington Books) under the penname Anthony Paige. He is also the author of five young adult novels published by Delacorte Press/Random House. His reporting on spirituality and the occult has appeared in the Washington Post and Religion News Service. A full time writer and volunteer EMT, Antonio lives in Manhattan with his husband and is currently working on his first novel for adults, as well as a new volume of witchy nonfiction.

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Reptiles As Pets: Dispelling The Myths

Posted by EarthSky Voices

September 1, 2021

Reptiles are all the rage. Mochi the bearded dragon is a viral sensation, with over 1.8 million views on YouTube. Meanwhile, Chris Pratt is singing to his bearded dragon while walking it on a leash, and he is just one of many other celebrities with pet reptiles. It is obvious that having reptiles as pets has gained popularity in recent years.

But there is a growing number of people opposed to owning these animals as pets. Their concerns range from reptiles posing a serious danger to public health to beliefs about reptiles being too cold to love. Why do reptiles get a bad rap?

Reptile-borne diseases

Critics of reptile pet ownership often state that reptiles are riddled with diseases, and while it is true that reptiles do harbor disease, the risk is often far lower than people realize. This fear may be due to outbreaks of salmonella in people that occurred nearly half a century ago: In the 1970s, turtles suddenly became a popular pet, and reptile-borne salmonella incidences increased, representing about 11% of all human cases.

In North America, people are more likely to acquire salmonella from consuming animal products. Education campaigns and legislation in the 1990s led to a significant reduction in reptile-borne salmonella, decreasing it to just 6% of cases.

However, close study of reptile-caused illnesses in humans has only examined trends up to the early 2000s, so public health data may be subject to change as reptiles increase in popularity.

Interestingly, although diseases are highlighted as a reason to avoid pet reptiles, pet mammals like dogs and cats have been repeatedly linked to a variety of health problems, such as rabies and asthma. Yet these dangers are deemed acceptable by society, despite the public health risks (rabies is incurable and fatal).

Another common critique is that reptiles simply do not make good pets. This belief stems from the view that reptiles are lumbering, boring creatures. However, this could not be further from the truth.

There are some incredible examples of reptile nimbleness. For example, basilisks can run on two legs on the surface of water for more than 20 metres, and crocodiles can use their massive jaws to delicately move their babies and eggs without damaging them. Some lizards can solve food puzzles and tortoises and bearded dragons can take cues from others of the same species to speed up problem-solving tasks, both of which are abilities once thought to be present only in birds and mammals.

While affection is harder to prove using current scientific methods, tests have shown that some tortoises (likely dependent on personality) prefer having their shells scratched by familiar humans to food or toys when making a choice.

Reptile welfare

Beyond the risks for people, owning a reptile does pose some threat to the animals themselves. While there is no evidence that reptiles suffer disproportionately poor welfare compared to other pets, it is easy to access misleading and conflicting information online. Well-intentioned owners can end up keeping reptiles in substandard conditions, eventually causing a variety of preventable health issues.

Due to their ectothermic (cold-blooded) nature, reading body language can be tricky, making it difficult to tell when reptiles are suffering. Making things worse, reptiles can often endure severe health conditions longer than mammals. Ultimately, this means that reptiles can be kept in neglectful conditions for months, or even years.

Thankfully, some reptile welfare groups on social media are doing their best to collect and communicate the most up-to-date standards of reptile care. Herpetologists – who study reptiles and amphibians – are continually refining the best husbandry practices and methods for evaluating reptile welfare.

Reptile abuse

Outdated beliefs about reptiles, often spurred on by a misguided distrust, can do real harm by allowing reptile mistreatment to persist. For example, perhaps one of the most astonishingly cruel reptile-related practices are the annual rattlesnake rodeos taking place in the southern United States.

Rattlesnakes are taken from the wild and stored for up to eight months, usually without food, water or regular cage maintenance. If the snakes survive this process, they are brought to the rodeo where they are physically beaten, taunted, stomped on or hastily decapitated all while fully conscious.

The manner in which snakes are treated at these events would cause mass outrage if the same practices were performed on any mammal or bird, so why is it acceptable for a reptile?

Championing reptiles

Perhaps, through the proper ownership of reptiles as pets, and by dispelling the myths surrounding them, we can raise awareness of their cognitive abilities and better appreciate their unique appeal.

Though often overlooked, reptiles can make incredible pets. Many owners find themselves captivated by their stoic beauty, and others find even the simplest behavior endearing. With proper education, owners are able to care for a pet reptile for many years in a way that ensures the health of both the animal and their owner.

Pet ownership may inspire positive change for the welfare of reptiles, putting an end to inhumane practices and promoting conservation goals for one of the most underfunded and under-researched groups of animals.

In light of all this, perhaps it is time we show some warmth to our cold-blooded companions

Melanie Denomme, Ph.D. Student, Biological Sciences, Brock University and Glenn J Tattersall, Professor, Biological Sciences, Brock University

Bottom line: Reptiles get a bad rap, but this is because they’re misunderstood. Promoting healthy reptile pet ownership can contribute to conservation and education efforts.

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What the Cemetery Superintendent Sees: 1896

By Chris Woodward

Pathetic, humorous, and strange incidents are continually occurring in cemeteries. The public never hears of them because the cemetery superintendent isn’t often a talker. He doesn’t tell things unless he is asked. The stories of some happenings he declines to relate, regarding them as professional secrets. Above all, he of course never mentions names. The burying ground is one of the greatest places on earth to study character. The superintendent knows it and he is a most proficient student. His practiced eye detects the alleged mourner who simulates his grief, and in a moment he spots the financial skinner who is either cheese-paring expenses or making a spread to impress funeral participants to such a great extent that the display may be a sort of financial investment. In most cases friends and relatives who are not sincere mourners make strong and clever attempts at deceiving observers. Some, however, do not care, and family feuds are ofttimes carried to the side of the grave.

There was recently an instance of a woman laughing and chatting like a parrot a few minutes after the burial of a child. Then there are cases in which the wounds of sorrow made by the deaths of friends or relatives are so deep that the bereaved ones never recover. Some of this class visit and decorate the graves of their dead every day in the year, rain or shine. There are others, however, wounded just as deeply, who cannot bear the cemetery, but sit at home and suffer in silence.

The Curious and Superstitious.

The bane of a graveyard is the curiosity-seekers and the superstitious. People of the former class have a morbid love for funerals that is ghoulish. They gloat over the grief of the mourners and feast their eyes on the face of the corpse if they get an opportunity. The abnormal appetite of these people seems never satiated. Their faces are so familiar to cemetery-keepers that they are missed if they neglect to attend a single funeral. Superstitious people are still plentiful. They wouldn’t enter a burying ground at night for a million dollars, and many of them wouldn’t go into a vault even in the daytime, not even if they were accompanied by an electric arc light and a cannon. A few days ago a remarkable superstition came to light at Graceland. One of the managers was walking in a driveway when he was approached by an old woman, tottering and bent with age. In one hand she carried a crumple strip of paper. Approaching, she said: “I’m looking for an open grave, sir. Can you tell me where to find one?”

“Yes, there is one right straight north of here—the seventh lot,” was the reply. “But why do you want to find an open grave?”

‘Well, you know, one of my granchillern’s got the scarlet fev’r, an’ I’ve writ the name of the disease on this here piece of paper. If I kin just drop the paper in an open grave, where it’ll git buried, the disease’ll leave the chile an’ go down in the grave.”

When asked for a look at the paper, she unfolded it and held it out. On the scrap was scrawled in a lead pencil, “skarlit fevr.” When the old woman was handed back her slip she hurried to the grave. The man watched her. When she reached the hole she stopped for a moment, and seemed to be muttering some incantation over the opening. Then she stretched her arm out straight over the middle of the grave, with the back of her hand down. In a moment her fingers, which had been tightly closed, opened. The light breeze lifted the “skarlit fevr” charm from her palm. It fluttered in the air an instant, and fell into the grave. The poor old creature was satisfied. With a contented, feeble smile, she turned and hurried away as fast as possible.

Wax Flowers and Coffin Plates.

Very frequently the family of the deceased removes the name plate from the coffin and has the flowers which were used preserved by dipping them in wax. The flowers are made in the form of a wreath. The silver plate is placed in the middle and the whole is placed in a glass case to be hung In the parlor. Then, after some one comes along and makes the remark that it is “mighty bad luck to have such a thing in the house,” the relatives take down the case and carry the plate to the cemetery and ask the superintendent to have the body taken up that they may put the plate back on the coffin. This has happened so often at every cemetery that the employes do longer smile when the superstitious man with the plate wants a coffin exhumed.

At Oakwoods cemetery there is a remarkable and apparently inexplicable mystery, for many years the authorities there have been finding candles just inside the great high iron fence which surrounds the grounds. In every instance the candle has been lighted and extinguished at once before any of the tallow has melted. Sometimes three candles are found bound together by a strip of a linen handkerchief. They are always found so close to the fence that whoever left them evidently reached between the iron bars and dropped them within. Scores of the candles have been found, and Superintendent Drew always has a fresh drawer full in his office. Many guesses have been hazarded as to the cause of the strange practice. The theory which seems most plausible is that it is a hoodoo charm performed by negroes the night of the burial of one of their kin.

Is the Grave Secure?

Quite frequently people ask cemetery superintendents to open the graves so that they may see if the corpse has not been stolen or disturbed. This is especially the case when graves are very much sunken. It is very seldom that the authorities will listen to the request. The suspicions are almost invariably groundless and explanations are made to the friends showing them the uselessness of disinterment. Body-snatching is almost unknown in in these days. The only cases that may occur are when the deceased has been taken away by some unusual disease which scientist would like to investigate. For all ordinary scientific study the hospitals and poor-house furnish an abundance of bodies. Sometimes before the coffin is lowered into the grave some mourner is already figuring on having the corpse exhumed before very long to see if it has been disturbed. One day at Oakwoods a mourner, who was unwilling to trust the records, walked the fence and scratched a cross on the railing opposite the grave which was in the single grave section. In a few weeks he came back and wanted the grave opened. He was so persistent that Superintendent Drew consented. The man wanted the grave opened which was exactly opposite the notch. The records and chart showed the grave of the gentleman’s relative was next to the one which he wished opened. He kicked up a great row, but the superintendent stood by his records and opened the grave indicated on the chart. It was the right one. The mourner had not been careful in making his mark, and had placed it a little to one side and directly in front of another grave, only a foot away. The coffin was taken up. The dead had not been disturbed and the man was satisfied.

Flower Thieves.

The only kind of thieves and robbers that bother the burying ground is the flower thief. She, for this brand of thief is almost invariably of the feminine gender, comes with the blossoms in the springtime and she haunts graveyards all summer long unless she is detected. Decoration day before last, at Mount Greenwood Cemetery, two enterprising flower sellers and stealers had a narrow escape from being mobbed. A man drew up a wagon filled with potted plants near the station. Great crowds were getting off the train and he sold flowers right and left. Although he was selling them by the dozen on every hand, for some strange reason his supply seemed no smaller at the end of an hour than when he began. Presently, when the salesman’s wife was caught stealing flowers in the cemetery, his never-decreasing supply of floral goods was no longer a mystery. As fast as the purchased flowers were placed on graves the wife stole them and carried them back to the wagon. When caught she was surrounded by a crowd of a thousand people and came near receiving rough treatment.

Superintendent Rudd of Mount Greenwood is one of the oldest and most experienced cemetery managers in Chicago. The many years he has been in his present position have given him great experience with the general public.

“I could tell you things which you would scarcely believe,” said Mr. Rudd.

“Incidents transpire in cemeteries which if told exactly as they occurred would receive little credence. One thing which would occasion great surprise is the little real sorrow and grief caused by death.

Grief Arithmetically Measured.

“Most husbands are not hurt very much by the death of their wives. I don’t think over 20 per cent really feel badly wounded at heart when they hear the clods fall on the coffin lid. Wives are less heartless. About 40 per cent of wives, twice as many as the husbands, care considerably when their life partners are buried. Very few care when old people die. But when a mother leaves her child in the ground there are few instances when her heart is not almost broken. We once had a striking exception. A mother had just buried the third of her children who had died in quick succession of scarlet fever. The husband and wire had come from the grave to my office and were waiting for some papers. Tears were rolling down his cheeks, but the woman laughed and talked as if she were at a reunion in a beer garden. Finally the poor man could bear it no longer. Raising his clinched fist and cursing her, he advanced toward his wife and told her if she didn’t shut her mouth he would shut it for her.

“I remember one young man whose grief at the burial of his wife was heartrending. He screamed and cried until be could be beard clear across the hill. He threw himself on the coffin, and when it was lowered he tried to jump into the grave. Friends held him, and he was taken away almost fainting. Within a month the young man married again.

No Waking the Last Sleep.

“Very often in the winter husbands place their dead wives in the vault, and In the spring bring out wife No. 2 to see No. 1 put in the ground. Once an undertaker had occasion to open a coffin which was in our public vault. It was in the depth of winter, and the thermometer was below zero. The corpse looked very life-like, and after the undertaker went away he made some little remark about it. The little remark was repeated. It grew like a weed. It was enlarged and exaggerated until it was told over the entire neighborhood that a woman in a trance lay buried in the vault. The gossips did not stop to think that the body had been frozen solid for nearly a month. These stories, by the way, about people being buried alive are mostly manufactured for sensational purposes. I never heard of an authentic case, and I never met any one else who ever did.

Tricks of the Social Faker.

“Some queer and peculiar things are done out here by money ‘skinners.’ Who are thinking of saving every penny as much as they are of their grief. Two or three of the mourners will come out before the funeral and express their doubts as to whether we have a lot good enough for them. Then they conclude to place the remains in the vault temporarily.

The day of the funeral everything is imposing. The coffin is rosewood, or covered with plush or broadcloth, and there is a long line of fine carriages. Some time after the funeral the mourners will slip out to the cemetery, buy a single grave in the poorest, cheapest spot, and, without buying the $3 pine coffin-box, bury the casket in the ground. I remember well a heart-broken husband who came out to the cemetery to buy a lot and make arrangements for his wife’s funeral. The poor fellow could not restrain his feelings. Two big tears glistened in his eyes, and his voice quivered. He looked up at me through his glistening tears and said:

“‘Yes. It’s hard to (sob) bear. An’ it’s an awful (sob) trial (sob) to come out (sob) here and select this (sob) lot. I was wo-wonderin’ if you (sob) co-couldn’t gimme a little discoun-count for cash.’ (Long-continued sobbing.)

“I had another experience with a mourner of much the same character. ‘Now, I’ll tell you,’ he said, ‘there are going to be a lot of swell, rich people out here at my wife’s funeral tomorrow. They don’t any of ’em own lots here, but when they come out tomorrow and see what a magnificent place you’ve got they may buy. Well, you know, of course I’m sort of bringing ’em out here, and maybe you might sell ’em some lots several, perhaps and well. I didn’t know but you might feel like giving me a little commission on all the lots you might sell to any of em.”

Repentance and Black Stockings.

“A widower came to my foreman once with a proposition that had never been heard of before. Several months previous the man had buried his wife. He was a cheese-parer on money matters, and, I guess, he saved all he could on funeral arrangements. At the funeral, of course, only the face was exposed. The rest of the body could not be seen, and no one but the widower knew how well or how poorly it was arrayed. Evidently he got to thinking the matter over and decided he hadn’t given his dead wife a square deal. Well, sir, he came to my foreman with a long pair of black stockings, and wanted his wife taken up so that be could put them on her.”

All of the large cemeteries have had more or less experience with people who have been so unfortunate as to lose a limb. One day a man from Pullman appeared at Mount Greenwood with a tiny coffin, about nine inches long, under his arm. He had in the coffin two of his fingers which had been cut off by a buzz saw. Instead of throwing them away or burying them in his back yard he brought them to the graveyard, purchased a lot, and buried the fingers. Several years ago a woman, living on the South Side, had a leg amputated. It was buried in a family lot. Recently the woman died. Her relatives had the leg taken up and placed in the coffin. They said they did it so that she would be perfect in heaven.

Some Recent Legislation.

Cemetery people all over the state are laughing at the ridiculous law passed by the Legislature in regard to the use of wire designs for holding flowers. The law makes it unlawful for these designs to be used in any way a second time.

“It is one of the most laughable things 1 ever heard of,” said Superintendent Rudd. “I presume the law was passed on the theory that the wire might become infected with contagion. Of course that is preposterous, especially if the designs are repainted. I guess if the truth were known it would be found that some manufacturers had some new design they wanted to get on the market. Perhaps they persuaded the Legislature to cripple the old designs.”

Daily Inter Ocean [Chicago, IL[ 21 June 1896: p. 23

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 on Twitter @hauntedohiobook. And visit her newest blog The Victorian Book of the Dead.

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Kitty Kat’s Korner

All Month:

  • Happy Healthy Cat Month
  • National Pet Insurance Month
  • Pet-Sitter Education Month
  • September 12-18: Adopt a Less-Adoptable-Pet Week
  • September 19-25: Deaf Pet Awareness Week

Sept. 1: Ginger Cat Appreciation Day

  • Today is the day to celebrate our orange feline friends! Here are some fun facts about gingers:
  • Most ginger cats are male (the ratio is about 80% male to 20% female)
  • All orange cats are tabbies (tabby is actually a coat pattern, not a breed)
  • Winston Churchill owned an orange tabby named Tango.
  • Gingers come in four distinct coat patterns: spotted, mackerel, striped and ticked.
  • Orange tabbies can be found in a variety of cat breeds like Maine Coon, Persian, Oriental shorthair and American Bobtail

Check out this fun cat art show in Oakland, California featuring the work of several cat portrait artists. It will be a celebration with music, art and cats! Takes place at the Firehouse Art Collective/Lottie Rose Art Gallery. Learn more at thegalleryofcats.com.

Sept. 11: 9th Annual Catio Tour

Don’t miss this popular, one-of-a-kind event in Portland, Oregon, hosted by the Feral Cat Coalition of Oregon and Portland Audubon. The 9th Annual Catio Tour will showcase eight distinct outdoor cat enclosures. From DIY to designer, the catios in NE Portland, SE Portland and Vancouver will inspire great ideas that fit any budget and space. This self-guided tour was created to inspire cat owners to build or buy an outdoor cat enclosure to keep cats safe from outdoor hazards while also protecting wildlife from cat predation. This year’s event has two tour options available – in-person ($10) and online video ($15), both of which take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. To learn more and to register, visit CatsSafeAtHome.org.

Sept. 12: 23rd Pet Rock Festival

The 23rd annual Pet Rock Festival continues to put a spotlight on the animal welfare organizations of New England that work to promote kindness to animals. Pet Rock Fest features live music, performances and games for kids, author signings, photos of your pets, animal mascots, vegetarian food court, games for kids, a cat photo contest, doggie waterpark, demonstrations, exhibits, vendors and, most importantly, hundreds of nonprofit groups devoted to animal welfare causes. Goes from noon to 5 p.m. Tickets are $12 for adults and $5 for kids 12 and under. Learn more at petrockfest.org.

Sept. 25-26: Skyway Cat Club Cat Show

Join this Cat Lovers’ Paradise and meet more than 25 cat breeds, including Persians, Maine Coons, Bengals, Orientals, long-hairs and no hairs. Adoptable cats and kittens will be available through attending rescue groups. Shop for unique cat items like furniture, jewelry, cat beds, blankets, toys and more. For more information, visit http://www.skywaycatclub.com.

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Georgia’s Weekly Horoscope: Sunday, September 05, 2021

All Signs

We have excellent chances for a positive week ahead! First, there is a strong emphasis on work and getting better organized. For many, this ambition will lead to a desire to improve their health because they want to improve all aspects of their lives. (Why not?) Meanwhile, Mercury, Venus and Jupiter will encourage warm, social gatherings or meetings for professional reasons. People will be happy to see each other! This is guaranteed because Mercury and Venus are in the social sign of Libra; and Jupiter is in the friendly sign of Aquarius. Both are Air Signs. A lovely fit! Enjoy good times and remember to grab every chance for physical activity. Remember: Walking is one of the best exercises anyone can do. Its importance and can’t be overestimated. (After all, how else can you get to the car?)

Aries (March 21-April 19)

This week is the classic formula: Work hard, party hard. You’re still in work mode with a strong desire to get organized and accomplish as much as possible. Many of you are delegating and organizing the efforts of others. (Aries energy is classic Sergeant major.) Nevertheless, Mercury and Venus are opposite your sign, which promotes socializing! Make time to enjoy fun conversations with partners and close friends. You might also be involved in group activities, clubs or classes. It’s important to find a happy compromise between being available for others, and yet, maintaining your own independence and integrity and not selling out to everyone’s demands.

Taurus (April 20-May 20)

This is a fabulous week for you because both the Sun and Mars are in a playful part of your chart giving you opportunities to socialize with others. Enjoy sports events. (You might be in competition.) Accept invitations to party and enjoy the entertainment world. Grab every chance to express your own creative talents. Fun activities with children will delight. Nevertheless, this lovely dance mentioned in All Signs above between Mercury, Venus and Jupiter will promote wonderful opportunities in your job, along with work-related travel. A work-related romance might blossom! Whatever you do will promote your good reputation in the eyes of others.

Gemini (May 21-June 20)

This is a great week because so much positive energy is happening between three planets: Mercury and Venus dancing with Jupiter. Mercury and Venus are in Libra, which is an Air Sign; and Jupiter is in Aquarius, also an Air Sign. Meanwhile, you are an Air Sign! (“Elemental, my dear Watson.”) This means things will flow easily for you, and situations will be supportive. Despite your focus on home and family, this is a social week with travel opportunities and chances to enjoy fun outings, the arts, sports events and playful times with kids. Admittedly, increased chaos on the home front will require your attention but on the whole – this is a week to give yourself permission to be happy and enjoy the company of others.

Cancer (June 21-July 22)

Life is fast-paced now because of your busy schedule. Many of you are reading and studying more than usual. You have appointments, errands and increased time spent with siblings. Short trips are likely. It’s an excellent week for important communications because you will be persuasive and articulate. Home and family are blessed this week, which is why it’s a great time to entertain at home as well as tackle home repairs and enjoy family discussions. Practical and financial help from another source might help you to make these home improvements and entertaining functions a successful venture. Enjoy!

Leo (July 23-Aug. 22)

This is a charming week because your communications with others will be pleasant, informative and even profitable. With the Sun and Mars in your Money House, your focus on cash flow and earnings is strong. Likewise, not only are you working hard to earn money, you’re spending it! However, the lovely play of energy in the Air Signs (see All Signs above) takes place in your House of Communications and your House of Partnerships. In a nutshell, this means conversations with others will be smooth, entertaining and mutually beneficial. You will enjoy learning. You will especially appreciate your environment and discover how much love there is in your everyday world. You will feel gratified.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22)

You continue to be empowered with the Sun and fiery Mars in your sign. Make the most of this because the Sun is in your sign for only four weeks a year and Mars is in your sign for six weeks every two years. Right now, it’s a double whammy! This is why you’re PowerPoint on steroids! The delightful dance of Mercury and Venus with Jupiter (mentioned in All Signs) takes place in your Money House and affects your job, your work and your health. These are all areas that will get a lovely boost of positive energy! Your health will improve. Your job might improve or you might get a better job. You might earn more money and have wonderful, moneymaking ideas? (“I want a pony and I want to be a ballerina.”)

Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22)

This time of limbo is still here because the Sun and Mars are “hiding” in your chart. Mars will enter your sign on Sept. 14, and the Sun will enter your sign on Sept. 22. When this happens, you will have an amazing boost of energy! Note: Mars will stick with you until the end of Oct. Meanwhile, this is a wonderful time to talk to children, explore the arts and enjoy schmoozing with others. It’s also a great time to be on a vacation or to make vacation plans. It’s a good week to buy wardrobe items for yourself. It’s also a good week for important discussions with others because you will be diplomatic, smooth and charming – as is your wont.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21)

This is a popular week! This continues to be an excellent time to formulate goals. It’s also a good time to bounce your hopes and dreams for the future off someone else to get their feedback because they will help you. Make every effort to coordinate your needs with the needs of others to establish successful teamwork because this is possible now. Physical activity with others, especially in athletics will appeal. Meanwhile, something going on behind the scenes, perhaps very privately, will benefit home and family in your eyes. Family plans are ambitious but exciting. And yes, a secret love affair is still percolating in the wings.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 21)

The Sun is still at the top of your chart making you look fabulous in the eyes of bosses, parents and VIPs (even if you don’t do anything special). Bonus! This happens only once a year for four weeks so make the most of it. This is obviously the time to make your pitch or do what you can to advance your agenda. Fortunately, with Mars at the top of your chart, you have the ambition to act. Interactions with friends, especially younger, creative, artistic people will be a rewarding experience for you now. Enjoy groups and gatherings. These interactions might influence your future goals. This is a positive time for you when things tend to go your way. Make it work for you!

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 19)

In All Signs above, I mention a delightful and supportive dance between three planets: Mercury and Venus relating to lucky moneybags Jupiter. For your sign, this is a financial blessing. Discussions with bosses and important people might lead to increased earnings for you or a better paying job. Or perhaps it leads to a promotion? Bosses, parents and VIPs are definitely impressed with you at this time and their favour could culminate in financial benefits for you. Explore anything that looks like a good possibility for you because you have the edge and the advantage this week. Meanwhile, travel continues to appeal along with opportunities in higher education, medicine, the law, publishing and the media. Well done!

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 18)

All this fabulous activity in the Air Signs (see All Signs above) affects you because both lucky Jupiter and Saturn are in Aquarius! The last time Saturn was in your sign was 1991-1993; and the last time Jupiter was in your sign was 2009. This year they are both in your sign! This means it’s strong learning curve for you. Plus, things tend to go your way. This week in particular, opportunities to travel or expand your world might occur. You might meet people from other cultures. You might explore avenues in higher education, medicine, the law or publishing. This energy will boost your confidence and help you in disputes, especially shared property and inheritances.

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20)

Discussions with others will benefit you this week. These benefits will give you a financial advantage or practical support. In disputes with someone about shared property or an inheritance, very likely, things will go your way. This is also a passionate week, especially for lovers! Your affections are strong and relationships will be special. Yet ironically, confrontations with partners might also take place because both the Sun and Mars are opposite your sign. This means things are blowing hot and cold for you in your closest friendships and partnerships. Because of this changing quality – tread carefully. Make no important decisions until you know for sure what you want and you know for sure what you’re doing. (You can do this.)

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Weekly Horoscopes beginning Sunday, 05 September 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:

In late July, your ruling planet Mars moved into the down to earth sign Virgo, triggering a cycle of review. You’ve already made changes, if not amazing improvements, in everything from your lifestyle to work or practicalities. While most are settled, you’re unclear about others or, in some case, dislike your options. Still, take a chance. Plunge in. Within days you’ll realise how much you’ll benefit.

A new friend wants to know what you are doing, where you are going, when and why. You hadn’t expected them to take this kind of interest in your life and it will be a relief when they switch their attention elsewhere. Making long-term plans feels empowering as you suddenly wake up to the fact that you are in charge of your life and can choose your own destiny.

A New Moon promises a fresh start and Tuesday’s should be no exception to this rule. Planetary pictures surrounding this lunation promise excitement and regeneration. With both Mercury and Venus still moving through your opposite sign, it ought not to be difficult to find goodwill and reach understanding. Your efforts at bringing people together will likely be remarked upon – most especially if you’re trying to draw someone back into the fold. Your arguments are likely to be compelling. All that said, and though considerable excitement should be generated, it must be made clear that new strategies have to be put in place. You can’t go back to old ways of working. Though replacements systems are yet young and ill formed, new methods must be tried with you likely leading the way.

Taurus

Personal theme: I have!!

Earth & fixed sign: April 20 — May 20

Your horoscope for this week:

Dealing with recent unsettling, and often unwelcome, changes hasn’t been easy. While, initially, everything seemed disruptive, lately it’s become increasingly clear how beneficial most have been. This week brings more, except the focus is seemingly stable areas of your life. If in doubt, remember how well those recent unsettling changes went, and instead of battling what’s arisen, you’ll be inquisitive, if not embrace those events.

Money matters need more attention than you have recently been giving them. Until you are on top of bills you might decide to go easy with personal spending. If there is cash to spare, it would be wise to keep it in a savings account. You and a partner have enjoyed some great times together but nothing quite like what you are going through now. A new project really makes life worth living.

Tuesday’s New Moon is the annual one highlighting Taurus creativity. Your efforts to make even the most mundane of tasks pleasurable and rewarding will doubtless be remarked upon. It would be wise not to underestimate the considerable expertise that’s been gained in the last 18 months. Whilst tangible reward might still be some way off, you could, – and should – receive compliments and appreciation. It’s striking that your ability to work happily in partnership is to the fore in the second half of the week. It may be that this results in discussions about a potential business alliance. Obviously much depends on your personal chart, but it does seem that a fresh business union is more likely than not.

Gemini

Personal theme: I think!!

Air sign: May 21 — June 20

Your horoscope for this week:

When you’re in the mood, you’ve a contagious variety of enthusiasm. Over the past few days this hasn’t just been the case, but your optimism has led to breakthroughs in a range of plans, both personal and out in the world. What’s more, while others have been dragging their feet, they’re now as excited as you are. The challenge? Turning all that eagerness and enthusiasm into something lasting.

Choosing to take a new career path without discussing this with your family could cause tension in the home. Whether you hand in your notice in the hope of finding a better job or decide to pursue a completely different career, at least prepare those you live with. Let them know your intentions. Health will be good and you will have plenty energy to spare. Volunteer to help with a home improvement project.

Tuesday’s New Moon is in another of the Mutable signs – and it’s probable that you will tune into its vibration; and what exactly is that? This lunation is all about organisation and planning. The planetary pictures surrounding this New Moon look exciting too. It’s said that Gemini usually lives for the moment. This week though, playing for the long term should have greater appeal. It might also be that by taking a little time out, and considering strategy, that before the end of the week you discover an item or thought that has real value. This likely concerns someone who’s worked in a very large corporation, has excellent administration skills but perhaps lacks your extraordinary creativity. With attention drawn to asset management, another theme this week is about insurance and legacy.

Cancer

Personal theme: I feel!!

Water & cardinal sign: June 21 — July 22

Your horoscope for this week:

The New Moon is Tuesday. While often this triggers a reflective mood, at the moment you’re restless. That’s appropriate, because this period is about questioning, if not eliminating, what doesn’t work and focusing on future plans. However, with things moving so swiftly, you’re short of facts. The secret? Regard whatever you organise as more of a trial run than anything lasting. Decisions can, and should, wait.

You could do with a change of scenery but this might be easier said than done. Commitments keep you tied to your own four walls. If you can’t get away, find a way to occupy yourself with activities you do only on rare occasions. A change of activity can be uplifting. Bargains can be found if you’re shopping for your home. Don’t be in a rush. Spend time searching for the right item.

New Moons promise a fresh start. Tuesday’s is special in that it coincides with major – and positive – planetary aspects. This Virgo New Moon could be termed the ‘efficiency or administration’ lunation. All signs will likely be focused on both retrieving information and packaging it usefully. This is an energy on which you could and should thrive. True, you may find increased activity at home with others anxious to pick your brain. You might also be involved in renovation projects. Nowhere could this be more applicable than in the working scene where reviving an old system might now seem attractive. It’s not the case that an old system can be worked as it was employed in the past, but rather that there are elements of it – once discarded – which could now be revived but used differently. In all this, general excitement may be such that you enjoy developing new business alliances. considerable time.

Leo

Personal theme: I will!!

Fire & fixed sign: July 23 — August 22

Your horoscope for this week:

Few things annoy you more than when dull practicalities, from money to time, prevent you taking promising plans to the next stage. However, the matters in question don’t just need attention, what you learn while dealing with them will be informative now and, equally, offer valuable insights for the future. So, tempting as it is to ignore these, plunge in. What you learn will be invaluable.

You will not have meant to take on more than you can chew. It is your inability to say no’ to friends that has put you in this position. The more you do for others, the more they seem to expect from you. People need to know there are limits and you must set them. You might want to push ahead in the hope of achieving a goal you set for yourself some time ago. Channel energy into family matters.

As you are no doubt learning, nothing is ever simple. The challenge of 2021 as Saturn moves at right angles to Uranus has been to accept the inevitable. Change cannot be avoided and we cannot go back to the past. The way forward is as yet unclear. For Leo it might seem that every path is overgrown with thorny branches. What’s needed is immense energy and determination to cut through. That though could come following Tuesday’s New Moon. You will of course, need good tools at your disposal. You will likely also need assistance. Step forward (hopefully!), Cancer or Libra friends and colleagues who, in their different ways, energise you and assist in cutting through nonsense. Though considerable effort will likely be required, this should be worthwhile so that before long you are inhabiting an altogether healthier environment.

Virgo

Personal theme: I analyse!!

Earth sign: August 23 — September 22

Your horoscope for this week:

Don’t be surprised if you’re full of ideas, yet unable to decide what, or who, comes first. Between now and Tuesday’s Virgo New Moon, it’s natural that you’d be reviewing the past, and what needs to go, all while exploring your options. It could seem overwhelming. The secret? Urgent as things seem, you’ve plenty of time. Take it slowly and you’ll make decisions once, and wisely.

An older relative has plenty to say about a recent incident. You may not take too kindly to their interference. Their advice will be well meaning but it won’t sound very kind or compassionate to you. Concern other people are showing is sincere even if their words are harsh and seem critical. You accept there are people against decisions you are making. Weighing it all up helps you make a fair choice.

Tuesday’s New Moon is in your sign. Whatever your birthday, this lunation is important. The fact that it coincides with two fabulous aspects suggests you could get this week off to one amazing start. It helps hugely that there is an aspect involving the Sun (moving through your sign) and Uranus, the planet of the unexpected. Before the end of this week your world could shift in the most positive of directions. It will certainly help to think that way. Yours is a sign that focuses on minutiae. It is important that every so often you take a step back and take the long view. That should be your gift to yourself this week. For many Virgos, property and asset management is becoming an ever-demanding theme. Obviously much depends on your personal chart, but it’s nevertheless likely that over the next few days you’ll be offered fresh perspective and, even before the weekend, have a new project to get your teeth into.

Libra

Personal theme: I balance!!

Air & cardinal sign: September 23 — October 22

Your horoscope for this week:

As a Libra, you’ve a rare talent for keeping others happy while looking after your own interests. However, between tricky circumstances and numerous sudden changes, even you are facing difficulties and, in some cases, very real clashes. Tempting as it is to smooth over issues, do something out of character. Discuss them now, and frankly. The results will be faster and easier than you imagined possible.

Why should you feel guilty about putting your own needs first? Everyone deserves a little time to relax and it is time for you to start thinking about your health. In addition to this, some time away from the workplace means you get to see a career related problem from a different angle. If there is something on your mind, find the courage to insist you are left alone to do some thinking.

Boosted by the presence of both Mercury and Venus moving through your sign and with Tuesday’s new Moon accenting the need to improve work life balance, you could tackle tasks that have been outstanding. This would include financial management but also personal fitness. Don’t be surprised if you notice that your tastebuds are significantly altered or if you feel inspired to exercise muscles much under-used. It may be that you crave certain tastes and that unconsciously you’re actually seeking out the very vitamins and minerals that would improve your mental health and thus your ability to make decisions. It might also be that muscle cramps remind you of the need to look after yourself better. It’s probable that before Venus changes signs next weekend, that a business partnership axis will shift too. Overall, the need to improve your well-being at every level should be prioritised.

Scorpio & Ophiuchus

Personal theme: I desire!!

Water & fixed signs: October 23 — November 21

Your horoscope for this week:

No sign is better at handling even very tricky matters cleverly, enough you convince others you’re favouring their interests. However, the current planetary disarray seems overwhelming. The secret? It’s to forget about single, lasting solutions and rethink your strategy daily. This also means being tactful with those who’re expecting far-reaching plans. Find that balance, and you’ll handle each day’s twists and turns with magical deftness.

Think before you speak. Take a sensible approach to meetings and interviews. Consider how other people might react before you state your own opinions and think about how you should respond to people in authority. Someone in power expects respect so even if you dislike what they are doing, don’t tell them. Members of your family are the ones you will feel most comfortable with now. You can be yourself when you are with them.

Tidying up: perhaps not your greatest suit! Yet with Tuesday’s New Moon, that really could be your best option. The fact that this lunation coincides with a fabulous aspect between your two ruling planets, Mars and Pluto, suggests you will be in the mood to get on with the job. You might also accept that for real progress to be made, you need to make way for it. That is likely to be literal: perhaps you need to create a better path to the front door or improve lines of communication generally. With another fabulous aspect also in play – one that involves Uranus, (the planet of the unexpected) now moving through your opposite sign, you could yet be taken away unawares by the antics of someone you thought you knew so well (likely a Leo or Aquarius). The shift in their thinking could have significant effect on your own. Career steps tend to be incremental. What you determine by the end of this week should make such a huge difference once the lunar nodes move toward the Taurus/Scorpio axis at the end of the year.

Sagittarius

Personal theme: I see!!

Fire sign: November 22 — December 21

Your horoscope for this week:

As an inquisitive Sagittarius, often you’ll get involved in others’ discussions and, sometimes, planning sessions, as suddenly as it is surprising. While, often, this leads to exciting and, on occasion, adventurous activities, at the moment you’ve other more pressing matters to deal with. True, they’re not nearly as interesting; but they are far more important and, however intriguing those distractions, those practicalities really must come first.

A friend who has always been amazingly intuitive will suggest you take up an offer before it passes you by. You’re still uncertain but since their advice has always been good up until now you might decide to give their suggestions a go. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. You have a choice between catching up with mundane matters and pursuing personal goals of a long-term nature. The latter will give you more satisfaction.

You might agree that it’s more than time since you put best foot forward. Tuesday’s new Moon of ushers in fresh vibration and, since it accents your mission point suggests you will determine new goals. The fact that both Mercury and Venus are moving through one of the social areas of your solar chart suggests it might not be too hard to get a small army of support behind you. Most signs will benefit from taking fresh look at general administration and organisation. Sagittarius has a reputation for being at times careless and cavalier. This is likely not the time to be so. Whilst you’re certainly want to make your interest and curiosities known, it’s as important that you convey realisation that a steady approach would be wise. Nowhere might this be more important than with regard to health issues. Ensuring you are fighting fit and ready for greater challenges this month and next would be wise.

Capricorn

Personal theme: I use!!

Earth & cardinal sign: December 22 — January 19

Your horoscope for this week:

There’s talk of intriguing new activities. While they’re appealing, you’re anxious because you’re unsure what they’d demand of you, involve or, practically speaking, exactly how you’d benefit. There’s only one way to learn those facts, and that’s by getting involved. The trick? Recognising that, by exploring in this way, you’re not committing. Once that’s clear, those anxieties are likely to vanish, within days if not hours.

You know it isn’t sensible to allow emotions to interfere with your work concerns. It isn’t easy to switch off your feelings especially when someone you work with is making you very angry. Their careless approach to a job you’re working on jointly will reflect badly on you unless you say something soon. If a partner or someone who is equally as close tries to interfere with your plans, at least listen to their ideas and suggestions.

The theory is that New Moons promise a fresh start. That’s often the case. It helps if that lunation is boosted by accompanying planetary aspects – as occurs this Tuesday. You’ll be far from the only sign anxious to begin anew. In your case, there is heavy emphasis on learning and acquiring better information. This could take you down a technical rabbit hole but one that is enticing and compelling. It may be that one short course leads to another and then to another. Don’t forget that in the last few years your creative abilities have been stifled somewhat by Saturn’s transit of your sign. It’s now time to once again find enthusiasm for work. With fresh faces around and a general shakeup of the working environment now inevitable, this week should find you launching into an educational program that expands your social world as much as it does your CV.

Aquarius

Personal theme: I know!!

Air & fixed sign: January 20 — February 18

Your horoscope for this week:

While you benefit from an inquisitive mind, and enjoy meeting interesting people and exploring new places, you can also be a creature of habit. By that is meant you’ll battle even minor changes in elements of your lifestyle or even close alliances. Try to be flexible. These shake-ups won’t just lead to worthwhile changes, if not encounters, they could transform your life, and in amazing ways.

Those in high places are impressed by your dedication and commitment. You’ve been awarded a plum assignment and you intend to prove to everyone you are capable of completing the task efficiently. If you’re planning a celebration, whether it is for family or your community you will want to make certain everyone has a wonderful time. This could be one of the biggest occasions on your calendar this September.

Aquarius can be the most organised of people. Yet you can look distracted and appear chaotic. Blending these two sides of your personality isn’t always easy. Yet with Tuesday’s New Moon, you will likely show that more efficient side. In fact, you could trail blaze. It may be that you’re recalled to a task you last addressed a couple of months ago (maybe around the June solar eclipse). Things may have become chaotic since then and others need you to resolve issues. That may be as true at the mental as well as the physical tidying up level. It could be that a dilemma affecting an entire group needs your perspective and logical, rational approach. This isn’t to say that you won’t be affected by others people’s clearly passionate feelings, but that gift for staying focused on improving things ensures clean transition to using new schedules.

Pisces

Personal theme: I believe!!

Water sign: February 19 — March 20

Your horoscope for this week:

Those around you aren’t just in a hurry, they’re impatient about turning certain ideas into lasting plans. While you understand their feelings of urgency, you’ve several matters of your own to consider; and judging by the planetary setup, that clarity is unlikely to come until next week. The solution? Simply tell others they’ll have to wait until you’ve the facts necessary to make those pivotal decisions.

Your family will welcome your help with domestic chores. You don’t mind rolling up your sleeves and getting jobs done. Are you single? A first date may not go as expected. If you have a steady partner, they may ask to postpone joint arrangements you had been excited about. It’s unlikely you will make it easy for them which suggests plans will go ahead as you had originally discussed but somehow it just won’t feel right.

Tuesday’s new Moon is in your opposite sign. It won’t be surprising if others push you to get things done. This is a special lunation in that it coincides with several very positive aspects. Most signs will want to put a fresh foot forward. The impetus to do so could come from a deep-seated urge to be more organised and to try out new systems. The danger for Pisces is, as always, that you can see so many ways of doing things. You’re capable of coping with multiple perspectives. That is both a blessing and a curse. Those who need to work within straight lines could find your approach confusing and even at times wild. Leo and Aquarius colleagues particularly may find you challenging. On the very considerable upside however, and with one of your ruling planets Jupiter, moving into positive aspect with Pluto the God of Wealth, by the end of this week you could make a minor investment that makes clear you’ve been on the case all along.

Home Page: https://groups.io/g/CelestialPrognostication

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Every Day is Earth Day! Love Your Mother!

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Goddess Blessings!

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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

By GrannyMoon Posted in Pagan

GrannyMoon’s Weekly Feast: 29 Aug 2021

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

Today’s Affirmation:

I choose to adapt to the circumstances in which I find myself.

I choose to be flexible in my dealings with those around me.

I understand that my way is not the only way –

that inner peace comes from respecting the ways of others,

and that, if I am open, I may gain great insights and happiness

from the ideas and traditions of others.

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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September

The name “September” comes from an old Roman word, “septem,” which actually means 7. That’s right – September was the seventh month of the year on the Roman calendar – It did not become the ninth month until the advent of the Gregorian calendar. 2. The Romans believed that September was looked after by the God of Fire.

Goddess Month of Hesperus runs from 8/9 – 9/5

Celtic Tree Calendar: Hazel Moon: August 5 – September 1

THE CURRENT MOON PHASE: WANING MOON

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

Goddess Aspect: Crone

Associated Goddesses: Cailleach, 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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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 May Also Be Interested In:

http://goddessschool.com/Paganstudies/healingarts.html

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Learn About Herbs with GrannyMoon!

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.

http://goddessschool.com/Paganstudies/healingarts.html

The cost for Level 1 is $50.00 or the entire Healing Arts Course (1-3) for $150.00, which includes a free Reiki certification course when all three are ordered!

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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 (www.Goddessschool.com) has grown into a large and beautiful global community of women.

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

Find Your Destiny with World Magic

What do you want to be when you grow up? This question is as nerve-racking at the age of 5 as it is at the age of 35, and really, who totally grows up? With this month in energetic Leo, discovering your destiny is powered up by your sense of self-worth.

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Llewellyn’s Spell A Day

Mend a Broken Heart

AUGUST 29, 2021 BY SAPPHIRE MOONBEAM

How do you mend a broken heart? How do you know where to start? The best thing to do is to start working on yourself.

Gather some rose quartz crystals. The raw crystals are fine. In fact, they tend to have better energy than tumbled stones and crystals.

Sit in a cross-legged position or lie on the floor and get comfortable. Place the crystals around you in a circle pattern. Close your eyes and take several cleansing breaths. Concentrate on your heart and repeat these words as many times as needed:

I love myself, I will be good to me,

I fill my heart with love to set it free.

After crying the tears from

my broken heart,

I will begin again with

a brand-new start.

Love and peace begin with me,

My heart will mend, blessed be!

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Charge Your Batteries

AUGUST 28, 2021 BY DALLAS JENNIFER COBB

The last weekend of August is a great time to get outside. Can you take the day to go to a lake, river, stream, or ocean? Or visit a forest, mountain, or park? With recent attention to what is called nature deficit disorder, there is more and more research documenting the positive effects of nature on the human psyche and body.

While many of us live in cities, we can still find parkland, ravines, and cemeteries with large swatches of nature, wilderness, and greenery for us to connect to the sacred elements.

Take your lunch, a blanket, and a book. Lie down on the ground. (Earth.)

Breathe deeply. (Air.)

Feel the sun on your face or arms. (Fire.)

Wade, swim, or dip. (Water.)

Throughout the day, monitor the shift in your personal energy. Observe the positive effects of nature as it raises your vibration and charges your batteries. (Spirit.)

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A Self-Love Letter

AUGUST 27, 2021 BY THORN MOONEY

Fridays are associated with the Norse goddess Freya, who rules over battle but also love and sexuality. Whether or not you’re in a relationship, it’s always worth taking time to practice a little self-love.

Today, write yourself a love letter to save for when you’re feeling down and need a boost of confidence. You may write this in any form you choose, but it’s important that you be specific. Describe the qualities you like best about yourself. List the things you’ve overcome or accomplished, and offer yourself praise. Imagine the future and all of the things you hope for yourself, then encourage your future self to achieve those dreams. Address your letter to your future self from your past self. When you’re done, seal your letter in an envelope addressed to you and say:

Sealed with love from me to me,

Kept for when it’s time to see.

If I should feel lost or hurt,

Remind me of my own self-worth.

Keep your letter somewhere safe and open it when you need a boost

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Sunflower Seed Divination

AUGUST 26, 2021 BY KATE FREULER

Here is an easy divination method using sunflower seeds to get an answer to a simple yes-no question.

You will need a stick for drawing on the ground and some sunflower seeds. Gather the same number of seeds as your current age.

Use the stick to draw a line about a yard long on the ground. On the right side of the line, carve the word “yes,” and on the left side write “no.” Now turn your back on the line, and stand with it directly behind you, with one end at your feet.

Hold the sunflower seeds in both hands and ask your question.

Throw them back over your head and let them land where they may. Turn around and count how many landed on each side of the line. The side with the most seeds is your answer.

If you do this in a rural or private setting, you can leave the seeds for the wildlife to eat. Otherwise clean them up.

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Boost a Spell

AUGUST 25, 2021 BY EMBER GRANT

When you’re waiting for a spell to manifest, give it a boost with this simple chant. Visualize things falling into place and burn some incense as you focus your intent on the original spell. Say:

I understand these things take time,

As the pieces fall in line.

To ensure success is mine,

Reinforce it with this rhyme.

Repeat these words anytime you find yourself thinking about your goal and you feel restless waiting for the results.

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Gifts for the Faeries

AUGUST 24, 2021 BY DEBORAH BLAKE

No one really knows what faeries are, other than that they almost certainly aren’t the cute little winged creatures you see in a Disney movie. Most Witches believe that they are a form of elemental. Just because most of us never see one doesn’t mean they aren’t there. The fae, or fair folk, as they are sometimes called, should always be treated with respect and just a bit of caution. It never hurts to try to make friends with them. The summer, when flowers are blooming, is the perfect time to do this.

Find a spot in your yard or a park or field that looks like it might be a place that faeries would like, and bring them a gift. It is said that they like flowers, honey, mead, milk, and shiny things. Set down whatever gift you have brought, back away a few paces, and say:

A gift for the faeries, lovely and wise.

May it bring me favor in your eyes.

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Harness the Power of Virgo

AUGUST 23, 2021 BY DEVIN HUNTER

As you probably already know, the sun is now in Virgo! This season is a month-long celebration of sassiness, organization, and accomplishing big goals. Even if you aren’t a Virgo, you can still tap into this energy at any time. Here is a spell that will allow you to do just that.

Take a piece of carnelian, citrine, moss agate, or jade and charge it in the sun all afternoon. Just before the sun goes down, take the stone in your hands, kiss it, and say:

Warmed by the burning sun,

charged by the will of one.

Channel the Virgo vibration, solid

and strong regardless of the station!

Keep the stone with you or on your altar, and use it in your workings when you need a bit of extra juju over the next month.

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Heartwings Love Notes 997 A Place for everything

Heartwings says, “Good habits developed early can last as long as we do if they help.”

The most potent influence on someone’s character and behavior may come quite early in life. It helps us to develop habits that may endure all of our lives. I believe my lifelong desire for order and tidiness evolved from the teachings of an early influence in my life, from my nurse, Emily. Emily, a very loving and tender caretaker who came into my life when I was quite young, although I am not sure exactly when.

I believe she became a member of our family when I was around two and stayed until I was eight and a half. She was a practical nurse. What that meant was that rather than work in a hospital with medical staff, she helped my mother as well as took care of me. Among other things she was a kind of built-in baby sitter, and she also did tasks like laundry, ironing, and sometimes ran errands. She was a wonderful companion for me.

She taught me many lessons. One of them, that has stuck to this day, is that it was important to put things away and to have a consistent place to do that. In my life since this has saved me from having to spend many hours looking for things that otherwise might have been misplaced, or seemingly lost. For instance, I have a couple of locations where I keep my eyeglasses. When I need them, there they are.

I do find it frustrating when on rare occasions things are not where they are supposed to be. Occasionally I get distracted at a crucial moment and do not follow my usual protocol. Those times, however are rare. There are also times when items simply disappear and are nowhere to be found. They then reappear days or occasionally even later in some obvious place where I have looked many times.

This happened to me once with a garage door opener. It vanished for so long we replaced it. Then one day I opened the door of the car on the passenger side and there it sat on the floor, plain as day. Where it had been all those many weeks is a mystery. There have been other items that have done that as well. Sometimes I think they may have temporarily fallen into another dimension or entered a time warp.

I am very grateful to Emily for all the wonderful gifts she gave me in her time with me and my family. If it hadn’t been for her I would not be the person that I am today.

May you find places to put things that helps you to find them easily.

Blessings and best regards, Tasha Halpert

PS Is there someone in your life who taught you helpful habits? Please share, I so enjoy hearing reader’s stories and will always respond, sooner or later. Please write to me at Tashahal@aol.com and do visit my web pages at www.heartwingsandfriends.com for more love notes and other things as well.

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Stones and Crystals

Join GrannyMoon in a face-to-face the Magick of Stones and Crystal Class on the 3rd Sunday of every month.

12PM – https://www.meetup.com/OrderoftheBlackHat/events/ 

“Eagle Eye” Pietersite

Pietersite, also called “eagle’s eye,” was named in honor of Sid Pieters who discovered it in 1962 in Namibia, Africa. Pietersite is a trade name for a dark blue-grey breccia aggregate made up mainly of hawk’s eye and tigereye. It is a variety of chalcedony (itself a variety of quartz) with embedded fibers of amphibole minerals in varying degrees of alteration. The fibers cause a blue chatoyancy like that seen in tigereye.

Because its swirling colors resemble a storm, pietersite is known as tempest stone. Pietersite is said to center on the spiritual being with the ability to ground an individual to the etheric body–the first or lowest layer in the “human energy field” or aura. Pietersite discharges negative energies and emotional turmoil while cleansing the aura, restoring it to calm. Pietersite is thought to work with the body during meditation, rapidly moving into a higher state of awareness. Pietersite is believed to be a stone of vision and can be used for a vision quest or shaman journey.

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The Journey of Finding a Relationship

The journey to finding a relationship is just that, a journey that uses all of our life wisdom and experiences.

Before we embark upon the journey of finding the relationship that is right for us, we may want to take the opportunity to refine our concept of who we are and our ideas of what we want from life. That way, we are clearer on the kind of person we want to attract into our lives. Part of the journey of finding a mate is learning how to become our own mate. When we can learn to meet our needs without relying on someone else to complete us, we don’t have to form relationships from the space of needing our emptiness to be filled. We can also discover our intrinsic value, separate from what someone else might be reflecting back to us. Getting to know who we are and learning to love ourselves creates a solid foundation of self that we can bring to any relationship.

We are fortunate to live in a time when relationships can unfold at a pace that is right for us and take unique forms. Friendship, dating, open relationships, long term relationships, long distance relationships, or committed relationships — we are free to choose the kind of relationships that we want. If you want to be in relationship, but haven’t found the right one for you, remember that the universe works in perfect order and, therefore, right now your life is unfolding exactly as it is meant to be. Maybe all this time has been part of your preparation period for meeting your intended partner. Even the relationships in our lives that haven’t worked out as we had hoped serve us by teaching us to make better choices in our next relationships.

Finding the relationship we want can come early or later in life. It may even happen again and again in one lifetime. There is no right or wrong for how to find a relationship nor is there a timeline that you have to follow. Follow your heart, listen to your inner voice, continue to become your own soul mate, and stay open to love. The journey of finding the right relationship begins with being in right relationship with yourself. 

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Feeling Stressed Out? Try Passionflower

Derived from Passiflora incarnate, a plant native to the southeastern United States, passionflower preparations are calming without being sedating. It is also commonly used to address over-stimulating stress and anxiety, offering a calming solution. This plant can be especially helpful when trying to cram for exams, reach time-sensitive deadlines at work, or need gentle sleep support.

Obviously, as our world continues to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, finding opportunities to calm yourself becomes essential. This herbal support should be paired with taking time to press pause in your day, do a bit of relaxation breathing, and bring yourself into balance. While providing some internal peace, breathing exercises will allow your immune system to be at its best as well.

Passionflower products are available as supplements and tinctures, as a tea, and even as a topical application that can be used to address inflammation and burns.

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Wild Food Profile: Yellow Dock (Rumex Crispus) Seed Flour & Yellow Dock Pancake Recipe

by Dana

This past month, I had a chance to visit Silver Acres, my friend’s 5-acre farm in the thumb of Michigan, where she is practicing rewilding, restoration agriculture, and permaculture.  We were walking through her field and found a good deal of yellow dock that was in seed form–which for the Midwest US, usually happens around Lughnasadh (August 1st) and continues to the Fall Equinox.  While I’ve eaten the young leaves and used the roots as medicine, I haven’t had a chance to try making any seed flour yet–so we set about our task joyfully.  I’m quite impressed by how easy this flour is to make (compared to say, acorn flour) and it cuts nicely with other flours.

Foraging for wild foods is not only a fantastic way to connect deeply with the land but also allows us to reconnect with our ancient ancestral lifeways.  It allows us to connect deeply with the land and bring some of that energy into our own lives.

Yellow Dock Ecology and Foraging

Yellow Dock (Rumex Crispus) is in the buckwheat family, which is part of why she makes a nice flour!   Yellow dock is also known as Curly Dock or Narrowleaf Dock. Yellow Dock is a first-aid responder plant, an opportunistic plant that can quickly spread to new areas after a disruption. Thus, you will often find her growing in areas that have poor soil, have recently been disrupted (such as construction sites), or other places where the land was recently disturbed.  As part of her ecological function, she begins to break up compacted soil with her deep taproot. One of the reasons it’s good to learn how to eat and make medicine of yellow dock in all of her forms is that she is considered an “invasive” weed in the USA, and thus, ethically-based foraging is a wonderful way to keep this plant in check.

Yellow Docks are perennial plants that can, when mature, produce up to 40,000 seeds per year.  The seeds can stay in the ground for up to 50 years, and when the opportunity arises, the yellow dock will arise from the soil!  This is how they are able to so quickly colonize disturbed areas.

Once you find a patch of yellow dock, you can return to it over and over again for food and medicine.  The seeds persist on the plants into the winter and slowly drop as winter turns to spring. The easiest time to spot them is after the seeds have turned to a beautiful rust-brown and dried (usually by mid-August here in Pennsylvania). Thus, you have a fairly long harvest window with regards to the seeds. Each year, Yellow Dock also produces curled leaves (see photos) which are fairly palatable when young (cook in several changes of water).

The very good news in terms of foraging ethics is that because Yellow Dock is considered invasive and can be found in abundance almost everywhere, you can harvest as much yellow dock seeds as you want for flour.  A few hours of harvesting and processing can yield considerable amounts of very easy-to-process flour!  I still recommend that you seek permission from the plants and offer gratitude if you have permission to harvest.  I have found it is easiest to harvest these with a basket or paperback.  Just snap off or cut the mature seed stalk and place them into a bag.

Harvest the seed heads when they are dry for the best flour. If you have to harvest them wet, let them sit out in the sun until fully dry.  It is hard to strip them from the stalks when they are wet.

Preparing Yellow Dock Flour

Yellow Dock flour has three major steps for preparation: remove seed heads from the stalk; toast seed heads on the stove or in the oven; and then grind them in a coffee grinder, mortar, and pestle, or magic bullet.  I’ll walk you through each step.

I will note here that some foraging books say Yellow Dock Seed is not worth harvesting because it’s impossible to separate the seeds from the chaff (the seed casing).  But in the case of Yellow Dock, you simply grind everything up together.

Remove seed heads from the stalk. Once you have harvested, find a nice place outside to sit and strip the seed heads by hand into a large bowl or another vessel. Return the stalks to the land (somewhere where you want yellow dock to come up, as there are likely seeds remaining!).  I suggest doing this outside because it is a messy job!

Toast the seeds.  The next step is to toast the seeds.  You can do this on the stovetop in an iron skillet- just add a few handfuls of seeds, stir them till you hear popping, and then remove from heat and do the next batch. Alternatively, you can roast them in the oven for 5 minutes at 350.  You’ll see a difference in both the color and smell of the seeds. This step is really worth it as it produces a much better-tasting flour!

Beautiful ready-to-enjoy Yellow Dock Flour

Grind the seeds. Using a Vitamix, magic bullet, coffee grinder, or mortar and pestle, grind the seeds in small batches.  You will want to work to get as fine of a grind as possible on your flour.  You’ll end up with something looking like the photo on the right!

Storage: Like other wild flours, this has about a six-month shelf life. You can extend the shelf life by freezing it (where it will stay good up to two years.

Recipes

There are few things to know about Yellow Dock flour. First, Yellow Dock flour does not contain any gluten, so it will produce a much “flatter” bread than wheat flours, which you should keep in mind when using it.  When it is cooked on its own, it has a bitterness that can be a bit unpalatable (e.g. straight yellow dock flour) so I recommend using it in combination with another flour (use 25% or 50% yellow dock).  The bitterness is considerably lessened into something quite delicious when you add some sweetness.  I don’t find that it has a particularly strong taste but rather will take on the taste of the other ingredients (like acorn flour).

Yellow Dock Pancakes

I adapted my acorn pancake recipe for use with Yellow Dock, and it works great!

1 cup yellow dock flour

1 cup other flour (white, wheat, or GF)

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 eggs (duck eggs if you can get them!)

1/4 cup of oil or butter

2 cups milk

1/3 cup sweetener (I use maple syrup, you can also use sugar or honey)

This recipe makes about 12 pancakes.

Combine all dry ingredients then add wet ingredients slowly and stir till well mixed. Dock seeds can tend to absorb moisture, so check to see if its too thick– if so, add more milk. If it’s too runny, add a little more flour.  Prepare a griddle, allowing it to heat up. Check your heat by putting a tiny bit of batter on the griddle and seeing how it does and then adjust your heat accordingly.  Lightly oil your griddle (butter, olive oil, bacon grease) and then pour out pancakes using a 1/2 cup measuring cup.  Cook on one side for 2-3 minutes, until you see bubbles rising through.  Flip and cook another 1-2 minutes.  Serve hot with fresh jam, maple syrup, and butter.  You can freeze the leftovers.

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Ghost Hunting Theories

Fictional Television Characters That Inspired Future Paranormal Investigators

Posted: 29 Aug 2021 02:00 AM PDT

Sometimes, all it takes as a kid is to see someone doing something that so intrigues you, you park it in the back of your mind until you’re an adult. When you can make your own choices for hobbies and interests, you might file through that best-of reel and recall something that has always interested you. For those of us in paranormal research, our muses might have been some interesting minds in the TV and movie realm who made uncovering mysteries look, well, downright creepy cool!

Scooby Doo Gang

Children of the 70s were first introduced to the Scooby Doo Gang in 1970. It ran the majority of the decade and went into permanent syndication for future generations to get hooked on the spooky jazzy music, the frightened dog and his owner, the brainy girl, the leader guy, and the redhead as they tried to solve unexplained mysteries. They poked around dark mansions and freaky forests and all kinds of scary locations and we waited for them to shake ghosts out of the dusty drapes, only to find that the cases were explained by very human means. And then they trapped the crook.

This was really a first debunking team we had seen growing up and they set the stage for us thinking that perhaps there is something going on that is explainable. We were usually disappointed when they found out the butler or someone did it. But, they left us with plenty of hints that maybe there really are ghosts and yeti and other unexplained things, only not responsible for the crime that occurred.

The idea of some friends piling into a van to solve a mystery was enough to get most of us kids excited about driver’s licenses and poking around in the dark, even when we’re scared

SCOOBY DOO TRIVIA: Velma’s famous line, “My glasses; I can’t see without them!” was not originally scripted for the show. During a table read for the voice artists, Velma’s voice-over actress Nicole Jaffe, who was near-sighted as well, lost her glasses and uttered a variation of what became Velma’s famous catchphrase. The writers liked the line so much that Velma losing her glasses became one of the show’s trademark gags. Velma loses her glasses in the first episode, Scooby Doo, Where Are You!: What a Night for a Knight (1969), but the actual line is first spoken in Scooby Doo, Where Are You!: Decoy for a Dognapper (1969).

Carl Kolchak

“Kolchak: The Night Stalker” was a very short-lived series in the 1970s, but it created a huge influence on a generation of kids and teens.

Carl Kolchak was an underpaid and overabused reporter who had a knack for being in the right place and the right time for coming across the unexplained. With his trusty camera and nosy personality, he managed to get himself right in the middle of threat from dangerous entities and an bellicose editor at the newspaper.

Kolchak was bumbling but persistent. That persistence taught us a lot about pushing past fear and darkness to find the truth. And, he didn’t even need a sidekick, unless you count his cheap straw hat.

KOLCHAK: THE NIGHT STALKER TRIVIA: (LINK)

The series was cancelled because Darren McGavin asked to be released from his contract. He became disappointed with the series’ scripts and was exhausted from his uncredited producing duties. Three scripts were left unproduced. Two of them were adapted into a “Kolchak” series of comic books in 2003.

Mulder and Scully

“X-Files” show began in 1993 and went almost a decade. It left a devoted audience beyond measure. It involved conspiracy theories, monsters, aliens, and unexplained miracles. No matter what the subject, we were hooked on the two investigators; a skeptical doctor (Dana Scully) and a hopeful believer (Fox Mulder).

These FBI investigators pulled out cold cases and unexplained happenings around the country and went out to investigate, trying hard to balance disbelief with humbling admissions they had no clue what or how things were going on.

Most of us itched to have a hard file we could caress to learn all about prior investigations, to go to the site, to talk to witnesses, and to have resources available to uncover secrets. It behooves us as investigators today to keep a few skeptics on the team, a few science-minded folks, and a couple of open-minded believers.

Ghostbusters

The 1980s hit movie “Ghostbusters” was just gol-darned fun, but what was really fun was the child-like way the team got a neat-o firehouse and hearse and dolled them up and started an official team with shirts and all! Most ghost hunting teams today have to say that being part of a team that is called in to deal with ghosts is as ghostbusters as you can get.

Ghostbusters Trivia: (LINK) The party scene where Louis Tully (Rick Moranis) mingles with his party guests (commenting on the price of the salmon, and so on) is not only taken in one continuous shot, but is almost entirely improvised.

MOVIES WITH PARANORMAL INVESTIGATING

The Amityville Horror

The Changeling

The Haunting

The Legend of Hell House

The Entity

Poltergeist

The Conjuring

Ghostbusters

Kolchak the Night Stalker – Complete Series

My Clown Horror Short Story – Enjoy!

This is a short story by me. It’s about a widow with panic attacks sent by her therapist to the carnival to overcome her fears. Enjoy the twist ending! My over two dozen published books can be found – HERE.

“Your assignment is to go out and do one thing alone this week. Shopping doesn’t count. You have to actually go to a place made for recreation and be seen alone. It can be a restaurant, a museum, whatever sounds good. But,” Ruth’s therapist leaned forward in emphasis, “it must be some place you would never normally go with or without someone. You need novelty.”

Ruth clenched her fingers into her purse on her lap. “You mean like going to a car show or something like that?” She must have made a look of disgust because Jeremy laughed.

         “Yes. Something like that. What’s going on this weekend?” He asked and picked up a paper and started to shuffle through it.

         “I-I’ll find something.” She assured him.

         “Do you understand why we’re doing this, Ruth?” He asked as he remained behind the wall of newsprint.

         “To learn to be my own person?” She mumbled, always feeling like he was a teacher and she was the dimwitted student in class.

         “Aha!” He snapped the newspaper shut, a huge grin on his gaunt face. “There’s a carnival in town. That’s just the thing for you.”

         She felt her stomach flutter in response. She hated the sounds, the lights, the scary rides, the creepy workers, and the…clowns.

         “Do I have to go to that?” She asked.

         His face went grim as he leaned forward, his elbows on his knees. “Ruth, because of your reaction, I’m certain this is exactly what you should do. You go to the carnival and spend a good two hours. I expect you to leave there having found yourself.”

         “At a carnival?”

         Five hours later standing before the ticket booth with cash in hand, watching the couples and young families with small children rush through the dirt lot and point at the brightly lit noisy rides, Ruth checked her watch.

         I get to leave at 11.

         Feeling out of place by herself, she nervously skirted along the Tilt-A-Whirl ride where the smell of fresh vomit filled the air and gagged as she turned the corner and ran straight into her most hated fear.

         A clown!

         His silken billowy costume blew in the breeze, snapping like the sails on a ship. Ruth stumbled back, terrified he would touch her.

The clown pulled his mouth down to exaggerate the painted on frown. Above his pout, a red ball created his prosthetic nose. Beady dark eyes clashed with the white pancake makeup and tiny bowed eyebrows were sketched in to make him look perpetually perplexed. He had a blue teardrop on his cheek. His hair was a skullcap with red wiry protrusions coiling out each side of his head. Everything about him was big, bright, and loud.

         Instinctively, she stepped back again. He imitated her motion as if mocking her.

         Feeling like the frightened child she had once been at the circus, she raced off towards the restrooms and went inside. Within the stall, Ruth held her hands to the walls and gasped for her breath.

         Panic attack number one.

         The rush of numbness raced through her body like a tsunami. Her lips tingled, her heart pounded wildly and she beads of sweat dribbled down her spine.

         It’s just a man who’s paid to put on makeup and a silly outfit and big shoes and wander around the park to drum up business and festivity. He’s not coming after you, you big baby!

         Jeremy was right, if she sat through the panic attack and observed it and it rose and fell and then was over.  She didn’t die or go crazy.

         One accomplishment at a time.

Ruth straightened up her sweater and walked outside again, determined to pretend to be normal. She’d watched other people do many things alone like eating in restaurants and traveling and they looked very comfortable in their skin. She would just pretend she was one of those people who never thought twice about going anywhere they wanted, doing anything they desired.

         Deciding to firmly try and “find herself,” Ruth wandered over to the ring toss game and promptly ordered three sets of rings to toss. The other people around the display were tossing their rings to the bottles in the middle, laughing and cheering as they tried to win a prize. When she tossed the first ring, she smiled, feeling as if she were part of the crowd.

         Someone next to her said, “it’s a scam, you know. The way the bottles are lined up, you can’t land one.” He offered.

His friend elbowed him. “That’s not true, miss. You can do it. You just have to spin it. See?” He took his ring and spun it and it circled a bottleneck and then flung itself at the shifty man running the game.

         The men laughed and Ruth found herself joining them.

         “When you open yourself up to the world and join the living, Ruth, you will find you are alive and not dead with your husband, Ricky. He would want you to live again. You’re much too young to be buried with him.”

    Jeremy’s words had never been so true.

         Feeling more secure to try something on her own, she walked over to the Scrambler ride and gave the man her ticket. He clinked her into her little bench seat and she watched the entire carnival turn into a blur of red, blue, green, and white lights.

Ruth laughed as the wind caught her long hair and flapped it around her until she couldn’t see which way she was facing. The ride continued to slam the seats to the edges of its reach and then back again, around and around. The smells of the carnival went from nasty to sweet. Candy corn, funnel cakes, corn dogs filled the night air mixed with the distant wood smoke of a fall night.

Ruth closed her eyes and laughed joyously as she was slammed yet again in her seat to the limits of the ride’s scope. The tinny sounds of the music and the dinging of the muscle hammer attraction filled her ears.

When Ruth climbed down from the ride, her hair was a mess, her sweater askew, her walking unstable from the dizzying ride. And, she’d never felt so alive in the past two years!

         Ordering a huge ball of pink cotton candy that matched her sweater, she wound the tendrils around her finger and nibbled it off with childish delight.

Several men passed by her, watching her licking at her pink finger and looking sheepishly embarrassed for her delight. One even winked at her!

Feeling a flutter of life unfold within her chest, she sighed. She felt like a woman again. She felt like she was no longer invisible. She felt as if she were interacting with her surroundings instead of just cutting through them on her way to another place, never staying still long enough to make human interactions.

         Proud and contented, Ruth turned, holding her head up high, spine erect, she felt taller, more slender, more graceful. She smiled with her secret knowledge and then licked the sugar from her lips when she felt eyes upon her.

When Ruth turned her eyes caught the clown again. His arms were crossed over his massive chest and his dark eyes were focused on her, the painted frown seeming even more anguished than before. His expression reminded her of her own expression only a half-hour ago.

It was a childish threat, but she couldn’t help feeling uneasy that he’d noticed her out of all the people in the carnival and all the distractions. What did he want?

         She began a steady walk around the carnival grounds, nervously capturing glimpses of his red and white satin costume. Was he following her? She tried to zig-zag between the rides, but now she was absolutely certain he was chasing her. It sent a shiver down her spine to consider him getting any closer.

Without realizing it, Ruth approached the edge of the carnival. She stopped short and looked back to the clown standing not 20 feet away openly studying her.

         Heartbeat hastening, Ruth searched around for a safe harbor. She was at the Ferris wheel now, the last ride on the edge of the forest clearing. All Ruth’s progress in one evening was going to be ruined by the last vestiges of childhood fear rearing its head.

         Jeremy would tell her to go to the clown and have him engage her in some trickery, but the primitive part of her mind had taken over. Heart racing, palms sweating, she handed her last ticket to the ride attendant and rushed forward onto the bench seat.

         A whoosh beside her caught her attention as a blur of white and red climbed into the seat beside her. The attendant locked the bar in place.

         “Sir!” She screamed out. “We’re not together.”

         The attendant couldn’t hear her through the grinding of the gears as he moved her bucket up one and filled the next seat.

         The clown’s satiny fabric fluttered against her arm. She withdrew to her side of the bench and looked out into the dark forest, desperate to endure a few minutes of ride beside him.

         Trying not to look curious, she peeked cautiously at him. The clown was studying the distance as they continued up higher and higher until the last seat was filled and the ride could begin.

         Desperate for some sign of humanity about him, Ruth noted that he was Ricky’s size and had dark eyes like his. She bit her lip and turned away. This was not Ricky. This was a stranger. One who chose to spend his evenings behind makeup and a costume where he could know what everyone else was, but they would never know what he was.

         What is he?

         With a nagging inner voice, Ruth imagined what Jeremy would say. He’d prod her on about making the clown a real person and not a fictional character. He would tell her to take his teeth away as she had taken away the teeth of her panic attacks by enduring them and doing things in spite of them.

         “I know clowns aren’t supposed to speak, sir, but I was wondering. Why did you get on this ride with me?”

         He turned slowly and studied her with his black eyes.

         “You wanted to frighten me? You saw that I was scared, didn’t you?”

         He raised one of his thinly marked brows as if puzzled. The exaggerated pose was almost comical.

         “I’m really not scared of you.” She insisted firmly as the ride began its fast ascent and descent into the night sky. She could see in the glowing lights of the ride her own cowering figure in his dark eyes.

         He tilted his head to one side as if he didn’t buy it.

         “See.” She insisted, putting her hand on his. He remained still. She retracted.

“You’re just a man in a costume, right? I mean, I’m not a kid. Kids are scared of clowns. Adults know they’re just normal people wearing makeup.” She reached to touch the white of his face, but his hand caught hers.

         “I’m sorry.” She blushed excitedly. His hand was warm and by the scent and size of him, she could feel the powerful man he was beneath the costume. It made her mouth go dry.

         He guided her hand to his wide muscular thigh in his balloon-shaped pants. She could feel the muscles tighten at her touch. It was a male reaction, the same reaction that tightened his hip muscles and drew his groin into a pool of heat and throbbing ache when aroused. Curiously, she spread her fingers on the clown’s thigh, feeling the width of his leg, the silken fabric, and listening above the sounds of the carnival below.

         Realizing how wrong it was to touch a stranger’s leg, Ruth lifted her hand.

The clown looked at her.

She could tell by the corner of her eye, but she was childishly afraid to look at the face too long with its grossly exaggerated frown.

         His huge hand glided to her thigh, feeling her leg through her taut jeans. His hand was so big and powerful, so warm. His breathing caught.

         She looked up at his face cautiously, his eyes closed as he held her leg. He seemed to tremble inwardly. The ride jerked to a stop and she gasped. The clown’s hand lifted from her thigh leaving a hot place where it had rested.

         The attendant grasped their cart and steadied it, opening it up. The clown stepped out and walked down the plank and Ruth followed feeling unsure of what the usual interactions with ride attendants and civilians were.

When she got to the end of the ramp, he was gone.

         Certain she’d done more than enough for a night, Ruth wandered back towards the restrooms before leaving. Near the line of forest trees, she saw something bright. The clown. He was holding a balloon and his grotesquely painted face frowning perpetually.

         She looked around her and realized he was staring at her. She walked over to him, unsure what to say to a man who was sworn to silence.

         He held out his hand, giving her the balloon and she smiled at him.

“Thank you for helping me get over my fear of clowns.”

         She turned to leave, not sure what he wanted from her. His hand came down on her shoulder and she turned back, almost hoping he wanted something more. Perhaps another caressing touch. It had been so long since she’d been touched that way, she flushed with embarrassment that a clown had been the first one to reach out and connect with her physically.

         It is certainly a night of firsts.

         He leaned into her under the shadows of the trees. “You were frightened of me?” He whispered in a rusty voice that sounded as if it were barely ever used. “Are you now?”

         She shook her head, her body shivering with arousal at the husky timber of his voice.

“I am no longer afraid of you, either. Thank you for helping me overcome my fear of…humans.”  He confessed and then turned and strolled off into the crowd.

)0(

Gilberto Rides Again Chapter 16

by Stephen Halpert

Greenbush, North Carolina was the quintennial American small town. From the balcony of their hotel Gilberto and Maria looked out onto the town common, the brick façade of the Public Library, several white towered churches, a small cluster of narrow shops with strong Confederate overtones. Less than a half mile away was a filling station, a hardware store, a small high school and a modest three story, early twentieth century building housing Clay Calhoun Shoestrings. Above the building an old billboard read: Clay Calhoun Shoestrings for the Confederacy 1864.

Gilberto turned to Maria and frowned. “This feels more like a movie set than a town.”

Maria had changed into a silky robe. She grinned at him. “I hope we don’t get fat on Southern fried cooking.”

“What a horrible thing to suggest.”

“We’ll have to devote time to exercise, perhaps every morning and maybe at night too before we go to bed.”

“That could be fun.” He looked at her slyly. “What kind of exercise?”

She giggled. “Oh, you know the usual: pushups, leg lifts, stretching.”

He hugged her. “I had hoped for a different kind of exercise.”

She smiled. “What exactly might that be?”

“A trip to the moon,” he grinned.

She sighed. “I didn’t bring my gossamer wings.”

“We’ll manage. We’re meeting the others downstairs in the Jeb Stuart Tavern at six. That gives us better than an hour.”

She nodded. “I’ll need time to dress. By the way, be warned. Our daughter has become insistent on having her own cell phone.”

Gilberto frowned. “But she’s only ten!”

Maria nodded. “I know. I told her to talk to you about it when we get back.”

“Thanks. I guess we can pick her up one at the drug store.”

She said she wanted the same as Joey has.”

He frowned. “But that costs over a thousand dollars.”

“You’ll figure that out.”

“I will huh!” He kissed her, an encompassing kiss that made him want more.

She laughed and wriggled against him. “You know how to get me all flustered.”

They kissed again. She touched his cheek and said softly. “I pray you’ll never get tired of me.”

“Why would you even think something like that?”

She gazed up at him and fluttered her eyelids. “Nothing ever changes with you Gilberto. The minute we’re alone in a hotel no matter what time of day or night it’s like that first time we were together, over and over again.”

He nodded. ” What can I tell you. That way we keep each other young.” He lifted her and carried her to the bed. “I don’t want to spend a thousand dollars on a phone for a ten-year-old. That doesn’t seem right.”

She frowned. “Yes, I know.” Her hand pressed against the mattress. “Not the most comfortable bed I’ve ever sat on.”

He stretched out beside her. “You’re right. Maybe the mattress is stuffed with old shoestrings.”

“I hope it doesn’t do in your back.

He laughed, reached for her and they began seriously kissing.

The bedside phone chimed. Billy Buzz, Atlas’s CEO was on the line. “Gilberto, buddy. I don’t like their corporate counsel. He reminds me of a hanging judge at a Klan meeting. Worse some of their principles come on like dunderheads but under that bland Southern exterior, they’re downright ball busting shrewd.”

Gilberto sighed and then squirmed as Maria tickled him. “Maybe they want to keep their company and resent a hostile takeover.”

Buzz snickered. “A little late for that now, buddy. Keep your eye on their corporate counsel Colonel Cornelius Dimwittie. He’s slick as skid marks on an icy pavement.”

Gilberto frowned. Buzz was talking way too fast; not a good sign; was his blood pressure leaping off the charts?”

Gilberto shook his head at Maria. “I guess Sara’s got everything lined up.”

Buzz laughed. “She’s sweettalking Dimwittie. It’ll be the death of me, but we’ll get this merger nailed down in time for me to get my space flights, up, up and away.”

Gilberto laughed. “And Atlas will start making deliveries on the moon?”

Buzz chuckled. “You got it Gilberto. “We’ll have our own fleet of space stations; each with a honeymoon suite for the rich and famous. Outer space, Brave new planetary world. But I’ll tell you whoever gets those settlements in place first,” he paused. “Where the hell are my antacid tablets.” Gilberto heard rattling noises. “Ok, you and that hot wife of yours be ready for this dinner and signage ceremony. Over and out.” The call ended. Gilberto sighed.

“All is well with the Atlas CEO?” Maria’s asked.

He grinned. “Yes, but no need to miss an opportunity before the main event.” He reached for her, pulled her to him, and as their clothes scattered, they laughed and lost themselves in each other.

“Stop,” she finally gasped. “I need to get dressed and ready. Please Gilberto, tonight when the lights are low, I promise I’ll be yours.”

“Promise?” he asked holding onto her.

She giggled. “You know it, Superman.”

“Look away, Dixieland,” he grinned.

The Jeb Stuart tavern was designed in knotty pine and fluted glass mirrors. A bronze statue of Stonewall Jackson was poised at one end of the bar facing, across the room, a chiseled life-sized Robert E. Lee in polished marble.

The walls held antique oil paintings of the bravest sons of the South; they glared at any Yankee who dared to sit nearby and make eye contact.

As they came in, Gilberto saw Sarah Midgley hovering over an elderly gentleman in a formal Victorian waistcoat. He was amused to watch her fussing over him, fondling his lapels and whispering in his ear. She leaned over and planted a kiss on his ruddy cheek. He toasted her and gazed at her, his eyes dreamy.

Ramon joined Gilberto and Maria at their table, beneath General Jackson.

“Spooky,” was all Ramon said. “I feel like I’m trapped almost two hundred years in the past.”

“You are,” Gilberto said. “The Sons of the South,” He waved his hand.

Gilberto thought Maria looked adorable in her new prim black cocktail dress, modest yet inviting. He had been with her when she picked it out. He knew she loved it when he helped her choose something special.

Ramon showed his appreciation. He grinned at Maria. “You are a lady of style.”

Gilberto smiled. “We bought it together at that fancy shop at the Pru. By the way do your daughters have cell phones.”

“Of course,” Ramon said. “It’s the twenty first century after all.”

“Mona wants us to get her the same one Joey has.”

Ramon raised his eyebrows. “But she’s only ten.”

“She’s insistent,” Maria said. “It will be hard getting her to accept something cheaper. Today these kids know all the models.”

“I’ll be getting a new one,” Ramon said. “I’ll see if I can give her mine.”

“That would be so sweet,” Maria smiled.

“All the bells and whistles,” Ramon assured them. It even comes with its own leather carrying case.”

“She’ll love it,” Maria said.

Gilberto smiled. “You’re a buddy.”

To Be Continued

)0(

Kitty Kat’s Korner

Cat Tip of the Month: When your beloved cat crosses the Rainbow Bridge, be open to the paranormal. They may wish to come back and visit from time to time.

Why Do Cats Knock Things Over?

By Susan Logan McCracken

Cats are possibly the most athletic, graceful animals on the planet. Certain breeds, like the Oriental Shorthair and Cornish Rex, can scale a mantel filled with knickknacks without knocking a single one over. It’s one of their most impressive talents. So why is the internet filled with videos that show cats knocking stuff off of high places like tables and countertops?

Even though this behavior may be funny sometimes, it can be harmful at other times if something breakable shatters when it hits the floor. This behavior can also be a problem if the object is something valuable, like your smartphone or a family heirloom. To keep your cat and household safe and happy, here are some basic feline needs to consider and how to avoid having your home trashed.

Cats Test Everything

Cats want to know the nature of everything in their territory. They want to know: Can I eat this? Will this eat me? Is this a safe place to nap? Is this a private bathroom? Is this fun to play with?

Cats test everything by sniffing it, biting down on it, or using their paws to bat it around. And if it moves when they bat it, they chase it as they would go after prey. Most of the things they bat at are roughly the size of their natural prey animals: mice, birds, lizards, and other small animals. Tile, wood, and laminate floors are extra fun because anything that lands on them will slide around if it doesn’t break.

What you can do: Batting stuff around is natural feline behavior and cats need to engage in it to thrive. Provide mouse-sized toys they can bat around and pounce on, but keep your breakables and valuables where your cats can’t get to them.

Cats Need to Play

Cats love to play. In fact, they need it to stay happy and healthy. Play provides exercise, which indoor cats may have trouble getting enough of. Play also keeps their hunting skills sharp. If they know something moves when they bat it, they take mental notes and routinely return to that spot and object.

Cats are entertained by batting and chasing things that slide across floors; that is until they disappear under furniture. We’ve lost many pens this way, but we find them whenever we move the furniture for spring cleaning.

What you can do: Provide your cat with playtime and toys they can bat around and chase each day. When they play with something they shouldn’t, redirect their attention to their toys.

Cats Crave Attention from You

Knocking stuff off high places can be a sign that your cat needs more attention. If your cats aren’t getting adequate attention, they may resort to doing whatever they know will get you to notice them.

So when you see your cat knock your cellphone off the table, chances are you will say your cat’s name, jump up and pick it up. To your cat, you just participated in the game, and his effort to gain your attention worked, which reinforces the behavior.

What you can do: When you see your cat knocking stuff off the counter, ignore the behavior. This teaches your cat that this is not the way to get your attention. Wait a minute. Then redirect your cat’s attention to appropriate toys and spend about 10 to 15 minutes playing with him.

Why Cats DON’T Knock Stuff Over

I’ve always been impressed by cats’ ability to jump onto a shelf or counter covered in objects without knocking anything over. How can they be so graceful?

Aside from their athleticism, cats walk with a precise gait, meaning that their hind paws step into the same tracks as their front paws. They also step lightly onto their tiptoes and paw pads to be undetectable to prey.

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Georgia’s Weekly Horoscope: Sunday, August 29, 2021

All Signs

Here’s the skinny on Mercury retrograde: Three times a year, Mercury “appears” to go backwards relative to planet Earth. There are also two shadow periods: beforehand, as it slows down; and afterwards, as it catches up to the degree it was when it went retrograde. Do we care? Yes! These are poor times to buy Mercury-related items: cars, trucks, bikes, computers, cell phones and printers. They are also poor times to initiate anything. Howevah! Mercury retrograde encourages introspection and it helps us finish old business. In two weeks, Mercury will slow down before going retrograde at the end of the month. This is a heads up for anyone who wants to begin something new. Remember: “Today is the first day of the rest of your life.” And for the procrastinators: So is tomorrow.

Aries (March 21-April 19)

This is a productive week for you because both the Sun and your ruler Mars will help you get a lot done. “Oorah!” In fact, you’ll be so busy accomplishing things, you will start delegating to others. Midweek, you might feel less energetic for 48 hours. You might be confused about your motivation; or perhaps your energy will feel low. Whatever the case, don’t worry about this because it’s temporary. This is a lovely week to deal with those who are closest to you because your exchanges with others will be spontaneous. Warm feelings will abound because both Mercury and Venus are opposite your sign. This is your week to work hard and party hard!

Taurus (April 20-May 20)

Lucky you! This week you’re in play mode! Grab every chance to enjoy the company of others and explore social outings including playful activities with kids. Sports events will appeal. If you are in competitive sports events, know that in midweek you might feel less energetic. This might also be a confusing time for romance. Of course, all is not “play and no work” – you will be very hands-on when it comes to your job. In part, this is because coworkers are supportive. In fact, some of them are so supportive, a work-related romance will begin. Meanwhile, your public reputation continues to shine in the eyes of others. You rock!

Gemini (May 21-June 20)

Some kind of chaotic or demanding situation at home requires your attention. Be aware of what’s going on because there might be an element of confusion, especially midweek. Take care of what you can and focus on the needs of a parent (if appropriate). Meanwhile, Mercury and Venus will attract many opportunities for playful outings, socializing, sports events, fun activities with kids and opportunities to enjoy the arts and the entertainment world. Fun possibilities for this week! Look for opportunities to travel or explore avenues in education, the media, publishing and anything to do with medicine and the law because these are the areas that favour you this year.

Cancer (June 21-July 22)

Your fast-pace continues! Not only are you keen to learn new information about something (this is a great time to study); you want to enlighten people about what you know. You’re enthusiastic something. Be aware that you might encounter some kind of hesitation or confusion that makes you second guess yourself. Meanwhile, issues at home are positive. You’re interested in DIY projects and repairs at home as well as redecorating. You also want to entertain at home. Family discussions might take place this week. If so, someone has your back because relations with family members are mutually beneficial right now.

Leo (July 23-Aug. 22)

Money continues to be a major focus for you. Money, earnings, cash flow, and also your possessions. This might also involve a major purchase? Be careful midweek because of on Wed. and Thurs., you might be confused about something. If this is the case, do not act. Don’t make a financial error on a bad hunch. Your urge to communicate to others is strong now. This is why you’re eager to talk to siblings, relatives, neighbours and friends. This same influence will make you just as eager to read and learn new information, or write and share information with others. So much to do! So little time. Continue to look for ways to make money from your words because they exist!

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22)

This continues to be a powerful time for you because the Sun is in your sign along with feisty Mars. This gives you energy! Admittedly, midweek around Wed.-Thurs., you might be confused about something and not sure whether or not to act push your agenda. If you have doubts – do nothing. Better safe than sorry. Meanwhile, Mercury and Venus are in your Money House, which is good news! Trust your moneymaking ideas and be confident in your financial negotiations with others. When shopping, you will want to buy pretty things for yourself and others. Also, you will tend to attract money to you, which is why this is a good time for negotiations because you will might up feeling richer!

Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22)

Messages are coming your way this week. Both the Sun and Mars will encourage you to keep a low profile, and work alone or behind the scenes. (Same as last week.) However, Mercury in your sign makes you eager to talk to others. You have something to say! Furthermore, with Venus in your sign, you feel more sociable and friendly with everyone. In fact, this week is the perfect time to make peace with others, especially if you have been at odds or fighting. Or perhaps, you will act as a go-between to help others? Of course, this kind of role is your metier – you excel at bringing people with differing views to the point where they find a common ground. You are the peacemaker.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21)

This continues to be a popular time for you, which is why people will seek you out. Someone might want your advice. Almost certainly, you will take a leadership role in a group or an organization. You might be involved in some kind of competition with someone at this time. If so, be aware that your energy could be challenged midweek (Wed.-Thur.). The Moon is an excellent time to define goals for the future. Meanwhile, your ability to research is enhanced because of the placement of Mercury at this time. You might ferret out secrets. Speaking of which, some of you are involved in a secret love affair.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 21)

This week, the Sun is still at high noon in your chart, which is good for you. (It happens only once a year for four weeks.) It’s important to know that you have this advantage, so that you can use it to advance your agenda with bosses, parents, teachers and VIPs. However, do not press your case on Wed. and Thurs. because everything will be “weaker” for you. Just tread water. Meanwhile, interactions with younger, creative, talented people will likely enrich your life in some way. Be receptive to this. Actually, any kind of group setting will benefit you. This week, friendships will thrive and grow because your enthusiasm and you positive take on life will attract people to you.

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 19)

This continues to be a great time to study or do anything to expand your grasp of politics, religion and social issues. Your desire to learn and broaden your horizons is strong this week. (Like last week.) Therefore, grab every chance to travel and learn new things to satisfy your sense of adventure and your desire to expand your knowledge of the world. Discussions with parents and bosses will be successful because both Mercury and Venus are at the top of your chart paving the way for relations with authority figures. You will be confident in share your views; and they will be willing to listen to you. In fact, relations with authority figures will be very warm and mutually receptive at this time. (Perhaps even romantic.)

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 18)

This could be a tricky week when it comes to financial negotiations. In one way, you are confident and strong; however, midweek, you might feel confused about financial negotiations or about pressing your case. If so, do not act. Wait until everything is clear and obvious to you. Midweek something could be confusing or misleading. Meanwhile, travel appeals! Especially travel for pleasure and good times. Some of you might strike up a new relationship or even a love affair with someone who is “different”, perhaps from another culture or a different country. With Jupiter in your sign now, you can’t go wrong. Everything will tend to go your way. It’s important to know this so that you can take a chance or play the longshot.

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20)

Remember that at this time, while the Sun is opposite your sign, you will need more sleep than usual. (Go to bed.) Partnerships are important for you now. In fact, with the Sun opposite your sign, you have more objectivity to see your style of relating in your closest relationships. Meanwhile, keep your pockets open because both Mercury and Venus will attract money, gifts and favours from others to you. This includes cash! This week is an excellent time to ask for a loan or mortgage. This is also a passionate, romantic week. New relationships that begin now will be powerful – and memorable! Nevertheless, be patient with others.

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Weekly Horoscopes beginning Sunday, 29 August 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:

Thrilling as recent ideas or offers seemed, you’re now being forced to realise they’re not as worthwhile as you thought. While the resulting review will slow your progress, and possibly take you into unfamiliar territory, what you learn and, possibly, who you meet will be worth the time and energy these distractions require. The outcome? It will be unexpected but an improvement on what you’d anticipated.

You aren’t sure you’ve made a right choice or decision. All you can do is go with it and see what happens. Pull yourself together and stop your thoughts from reaching too far into the future. Remember that what you’re worrying about may never happen and try to take every moment as it comes. You will get a sense of what it means to someone when you offer to do them a favour. You may not have realised how alone they had been feeling.

Although obviously much depends on your personal chart (calculated with exact date favoured, time and place), there is every likelihood that you are more commercially minded than you think. This isn’t about being driven by money; it’s about engaging with others and forming partnerships. True, the Aries style is to be independent. That doesn’t mean though that you can’t engage with others and allow them to be doing their things too. Your sign often practices the fine art of complementing. This week, focus is likely to be on presentation and anything to do with the Internet especially. If it’s been some time since you reviewed your professional profile, this could be the time to undertake that exercise. What seems clear, is that by the September equinox, you will be involved in a start-up or a relaunch – either of which will benefit from entrepreneurial traits you developed in the last decade.

Taurus

Personal theme: I have!!

Earth & fixed sign: April 20 — May 20

Your horoscope for this week:

Understandably, you’re hoping to sidestep changes in existing plans or new arrangements. However, with so much confusion in the background, and influencing others’ thinking, you’re better off going with the flow. Instead, focus on deciding which elements of the past should go, including those you’re clinging to ferociously. Ironically, once you’re actually focusing on the future, the resulting insights will prove incredibly helpful.

It will be during your most quiet moments that you get your best inspirations. You always know you can rely on your own judgement but you are starting, too, to recognise your intuitive responses. Your intuition will not let you down. You’re ready to make some big changes and this could mean you and a partner going your separate ways. It will feel strange to make such a drastic decision but it is time for you to be more independent.

You will be far from the only sign focused on presentation. What is different in your case is the degree of careful thought you give to advertising. Mercury joins Venus in the ‘worker bee’ area of your solar chart. And yes, there may be many moments when the you think lists of things to do are never ending. You might though, take great pleasure in knowing all the various steps that need to be negotiated before success is achieved. A review of price structure and general costings might also be necessary. Though it’s probable you will seek professional advice on this mid-September, ground work put in this week, and understanding of details will earn you respect. Don’t underestimate your ability to husband resources – especially in the second half of this week. You could also show others how to make savings.

Gemini

Personal theme: I think!!

Air sign: May 21 — June 20

Your horoscope for this week:

For the past weeks you’ve dealt with a range of issues on the domestic or work front, and mostly achieved wonders. Tackle any matters that remain now. On Monday, your ruler Mercury moves from accenting those practicalities to accenting life’s pleasures, and obviously you’ll want to ensure your time is free. Focus both on making timely changes and exploration. Decisions? They can, and should, wait.

You feel someone at home is being contrary. They feel you are being overly sensitive. As the week begins, solo pursuits will be the best bet. As it is a craving for peace and quiet will continue to be with you later on. Finding areas of agreement when working closely with others will not be easy. Your boss seems to think you can be in two places at the same time or they are starting to expect far too much from you.

Monday’s Last Quarter Moon is in your sign. This should bring to its last stage, a train of thought that goes back roughly 2 years. It might be an interesting exercise to list all that you’ve achieved in that time. True, with Mars and Neptune effecting a tightrope across the backbone of your solar chart, you could at times feel lost, at sea, and wonder if you’ve gained anything. Though yours is an Air sign given to thinking in your head, take time to make notes. You might be surprised to discover just exactly how much experience you’ve gained in the last two years, and how this could be presented. With both Mercury and Venus now moving together through one of the creative zones of this same chart, there is also the potential for you to revive your personal ‘research and development department’ and to take a hobby or secondary skill to the next level.

Cancer

Personal theme: I feel!!

Water & cardinal sign: June 21 — July 22

Your horoscope for this week:

Only recently you were sure what was next, and which elements of your life would have to change beforehand. However, events are forcing you to rethink both your current priorities and vision for the future. While, obviously, you’d rather get things organised, with so much in transition, you’re urged to keep plans flexible, then plunge in and explore what, and who, comes your way.

You would like everything to go your way but this is unlikely to happen. Perseverance and dedication are what it takes to get results. Impatience and indifference will get you nowhere. A newcomer is introduced to your circle. For some inexplicable reason, you may start worrying about whether you look right and sound interesting. Relax. There are plenty people who enjoy being with you and who respect you for who you are.

It is, quite literally, probably time to put your house in order. That’s as much about your homebase as it is about your working environment. The presence of both Mercury and Venus at the base of your solar chart should help. Driven too, by the need to be efficient and organised (thanks to Mars moving through Virgo), you could accomplish so, so much by the end of this week. It may be necessary to get this done before midmonth. And yes, you could be distracted along the way as you uncover apparently lost items. It may be that these have either served their purpose or can be put to new use. The challenge of the latter should be fun. With the Moon moving through your sign between Wednesday and Friday, expect others to follow your lead. What seems likely is that by Monday (6th) that you will have given a masterclass in optimum ways to prepare for action and success.

Leo

Personal theme: I will!!

Fire & fixed sign: July 23 — August 22

Your horoscope for this week:

Although it was about a week ago, you’re still juggling decisions triggered by Mars’s recent link to the fortunate Jupiter. The trick? It’s to explore everything. If plans seem promising, make commitments but ensure they’re tentative. That way you can consider what arises this week and, importantly, learn from what others have to suggest, if not offer. The more flexible your thinking and arrangements, the better.

You will flourish when you can move around a large circle of friends. Teamwork will bring out the best in you. If you are asked to take on a leadership role, you won’t hesitate about your answer. There are some important matters that must be dealt with later and these will need all your concentration. Your nerves will be churning until an important event is over. Once it is, you will wonder what you were worrying about.

The accent after Mercury moves into Libra on Sunday is on expanding your network. But yes, this could be costly. You might also wonder precisely how much you have to give before you experience reward. This week’s pivotal aspect is the opposition of Mars to Neptune. Clearly that affects all signs. Think of this as a soft chord playing in the sky. No one is quite sure if it marks the end of a piece or the start of the haunting melody. The latter is most likely. Principally, you’re investing in order to make real gain next week. And yes, that likely requires listening carefully and being supportive as others alter career (and domestic) direction. Yours is one of the Fixed signs. You appreciate determination and resilience. Know though, that there are deep emotional waves to be negotiated and that you may not have a clear idea of the best way forward until the Moon reaches your sign next weekend.

Virgo

Personal theme: I analyse!!

Earth sign: August 23 — September 22

Your horoscope for this week:

After a series of worthwhile discussions, you’re sure of two facts. You want to proceed, but can’t possibly do everything. If you’re unsure what’s worth pursuing, discuss your options with somebody you trust. Tempting as it is to consult several individuals, it will only confuse matters. Most of all, regard what you do or decide as an experience you’re learning from, not an unshakeable commitment.

You have an important choice to make. Weighing up the pros and cons is not helping as the list on either side is equally balanced. What do you do? You may have to trust your intuition, take a deep breath and make a decision. If you can find a confidential adviser, so much the better. You will be in a totally different mood once you get this matter out of the way. With a little help from a friend, you will achieve something amazing.

You don’t have to be all over the place but it might seem to others that you are. There may be just too many options for you to consider. The last Quarter Moon on Monday is in another of the Mutable signs. Take time to consider all that has occurred in the last two years. Where precisely have you wasted energy? Was it really wasted? Is it possible that you’ve gained experience in areas you’d never have expected? It will take some time to put thoughts in order but, with Mercury leaving your sign on Monday, and moving into neighbouring Libra, it would surely be a worthwhile exercise to assess work/life balance. True, you could meet disappointment mid-week. It may be that someone younger is determined on a course you think is doomed. Yet they perhaps need that experience. They may not be able to hear words of wisdom for a few days. In the interim, you could perhaps give more thought to presentation and design in the process discovering that your thoughts here have altered considerably.

Libra

Personal theme: I balance!!

Air & cardinal sign: September 23 — October 22

Your horoscope for this week:

Weeks ago, you realised certain increasingly tricky problems not only won’t resolve themselves, they’ll require serious discussion. That time has come. While you’ll want to figure out a solution, then encourage others to follow it, first, ask their thoughts. What they come up with will be as unexpected as it is creative. So much so, you might ask them to take responsibility for everything.

Discussions will take you by surprise as you will hear something that comes as something of a revelation. Be sure others don’t get to see how stunned you are. Someone is deliberately trying to shock you and you don’t want to play into their hands. Financial and legal matters should go well for you and it will be a relief that all turns out as you hoped it would. As the week ends you will have something to celebrate.

Don’t underestimate mental health needs. There’s been so much pressure since Saturn arrived in another of the Air signs at the end of last year, that you’ve perhaps been overloaded and really need time out to consider both your mental and spiritual welfare. If all that sounds too idealistic, then at least give thought to the sights, sounds and scents that bring you pleasure and try to restore some of these. It seems highly likely that your work-life balance is completely out of sync. It may be that you’ve been doing too much for others and not paying sufficient attention to yourself. All that must change – and way ahead of your birthday month. Mars arrives in your sign mid-September and by then you need to be in good state of fitness. This week especially you perhaps need time out to recharge. You won’t be the only sign giving thought to presentation and design but, since you have natural gifts in this area, will likely be asked for advice.

Scorpio & Ophiuchus

Personal theme: I desire!!

Water & fixed signs: October 23 — November 21

Your horoscope for this week:

You’re uneasy about recent ideas or offers, mostly because they’re worryingly good. Judging by the planetary setup for last week and, in fact, until mid-September, these could be even better than they seem. Explore. If things seem that promising, delve into every option and, if you can’t agree to plans, at least explore them. The odds are good you’ll soon be extending those plans further.

Life is getting busier. If you’re being asked to do the work of two, be sure to get adequate compensation. People know what they are doing and how much pressure they’re putting on you but they will say they have no choice. They do. The reason they aren’t backing off in their demands is because it makes life easier for them. A new social venture will be more than just a game to you. A competitive note will enter a community event.

As you may know, you are sensitive to the position of Mars. This week Mars opposes Neptune: a planetary pairing that has a reputation for being super creative, but also offers something of a soft landing. It may be that you need to negotiate either disappointment or loss mid-week. That might not even come as much of a surprise. You might also sense that too many people are adrift – unsure of where they’re headed. They may be leaning on you for support and advice. Consider though, is it possible that you should be spending a little more time harnessing your own imagination and creative spirit? Yours is also a sign known to benefit from taking time away. It’s not unusual for Scorpios to seek dark places to hide, and retreat. Finding sanctuary may be essential. Though Mercury isn’t retrograde, it is entirely possible that some people haven’t yet thought through the impact of their decisions! These could yet be reversed next month.

Sagittarius

Personal theme: I see!!

Fire sign: November 22 — December 21

Your horoscope for this week:

Ordinarily, you don’t just welcome others’ thoughts and suggestions, you thrive on the resulting exchange of ideas. What’s more, with the foundation for potential arrangements shifting frequently, it’s vital you regard even simple plans as an experiment, so be flexible. The trick? Ensure whatever you organise is well thought out yet easily changed. The more you discuss, and the less rushed your decisions are, the better.

If you’re trying to save money, you seem to instinctively know the best way to make your cash go further. You might find some great bargains on an online store. In business, your best course of action is to refuse to follow the crowd. Making decisions independently will pay off handsomely. This may mean sticking your neck out and expressing those original and untried ideas that spring into your mind.

First the facts: it takes Neptune roughly 146 years to travel through all 12 signs of the zodiac. Some generations will never experience Neptune’s Pisces transit (as is happening now). Neptune began its passage over the base of the Sagittarius solar chart 10 years ago. Four times (2013, 15, 17 and 19) since then Mars has opposed that position as it does mid-week. It will do so once more before Neptune moves on into Aries. These aspects should be considered pivotal – particularly with regard to career. True, at one level you could feel lost and at sea, and an adriftness (even if you’re in a secure position) that feels uncomfortable. Yet it’s perhaps also true that on each of these occasions, you’ve produced material and ideas that are both creative and efficient. You might even have surprised yourself. The accent over the seven days is very much on technical matters. You may find that others require your expertise and come to applaud the multi-faceted approach with which you tackle a challenge.

Capricorn

Personal theme: I use!!

Earth & cardinal sign: December 22 — January 19

Your horoscope for this week:

Recently, when seemingly tricky plans fell into place magically, you were wary. Now unexpected but not overwhelming obstacles and minor errors are making you wonder if your concerns weren’t wise. Actually, these are nothing but details, and would need attention eventually. The secret? Relax and enjoy the process, and the joys the resulting developments are bringing your way, now and over the coming weeks and months.

Your attention is on your relationships. Expect to have to deal with an issue that involves another person. This is someone who is close to you and the issue will be resolved more swiftly if you’re willing to be flexible and open-minded. If you are determined to reach a goal, then your dedicated efforts will eventually bring the rewards they deserve. In fact, results are bound to be all the more satisfying because of the time and effort you have put into reaching that stage.

The pivotal aspect this week is the opposition of Mars to Neptune. It’s only happened in this area of the zodiac four time before in your lifetime. (2013, 2015, 2017 and 2019. On each occasion it’s likely required you to question expertise and how you could improve your own qualifications. It would be unsurprising if this time you determined on yet another direction. It could be that you choose to specialise in an area. True, this could exasperate someone who thought you’d made your mind up some weeks ago. Yet now you may be challenging what is the best way forward, and early next week earn respect for altering course. Obviously, the Mars-Neptune opposition affects all signs, and some will be overcome with emotion. It won’t be so surprising if you choose to withdraw from the fray. By stepping away you also create the perfect space to analyse a piece of research and how it might best be used.

Aquarius

Personal theme: I know!!

Air & fixed sign: January 20 — February 18

Your horoscope for this week:

Although the Aquarius Full Moon was on 22 August, you’re still wrestling with the sudden changes it triggered and struggling with future decisions. Out of character as it may be, stand back and let things fall into place at the rate, and in the manner, they must. Difficult as this may be initially, the outcome will soon convince you it was the best possible approach.

You work hard and you are conscientious about your responsibilities. Even so, everyone needs a change every once in a while. If you can add a little variety to the pattern of your life, you could be surprised by how inspired this makes you feel. Visiting new places and trying new activities will bring you pleasure but as the week comes to a close concentrate hard on finding inner peace rather than constantly seeking new experiences.

The week begins with the Last Quarter Moon in another of the Air signs, Gemini. The next few months could be viewed as a clearing up time for projects begun within the last two years. True this could at one level be exasperating. The need to move forward will likely be strong and the temptation to discard, cut and run equally so. Yet it seems others will be chasing you to finish tasks. They perhaps need reassurance that you can indeed bring to successful conclusion what you began as a fabulous idea some time back. There might even be and in financial incentive to do so. By working through this cosmic storm, you could reach the other side by next week’s New Moon (Sept 7th) appearing more organised and efficient. More than that, you should also receive support (most likely from Virgo and Pisces colleagues) who understand exactly how many challenges you’ve wrestled with in recent times and who applaud your resilience.

Pisces

Personal theme: I believe!!

Water sign: February 19 — March 20

Your horoscope for this week:

While you’ve an amazing gift for turning potentially contentious matters into a delightful exchange of ideas, recently you’ve had to be firm. Now the wisdom of your stance is becoming clear, although not everybody is ready to acknowledge that. Say nothing and, if necessary, politely but firmly change the subject. Within a short time, certain individuals will be forced to acknowledge just how right you were.

As long as you don’t allow a tendency to daydream to get the better of common sense, there’s plenty to look forward to. If you have a choice between trying something new and sticking with what’s familiar, go for the former as your craving for something just a little different to your usual routines is likely to make itself felt very strongly. If you can arrange it so you can spend plenty of time away from home, so much the better.

For only the fifth time in your lifetime Mars opposes Neptune presently travelling through your sign. Not every generation experiences this particular aspect in this area of the zodiac. It could be argued that it’s not an easy combination either: Mars is all about energy, and Neptune conjures up images of the sea. Together, they represent a great wave. That may be wonderful to look at or to paint, it might be less pleasant to surf if you are an inexperienced swimmer. So, perhaps much depends on how well you negotiated those earlier times. The cosmos never does exact repeats, but be aware that there is every likelihood of your efficiency being challenged (you won’t be the only sign experiencing this) but that by doing so, and presenting a solid and not too emotional an argument mid-week, you could yet secure respect and perhaps an invitation to join a new team.

https://groups.io/g/CelestialPrognostication

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By GrannyMoon Posted in Pagan

GrannyMoon’s Weekly Feast: 22 August 2021

Blue Moon

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

Today’s Affirmation

Moon Power

“O’ magic of the moon reveal,

and move through phases,

that which heal ~

our body mind and spirit health ~

to start anew, empower thyself

To grow our wishes, hopes, and dreams,

to full fruition and extremes.”

https://www.peacefulmind.com/project/blue-moon/

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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Herb of the Year for 2021: Parsley (Petroselinum crispum, named by the International Herb Association.

Flower of the Month for August: Gladiolus

August is National Watermelon Month

Goddess Month of Hesperus runs from 8/9 – 9/5

Celtic Tree Calendar: Hazel Moon: August 5 – September 1

Week 3. Friendship Week (Rosemary is the friendship herb).

August  15 – Festivals of Mary – In the Middle Ages, Aug 15 to Sept 15 were called “Our Lady’s 30 Days.

August 22 – Blue Moon

August 23: Vulcanalia – Roman Festival

Week 4. Be Kind to Humankind Week.

August 29. Just what we need! National More Herbs Less Salt Day.

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THE CURRENT MOON PHASE: Full Moon

Goddess Aspect: Mother

Associated Goddesses: Aphrodite, Arianrhod, Asherah, Danu, Cerridwen, Gaia, Isis,, Selene, Sisters of the Wyrrd, and the Norns

Magickal Attributes: Fruition – Manifesting goals, Nurturing, Passion, Healing, Strength, Power. 

From fourteen to seventeen-and-a-half days after the new moon. Prime time for rituals for prophecy. From seven to fourteen days after the New Moon.

Full Moon: Symbolic of the height of power, the peak of clarity, fullness and obtainment of desire. 

Full Moon energy is used for banishing unwanted influences in your life, protection magick, and divination. 

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You May 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!

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The cost for Level 1 is $50.00 or the entire Healing Arts Course (1-3) for $150.00, which includes a free Reiki certification course when all three are ordered!

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The Goddess School Grimoire

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Hardcover: $39.45

Softback: $26.95

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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 (www.Goddessschool.com) has grown into a large and beautiful global community of women.

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HOW THE FULL MOON  – AUGUST 22, 2021 WILL BENEFIT US.

August 12, 2021

How appropriate that the Sturgeon Full Moon August 22, 2021, is in the sign Aquarius. The symbol for Aquarius is the Water Bearer, symbolically and eternally giving life and spiritual food to the world. The water from the vessel washes away the past, leaving room for a fresh, new start. The sign of Aquarius is forward-looking and growth-oriented

The Aquarius Full Moon aligns with the planet Jupiter. So the spiritual meaning of full moon August 2021 relates to personal, material, and spiritual growth and good fortune.

This Full Moon has an especially good influence on intimate relationships. A combination of sensible and exciting aspects makes this an excellent moon phase for finding a long-term partner. Couples can find greater commitment while also enjoying more stimulating and adventurous activities.  The the the

After the rough month of July, the sturgeon is swimming into our lives to show us that we are stronger than we think.  The sturgeon is a tough fish that can live up to 140 years.  You survived last month and you will make it through the coming months this year.

This should be of great encouragement as so many people are going through difficult times in their lives and this Full Moon is all about survival.  If you are feeling despondent take time and do some prayers on this Full Moon and ask for the strength of the sturgeon to pull you through any remaining obstacles in your life.  Remember you are tougher than you think.

When the Moon is full, the pull linking the Moon on one side of the earth and the Sun following creates an unbalanced draw and as humans, since we are 80% water, it may have a great effect on our own bodily water levels including the earth’s atmosphere.

This moon is also known as the Full Red Moon because of the heat the moon seems red and hazy. In European nations, it was the named Green corn moon after the corns appear to have green leaves and grains are at its highest peaks.

Archangel for This Full Moon

It is time to turn to Archangel Asariel who has dominion over the waters of the world and the abundance of life within and so guides the deep ocean of your spirits. Asariel watches over your emotions and the ebb and flow of life, just like the Moon, encouraging creativity and teaching through dreams and inner wisdom.

Asariel is a great ally in the discovery of truth. He shows you what is true and what is just a rumor. He guides and protects you.  Asariel helps you to deal with bewitchment and evil illusions.  So if you feel that you have negative energies or forces coming against you, rely upon this Archangel to help you.  Make sure you ask for his help.  The angels need our request so they don’t violate our free will.

Great waves of life are flowing all around us at this time.  August is a powerful month of releasing and reevaluating your life.  It’s time to let go of anything that is holding you back because you want to be open and ready for the new energies that are coming in at this point in the year.

This Moon is associated with the element of Fire and Intense New Energy.

Iron and garnet are the mineral totems for this moon.

Raspberry is the plant totem.

The sturgeon is the animal totem.

The color is red

The Thunderbird clan influences the position.

Here Is How These Elements Will Work With Us On The Full Moon.

Iron teaches people about their strength

Garnet shows them their heart is the source of that strength.

From the raspberry, they learn about their sweetness and the thorns they project to protect this part of themselves from other people.

The sturgeon shows them their depth and their need to teach.

The Full Moon is the time of greatest power and the perfect night for spiritual work, giving thanks, and rituals as it’s a night where energy is in abundance.  The Full Moon is a perfect time to receive an in-depth spiritual reading.

Full Moon Blessings,

Cherokee Billie

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Blue Moon

https://www.peacefulmind.com/project/blue-moon/

The term “Blue Moon” seems to have been attached to a familiar and common event in only the last 30 years. It does not even involve the color blue. When we can view a full moon two times in one calendar month, this is referred to as a “blue moon.”

Some individuals claim that the second calendar Full Moon was based on the phrase “once in a blue moon.” Yet, in truth, that seems strange since the “two full moons” in a calendar month happens about once every 2.5 years.

Metaphysically, the Blue Moon represents our rare opportunity to fully express ourselves through communication and clarity of expression. The symbolic blue energy represents our Throat Chakra. Use this rare occasion to open up, relay your inner thoughts and creativity.

What are you yearning to express? What’s the motivation behind your communication? What kind of signals are you sending?

Utilize this “blue moon moment” in time to contemplate your spoken and unspoken articulations. Bring about change and move forward.

Manifesting with the Moon

The cycles of the moon are important when doing any kind of empowerment work in order to manifest what we want in life. When working with the energy of natural cycles, you are likely to get better results with the cycles of the moon since they have great power over the tides of our emotions.

This lunar influence is not a constant, unchanging thing, however, and an understanding of the basic lunar cycles can help us to understand how these cycles influence our lives. The moon orbits the earth about every 29 days, and this first cycle is the one most people are familiar with. The moon is illuminated by sunlight, the giver of all warmth, light, and life in our solar system, but we can’t always see the part being lit. As the moon goes around the earth, we see the moon from different angles. When we see a full moon, the moon is directly opposite the sun, when we see no moon, its because the moon and sun are in the same direction.

“As without, so within”. Knowledge of the basic cycles of life is an understanding of the forces that motivate and drive us; the forces that affect our lives.

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Llewellyn’s Spell a Day

Full Moon Spell for Thankfulness

AUGUST 22, 2021 BY JAMES KAMBOS

Tonight, the August full moon, sometimes called the Grain Moon, will illuminate the sky. This moon will rise above an earth that is ripe and ready to be harvested. Decorate your altar with the bounty of the season. A vase of zinnias or blackeyed Susans would be nice. A few stems of grain and some ears of corn would also be appropriate.

Tonight’s ritual should be about giving thanks. Safely light a gold pillar candle on your altar. Meditate about the good things in your life. On a sheet of stationery, write a sentence or two about one thing you are grateful for. Let the candle burn for a few minutes, then extinguish it. Leave the stationery on your altar for three days, then discard it. Use the candle again for thankfulness or wealth spells. Expect other good things to come your way. The divine appreciates your gratitude.

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Strength to Overcome Obstacles

AUGUST 21, 2021 BY SAPPHIRE MOONBEAM

Gladiolus is the flower for the month of August. Gladiolus flowers represent strength and the ability to overcome obstacles. They bloom in a variety of colors, like red, pink, white, yellow, and orange.

Anything that symbolizes strength can help you become more empowered. Empowerment is a key element in gaining confidence to overcome challenges on our spiritual path. Use the magick of the gladiolus to move forward after the lesson of the challenge or difficulty has been learned. While holding the flower, chant these words:

May the beauty and strength of

this gladiolus flower assist me

with its natural power, guide my

path, and allow me to see how

the obstacles can be overcome.

Say the words as many times as needed until you feel your inner strength rise and you have the confidence to move past the difficulty in your life.

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Rule of Three Gratitude Spell

AUGUST 20, 2021 BY ELIZABETH BARRETTE

Gratitude is an important life skill. By focusing on what we have, we increase our awareness and satisfaction. We also become more mindful of those who have less. That encourages us to clean house and remove what we don’t use.

This spell utilizes practical action to harness the Rule of Three: that which you do comes back to you three times over. Sort through your bookcase for books you don’t read. Check your cabinets for dishes or other items you don’t need. Pack them up to take to a thrift store, a garage sale, a giveaway, etc. For every bundle of stuff that you send out of your home, name something that you feel grateful for. Concentrate on that sense of gratitude. Then say:

I release these things that I no longer

need in order to make room for more

that I can use. I express my gratitude

for unknown blessings yet to come.

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The Little Ocean

AUGUST 19, 2021 BY STORM FAERYWOLF

This spell is for getting more in touch with the water element.

You will need these materials:

* Your bath or shower

* A dark blue or black candle

* A handful of sea salt

* A large bowl of water

Draw a bath. (If you’re using a shower, skip to the next step.) Ground and center. Safely light the candle. Add the handful of salt to the bowl of water and swirl it with your fingers, imagining it like a little ocean. Gently slosh the water from side to side, imagining the great tides of the sea now symbolically reflected in this bowl of salt water. Say:

The ebb and flow,

The rise and fall,

I sail over the starry seas.

Pour the water into the bath or over your head as you step into the shower. Imagine yourself communing with the powers of water, floating in the ocean or out in a rainstorm. When you are done, extinguish the candle and save it for your next magical bath.

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Lovely Limoncello

AUGUST 18, 2021 BY NAJAH LIGHTFOOT

Its origins are steeped in mystery, and its ingredients are deceptively simple: lemons, grain alcohol, water, and sugar. Whether you make your own limoncello or buy it in a store, the golden yellow liquid will cool your throat and lift your spirits.

For this spell you will need:

* A yellow candle

* Fireproof candleholder

* A saucer

* One lemon cut into slices

* Ice-cold limoncello

* Shot glasses

Place your yellow candle in the candleholder. Set the candle on the saucer. Arrange the lemon slices around the candle. Pour limoncello into the glasses. Light the candle and say:

Golden light, summer bright,

Yellow lemons, my delight.

Limoncello, sweet and tasty,

We raise our glasses and toast to thee!

Be sure to extinguish the candle.

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Scratches and Stings

AUGUST 17, 2021 BY EMYME

Today we pay homage to two benign beasts that are unquestionably important to Wiccan life: the black cat and the honey bee.

Black cats are said to be the ageold popular companions to witches. Whether this is true or not, let us show our appreciation for them with the blessing below, which can be adapted for your own cat or modified for use with any other familiar.

Honey bees are absolutely necessary for our survival. No bees means less food and darn few flowers. Few flowers and plants leads to a scarcity of ingredients for potions and spells. The honey bee population worldwide has been in danger for years. Take a few minutes today to send positive energy to the honeybee with this blessing.

Bastet, lover of cats, and Neith,

keeper of bees, we call upon you to

always protect your chosen beings,

which bring joy and sustenance,

happiness and health, to our lives.

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A Penny for Prosperity

Bury a penny either in the ground or in a potted plant (if that’s all you have available). If possible, find a penny minted in the year you were born. Say these words as you bury it:

I know that it’s worth far

more than a cent.

I offer the earth this coin with intent.

Visualize the prosperity you need to reach your goals and be successful.

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Moonstone Travel Safety Magic

AUGUST 16, 2021 BY BLAKE OCTAVIAN BLAIR

Monday’s lunar ties connect it with moonstones, making this a perfect day to do a little crystal magic! One of the many magical uses for moonstone is to promote safe travel. Find a moonstone and a small pouch. Cleanse the crystal and pouch as you see fit, then hold them cupped in your hands. Visualize a protective glowing light radiating from the stone, and recite the following:

Lunar powers shining bright,

Combining with earthen crystal might.

I perform this magical rite.

May I have safe travels day and night.

Now, holding your intention and using your breath, blow your intention into the stone in your cupped hands. Then put the stone in the pouch and tuck it somewhere safe in your vehicle. Over time, as you feel called, you can also add magical plants to the pouch that add to your travel safety magic, such as pine needles for protection or lavender for calm.

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The Legacy Of Hearth And Home | Andrew Weil, M.D.

Reflection:

We know after sheltering-in-place for months to avoid COVID-19 that our lives have been changed perhaps forever. We hear mostly about what’s broken, what’s difficult, and depressing. But there is another perspective of this reality to consider.

In 2003 I wrote The Legacy Workbook for the Busy Woman, where in Chapter 2 “Embracing Our Everyday Selves” I introduced the Greek goddess Hestia, Zeus’ sister. She was the goddess of hearth, home, and temple. Her symbol was sacred fire, source of light, warmth, and safety. Fire, not only essential in homemaking and mothering, also represented spirit, the light of internal meaning.

By demeaning “women’s work” in the 19th and 20th centuries, in order to compete to be “just like men,” women lost something valuable. COVID offers us the opportunity to do a rebalance, reclaiming a lost part of ourselves. Is it any wonder that grocery stores ran out of yeast this spring? Women had returned to their kitchens baking bread as their grandmothers once did.

My neighbor, a fast-moving and rising manager in a major corporation, has been working at home since March. She hopes the change is permanent. Slowed by the virus, she’s had time to plant and weed her garden, time to read daily to her 3-year-old son, Gio, time to hang washed bedding in the sun, bake cookies, and call her Mom. Intermittently during the workday, she returns to her compute to attend daily Zoom meetings with her co-workers. What she described was that COVID had given her the opportunity to rebalance her priorities … rediscover that her home and family are not afterthoughts, but a most important part of her identity and values.

“Our life’s mission may very well be hidden in the simple routine we have come to devalue . . .There is holiness and meaning in even the most mundane tasks.”

– Rabbi Naomi Levy

Re-owning devalued characteristics of ourselves, becoming more of ourselves, and experiencing ourselves as multi-dimensional, perhaps more whole is one of the potential gifts of this pivotal time. Becoming our authentic selves is a lifelong task, formed like basalt cooling gradually after blasting out of the fires of a violent volcano (“COVID”) and transforming what was into what is. As our past forms the present, as our history and values mature, and as the contextual pressures of our environment reshape us even further, sheltering-in-place may be the modern woman’s best gift from COVID.

“Home is where my dignity is.”

– Irshad Manji

Taking Action:

1. Make a two-part list: on one side of a piece of paper, list domestic activities you enjoy (for example hanging laundry in the sun); on the other side, list domestic activities you dislike, find boring or lacking in meaning (for example, turning the family’s socks right side out). Or instead, perhaps differentiate by listing “the ordinary domestic things you love” and “the ordinary domestic things you don’t love, but would dearly miss should your life be at risk.”

“I long to accomplish a great and noble task, but it is my duty to accomplish humble tasks as though they were great and noble.”

– Helen Keller

2. Muse and write for 15-30 minutes, your purpose is to explore your domestic preferences, passions, gifts, and talents. Something you took for granted or thought meaningless may awaken new interest or old memories. Recall your mother’s and grandmothers’ domestic and creative talents, and attitudes. Then muse about what domestic activities you particularly value and want to be part of your future daily life.

“You need only claim the events of your life to make yourself yours.”

– Florida Scott-Maxwell

3. After you’ve written for yourself, consider writing a legacy letter to women of younger and future generations about your personal domestic values and your sense of how the domestic has been in times past and continues now to have the possibility of spiritual meaning for our culture.

“The spiritual journey is the soul’s life commingling with ordinary life.”

– Christina Baldwin

“May the Greek goddess, Hestia, and COVID-19 be sources of blessing for you. May a new freedom of attitude and action be a gift to you in this pivotal time, and to the women who come after you.”

– Rachael Freed

Rachael Freed, LICSW, senior fellow, Earl E. Bakken Center for Spirituality & Healing, University of Minnesota, is the author of Your Legacy Matters, Women’s Lives, Women’s Legacies: Passing Your Beliefs & Blessings to Future Generations and Heartmates: A Guide for the Partner and Family of the Heart Patient. Rachael can be found at rachael@life-legacies.com and www.life-legacies.com

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Sacred Sprays for Magical Self-Care

AUGUST 09, 2021 BY KATRINA RASBOLD

Magical Lavender Spray and Quartz

One of the easiest ways to change your energy is by using sacred sprays. You can purchase these online or establishments, but it is even more fun to make your own. Admittedly, my favorite is Pastor Davi’s 7 African Powers, which we call “The Holy Aquanet” at my shop because it is in a fat aerosol can. I have been unable to duplicate the scent, and we use it to seal our magical work, especially a spiritual cleansing.

For most people, sacred sprays create an immediate effect. I like to spray it into the air above me and then let it rain over me in a soothing rush of scent. For that moment, I can merge with the energy of the spray and give myself over to its power. That boost can carry me forward for several hours. I keep small bottles of magical sprays in my car to cleanse and refortify me after I have been out in the world too much and I am “over-peopled.” It also comes in handy if I have a negative energetic encounter somewhere. The spray will reseat me and bring me back into myself.

There are sprays dedicated to refreshing you, calming you, protecting you, grounding you, and empowering you. The good news is that you can make the sprays yourself if you do not want to buy them. The outcome is a product that belies the simplicity of the process. The sprays discussed here are all safe for skin, fabric, and pets.

Why Do They Work?

The power behind sacred sprays is four-fold. In most cases, the recipe is a long-established, traditional combination, so there is power in using the same components that magical people have put together for hundreds of years. There is the natural power inherent in the ingredients, such as the magical properties of the herbs and stones used. Next, the fact that you are the one creating the mix, so your personal energy invests in the process. Lastly, there is the power of aromatherapy, both from a traditional standpoint and as elicited from your own conditioned triggers. If someone you love(d) always wore rose scent, then that will likely have a positive effect on you. If you had lavender in your garden growing up, then that may immediately relax you above and beyond its natural properties.

What Do I Need to Make my Own Sprays?

To make magical, sacred sprays, you will need to following items:

Eight-ounce plastic spray bottles: In our post-COVID times, obtaining spray bottles can be a bit of hit and miss, but you can usually get a set of eight-ounce bottles on Amazon or even at your local dollar store. The eight-ounce bottles hold a good bit without becoming cumbersome to hold. I recommend a spray bottle with a fine mist rather than a utility bottle for cleaners and such (Those tend to give a fire hose effect that is not always pleasant).

A large bottle of vodka: You will not make a superior product using expensive vodka, so leave the fancy stuff and get the cheapest you can find.

Essential oils: There are numerous resources on the internet to tell you the magical properties of different essential oils. Most of the sources are consistent with their information. You can follow traditional recipes or you can experiment and make your own, using the magical properties resources as a guide to create the effect you want. Make sure the oils you use are skin-safe and not caustic.

Dried herbs, resins: Dried herbs support the essential oils in the fulfillment of your goals. As with the oils, you can find information on the properties of resins and herbs through a quick Google search. Only use herbs if you are creating a “mother bottle” (more on that in a bit) and be sure to strain out all herbal matter before you put the liquid into the spray bottle. Herbs tend to clog the tube to the sprayer.

Small stones: I put small stone chips, usually 1-2 depending on the size, in the bottom of my spray bottles not only to add their own energy to the process, but also to assist with the mixing when we shake the bottle to blend the oils and the vodka.

A small funnel: It is much easier to pour the vodka or the spray mix into a spray bottle if you have a small funnel.

A mesh strainer or cheesecloth: You will need this if you have a mother bottle of spray and need to remove herbal matter before putting the liquid into the spray bottle.

Paper towels or shop towels: I recommend having a whole roll. It is rare for spills not to occur.

A pipette to add oils: This lets you add oils a few drops at a time. Oils have different intensity levels, and it is easier to add more oil than to take it out after you add it.

How Do I Make the Sprays?

There are two ways to make amazing magical sprays, and both will render excellent results.

Slow and Patient

For this method, you will create a designated mother bottle. The mother bottle is where the spray will cure into a strong concentrate that you can then dilute when the time comes to pour it out into the spray bottles.

Vodka is your carrier. As an alcohol, it evaporates quickly, so you are not left with droplets all over your fabric and skin. I tend to pour out four to six ounces of vodka into a clean cup and use the large vodka bottle itself as a mother bottle. I then use a Sharpie marker to write the recipe for my mix onto the mother bottle once I am satisfied with the outcome.

You can also use a quart canning jar or any other large jar with a lid that seals well. You want to leave room in the bottle for your additions and then you can pour the excess vodka back into the mother bottle to top it off once your mix is right.

For any of the recipes given, you can use the appropriate essential oil, herb, or resin, or you can use a combination of them all. For instance, if a recipe calls for lavender and lemongrass, you can use lavender oil, lemongrass oil, lavender flowers or sprigs, and dried lemongrass in any combination. If it calls for frankincense and dragon’s blood, you can use both resins plus the essential oils, or just the resins alone. If you do not use the oils and rely on resins and herbs, you will need to let the spray cure for several weeks to get stronger results. That is why this is the “slow and patient” technique.

I included recipes at the end of this article. In Conjure practice, the idea is that you use what you have readily available, either in your magical cupboard or what you can easily obtain. This will often influence how you make your sprays. None of the recipes here call for exotic, obscure ingredients.

Clear your working space and assemble your ingredients and tools. Make sure your mother bottle has a large amount of vodka in it, but still has room for your additions. Put in your oils first, then your herbs and resins, then your stone.

Close it up and shake it well. Check the smell. If you have not used oils, you may have to wait a week or two for the scent to develop. You will smell the vodka until the scent leaches out of the resins or herbs.

Put the bottle in a cool, dry, dark place to cure and check it once a week. Each week, it will become stronger until it levels out, usually in two or three months. You will know it is ready to use when you no longer smell the vodka.

When the scent is strong, use a mesh strainer or cheesecloth to strain the herbal matter into a measuring cup or another temporary vessel. Drop the stone into your spray bottle and carefully pour the spray mix into the bottle. Dilute the spray mix with additional vodka if it seems too strong.

Secure the cap onto the spray bottle and enjoy your spray.

Fast and Easy

With the fast and easy method, you must use essential oils as there will be no curing time to coax the scents out of the resin and herbs.

Add your stone first. Pour the vodka directly into the spray bottle, leaving approximately 2″ of room in the top to add your oils. Drip your oils in a few drops at a time. Secure the cap, then shake the bottle vigorously. Uncap the bottle.

Close your eyes and center yourself, then smell the product. Does it need more sweetness (add florals)? Does it need more sharpness (try some citrus)? Do you have enough earth tones to it (add herbs)? Keep mixing until you find a blend you love, but carefully note each addition so you can duplicate your recipe later if desired.

You can add resins and herbs to the fast and easy mix, but the herbs will often start to disintegrate over time and clog your spray tube. Resins normally will not do this.

Be careful of adding too much oil or your spray will be sticky. Be sure to add enough oil or your spray will not have a scent. In true Conjure, the scent is not the magic. Instead, the power lies in the properties. Admittedly, I am a fan of the smells.

With either method, be sure to shake your product well before using to mix the vodka and oils.

Recipes

We use sprays for many magical purposes. Here are some of my favorite recipes. They may sound simple, but they pack a powerful energetic punch. You will notice that there are no amounts listed for each ingredient. This is because it is important that you find your own identity with the sprays. Hint: start with equal parts of each ingredient and explore from there. When a recipe requires oil rather than the actual ingredient (such as “cucumber”), I have noted it in the recipe. You can use essential oils or fragrance oils but be careful of oils that have a high synthetic chemical component rather than natural ingredients. Synthetics can interfere with the desired magical properties.

Purification Spray: For a Quick Spiritual Cleanse

Lavender

Lemongrass

Inner Sanctum: To Engage the Higher Self

Nag Champa oil

Dragon’s Blood

Motivation: –To Get People or Situations Moving

Lemon oil

Orange oil

True Romance: To Manifest or Encourage Love

Rose

Patchouli

Healing: To Promote Healing Energy

Cucumber oil

Rose

Protection: To Create a Protective Boundary Around a Person

Dragon’s Blood

Myrrh

Frankincense

Cut & Clear: To Break the Ties That Bind a Person to Another Person, Behavior, or Situation

Peach oil

Cucumber oil

Serenity: To Evoke a Feeling of Calm and Peacefulness

Lavender

Rose

Cedarwood

I hope you enjoy making and using your own magical sprays. They make wonderful gifts and are a fantastic addition to your spiritual cupboard!

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Heartwings Love Notes 996 Secrets of a Happy Relationship

Heartwings says, “Sharing is caring and love prevails with truth.”

On Wednesday, August 18, Stephen and I marked 44 years since the day we met. It’s hard to believe that that much time has passed since then; we were nearly half a century younger. On our first date we discovered that we had almost met when we were both in the same place at the same time but had not been introduced. As luck would have it, Stephen and my late former husband were both working for the same firm, and John had taken me to the office that day. I had made an impression; Stephen remembered the dress I had worn.

Some thirteen years later, I had parted company with John and gone to work. Oddly, Stephen and I were both working for the same person, yet had not met. One day she introduced us. It was quickly clear that we liked one another’s company. However, I felt it was important to stress some things before we spent much time together. These were simple rules I believed were important for a successful relationship—and still do. First and foremost was that we must always be as honest as possible with one another, even if we were afraid the other person might not like what we had to say.

This has helped us to live harmoniously. Another important aspect of our relationship is a willingness to be flexible and to try new things together. Sometimes we have had to agree to disagree. Still, we have tried to be open and adventurous. Respect for one another’s preferences has been another facet in our relationship. We have much in common and some big differences—Stephen grew up eating raw fish, something I cannot do. However, there is much else that we share, including a strong desire to learn and grow.

Moreover, our common goals have been vital to the longevity of our time together. Many have wondered how we could live comfortably with one another in close quarters. A combination of giving one another space and being tolerant has made all the difference. It is easier to be tolerant when one is as in love as we are, and we are even more so after the many years we have passed together. I read once that the faults of the beloved are seen as mere foibles to the lover. When couples treat one another with respect and keep small difficulties from growing into big ones by being honest, harmony and happiness invariably prevail.

May you live happily with those you love as long as you live.

Blessings and best regards, Tasha Halpert

I so enjoy your comments and whatever you like to share of your own

experiences. Do write to me at , and for more Love Notes and other things, please visit my web site at: tashahal@gmail.com

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Go For It

The universe is fully supportive of what you want, but it is up to you to go for it.

There are times in our lives when all the signs seem to be pointing us in a particular direction. Our thoughts and dreams are echoed in the songs and stories we hear and the media we see. Maybe the message we are getting from the universe doesn’t even make sense in the “real” world, but somewhere inside, these urges feel right. Maybe you feel you are being told to move to a new city although your life where you are is just fine. Or maybe you feel the desire to pursue a new direction in your career when it never really interested you before. When we spend time getting in touch with our higher selves, our intuition sends us directives to lead us to become our best and most fulfilled selves. And when we are open and listening, the next step is to take action and go for it.

Once we make the decision to pursue our inner urgings, the universe sets into motion the means for all sorts of details to fall into place. A sense of peace will come over us, because we know that any questions will no longer make us wonder if our dreams are possible, but how to make them happen. Instead of deterring us from our goal, these questions only serve to clarify our focus to move us forward. We need not throw caution to the wind to follow our dream. The positive shift in our energy affects everything around us. Like a rush of water, it goes ahead to clear debris from our path so that we can go forward. Our new attitude also attracts likeminded people. Sometimes even the most unlikely angels arrive to help us along our way with the information and support we need.

Wherever your dreams are pointing you today, take a step. Take action and manifest your inner urges and soul whisperings. 

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Doing Our Best

Your best is always good enough, because it comes from you, and you are always good enough.

We often come into contact with the idea that our best isn’t good enough, as if this were actually possible. If you examine this notion, you will begin to see that it doesn’t make much sense. Your best is always good enough, because it comes from you, and you are always good enough. You may not be able to deliver someone else’s idea of the best, but the good news is that’s not your burden. You only need to fulfill your own potential, and as long as you remain true to that calling, and always do your best to fulfill your purpose, you don’t need to expect anything more from yourself.

It’s easy to get tangled up with the idea of trying to be the best — the best parent, the best employee, the best child, or best friend. If we try to be the best, we run the risk of short-circuiting our originality because we are striving to fit into someone else’s vision of success. In addition, if everyone is striving for the same outcome, we lose out on creativity, diversity, and visionary alternatives to the way things are done. On another note, there is nothing wrong with wanting to improve, but examining where this feeling comes from is important because wanting to be better than others is our ego coming into play.

Letting go of the tendency to hold ourselves up to other people’s standards, and letting go of the belief that we need to compete and win, doesn’t mean we don’t believe in doing the best job we can. We always strive to do our best, because when we do we create a life free of regret, knowing we have performed to the best of our ability. This allows us to feel great personal satisfaction in all of our efforts, regardless of how others perceive the outcome. 

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Ghost Hunting Theories

Bonfires and Urban Legends: Backyard Fun!

Bonfires and scary tales – the perfect event for late summer and autumn

Here’s some good bonfire recipes:

Banana dessert (I make this on every camping trip) Take a banana, slice it down the middle lengthwise. Spread peanut butter, put in miniature chocolate chips. Wrap in foil. Heat a few minutes. Eat with a spoon.

Classy smores  Heat two marshmallows over fire until gooey. Lay out a cookie (any type), put some Hershey’s candy bar rectangles on it, slide the marshmallows onto the chocolate, place another cookie over top.

Building a Bonfire

Sturdy logs, kindling in between, seems like a no-brainer, but some folks have trouble starting their fires and keeping them growing. You can also use dried up bark or stripping from a pine tree to help get the initial flames going, but kindling (small twigs) and bigger logs help in the different phases of building a fire and making it roar.

Campfire Tales (from this site that has more). The key to good campfire tales is to play up the urban legends, escaped maniacs, killers, ghosts, and woodland monsters. Tell the story as if it were a true event that occurred in the past (think Blair Witch Project).

La Llorona:  Once there was a widow who wished to marry a rich nobleman. However, the nobleman did not want to raise another man’s children and he dismissed her. The widow was determined to have the nobleman for her own, so the widow drowned her children to be free of them. When she told the nobleman what she had done, he was horrified and would have nothing more to do with her. As she left him, the widow was overcome by the terrible crime she had committed and went to the river, looking for her children. But they were gone. She drowned herself and her spirit was condemned to wander the waterways, weeping and searching for her children until the end of time.

Ghost:   The train rumbled around him as he adjusted the throttle. The night shift was always the toughest, in the engineer’s mind. He had rumbled through Timpas a few minutes ago and was on his way to Thatcher. Not a bad stretch of road, and there was no better train in the entire Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad.

He stretched a bit and yawned, trying to stay alert. And then he gasped. The lights had picked up the figure of a beautiful woman with long red-gold hair and wonderful blue eyes standing near the tracks. Too near! He sounded his horn to warn her away and then he realized that the light was shining right through her. She was a ghost!

She stepped into the center of the track, laughing and beautiful. She disappeared seconds before the train rushed through her. And then she was there, in the engine cab next to him. The scent of roses filled the air. He stared at the ghostly vision, bewitched by her beauty. With an enticing smile, she wrapped ghostly arms about his neck and kissed him. And was gone.

Dazed (and disappointed!), the engineer finished the run to Thatcher in a trance, completely forgetting to stop at the station. The fireman had to pour water on his head to snap him out of it.

The engineer decided not to tell anyone about the ghost, fearing for his job. But he was plagued by curiousity. Finally, he confided the story to a close friend who was a fellow engineer. To his surprise, the friend had heard about the ghost before. The ghost’s appearance on the train was by no means uncommon. No one knew who the woman had been in life. But she always appeared on that stretch of track after dark, beckoning to the men on the railroad crew with a bewitching smile. Sometimes, said his friend, sometimes she would come right onto the train!

“Better not tell your wife about it,” his friend advised.

The engineer never did.

Maco Light  On a night in 1867, at the small Brunswick County station of Maco fifteen miles west of Wilmington, a slow freight train was puffing down the track. In the caboose was Joe Baldwin, the flagman. A jerking noise startled him, and he was aware that his caboose had become uncoupled from the rest of the train, which went heedlessly on its way. As the caboose slackened speed, Joe looked up and saw the beaming light of a fast passenger train bearing down upon him. Grabbing his lantern, he waved it frantically to warn the oncoming engineer of the imminent danger. It was too late. At a trestle over the swamp, the passenger train plowed into the caboose. Joe was decapitated: his head flew into the swamp on one side of the track, his lantern on the other. It was days before the destruction caused by the wreck was cleared away. And when Joe’s head could not be found, his body was buried without it.

Thereafter on misty nights, Joe’s headless ghost appeared at Maco, a lantern in its hand. Anyone standing at the trestle first saw an indistinct flicker moving up and down, back and forth. Then the beam swiftly moved forward, growing brighter and brighter as it neared the trestle. About fifty feet away it burst into a brilliant, burning radiance. After that, it dimmed, backed away down the track, and disappeared.

It was Joe with his lantern, of course. But what was he doing? Was he looking for his head? Or was he trying to signal an approaching train?

In 1889 President Grover Cleveland, on a political campaign, saw the mysterious light, as have hundreds of people throughout the years. But in 1977 when the railroad tracks were removed and the swamp reclaimed his haunting grounds, Joe seems to have lost interest in Maco. At least, he has not been seen there lately.

Book of Spooky Campfire Tales

It may not be bonfire weather yet, but you might try a modified version – how about candlelight and a classic movie for those kind of nights –

Do you live in an apartment?

How about the sentimental scent of a bonfire?

Camping Scents

(I have these and made candles out of them and put some in vodka in a spray bottle to mist fabrics and the room with the scent)

This fake fire and some homemade smores (I put my graham cracks in toaster oven with marshmallows on one half and chocolate bar on the other half and heat under toaster setting)

I would use the scent, the fake fire, the smores, and then add the best scary bonfire tales movie that gives you all the chills of urban legends – LOVE IT!!!!

Campfire Tales

Enjoy the darkness surrounding you and the hope found in the focus of light and warmth. This is what legends are made of!

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Gilberto Rides Again Chapter 15

by Stephen Halpert

Gilberto left Smith and Rain at the Sushi Bar. On his way back to Atlas he stopped to window shop on Washington Street. Fetching leather bikinis on curvy store manikins caught his eye. Momentarily, he fantasized about Maria playfully flirting with him as together they ran into the ocean.

Then a blurry reflection in the window caught his eye. Someone was creeping up behind him. He swirled, jumped sideways, hopeful of surprising whoever this was. But no such luck. Like earlier that day, the street was practically deserted. Whoever this was knew how to disappear into thin air.

What Sara Midgley had told him was beginning to made sense. But who? Why? Despite Smith’s thinking to the contrary, somehow this had to tie in to the Clay Calhoun acquisition. What else could have prompted it?

Back at Atlas he stopped in at Sara Midgley’s office. She looked up from her paperwork, eyebrows raised.

He spoke abruptly. “How long has it been, do you think, that someone has wanted to kill you?”

She shrank back in her chair, shock on her face. “S-since that d-day when someone b-broke into my condo.”

Forcefully: “Give me more description, more details.”

Her face flushed. “You’re barging in this way confuses me.”  Her breathing quickened; her chest heaved. She squirmed in her chair. “Now you’ve gotten me all aroused. How can you do this to me?”

“I’m not looking for compliments, Sara. Please, just stick to the point.”

She glared. “Damn you. Have you no compassion. Must you always be made of stone?”

“Sara I’m trying to figure this out the best way I can. Please, just stick to the facts.”

She sighed. “Like I told you earlier when I’m out, I get the sense someone’s close behind me, practically breathing down my neck. I turn to look but I never see anyone.”

He frowned wanting more details. “Out where?”

“Anywhere–the mall, the super market, going into the Post Office; when I’m just trying to relax and taking a walk in the in the Public Gardens.”

“But you haven’t seen anyone, you’ve heard nothing? No idea if it’s male or female?”

Her face flushed. “Isn’t that enough? What made you barge in here anyway?”

“It’s probably nothing, but going to lunch and again walking back I had a sense I was being tailed. Can’t explain it better than that. When I looked no one was there.”

She smiled sympathetically. ” Yes, I understand. Me too. Now you know what’s undoing me.”

He pulled over a chair and sat. “So, any idea who it might be or why?”

She shrugged. “It’s obvious to me that it’s someone who wants me out of the way–maybe seeking revenge? But for what I have no idea.”

He shook his head. “Possibly someone from your past? Someone familiar with you and your husband?”

Her “No,” was explosive. “Believe me if you knew about our marriage you wouldn’t presume something like that. We led our own lives; we were hardly ever together.”

He waited but she said nothing more. He scratched his head. “I get the feeling there’s a lot about this merger I don’t know.”

He watched her carefully. She took a breath. Then she said. “Nothing that hasn’t already been reported in the papers, except…” She grimaced. “No secrets that have been revealed, at least none yet.”

He looked at her eagerly. “What secrets?”

“Oh, I was joking,” she waved her hand. “Sometimes I say things that are meaningless. Haven’t you found that’s true a lot these days?” 

He sensed she was covering up something. “If you want my help you’ve got to let me in on what’s going on.”

“Not much, really.” She paused, frowned, lowered her voice. “This is just between us, confidential. But as soon as the ink dries, Buzz want to turn Clay Calhoun over to a Chinese firm.”

“Doesn’t that sort of deal happen often?”

Yes, it does. But I fear the old guard at Clay Calhoun aren’t stupid. Being as it’s small-town operation, there’s fear of workers losing their livelihoods.”

“And?” he prompted.

“If something were to happen that could hinder the merger…”

“You mean something like murder,” he grinned.

But she frowned. “Funny?” Her eyes widened. Her head swayed and he feared she’s faint.

He reached to steady her. She flung her arms around him gasping. “Oh, Gilberto please, stay with me, for just a little bit.”

He ignored her moan. “Here,” he handed her a cup of water from the pitcher on her desk. “Drink this.”

She clutched his hand. “You are such a strong man. Tell me what to do, I’ll do anything you say.”

“Stop wearing that damn perfume.”

She looked confused. “You mean that’s all I have to do to have you.”

“I didn’t say that.”

She smiled. “Oh please stop being so serious.”

“Maybe the ghost of your deceased husband has it in for you.” He didn’t expect her reaction.

Her face reddened, her hands shook. Then she cried. “May he rot in hell for what he put me through.”

Was he getting somewhere? “Go on.”

“No. It’s irrelevant.” Her face was tight.

“Nothing’s irrelevant if you’re looking for a motive for murder.”

She stood up, her face flushed, her mouth firm. “Go to hell,” she cried. “That was long ago, far away. Mind your own business!”

What was going on? “Sara?”

“I mean it. Get out of here.” She gasped. “Go away. You’re no help at all. You’re just kicking up dirt.”

He shook his head, sighed and left. She was impossible to figure out, yet in that jumble of words there had to be some clues. Were there clues to be found in the relationship with her late husband. It was a mystery.

Next, he stopped by his office, picked up the thick merger folder and started for home. In two days, he and Maria, plus other members of Atlas would be flying out of Boston for Greenbush, North Carolina.

(To be Continued)  

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Kitty Kat’s Korner

Cat Tip of the Month: When your beloved cat crosses the Rainbow Bridge, be open to the paranormal. They may wish to come back and visit from time to time.

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What Flowers are Dangerous to Cats?

By Beth Ann Mayer

Roses are red, violets are blue, you love your sweetheart but want to keep your cat safe, too.

Whether it’s Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day or any day, flowers can bring a smile to a person’s face. But some plants pose health and safety risks for cats.

The good news: Roses are safe. The bad news: Some other favorite flowers are not. To help you figure out what flowers to keep out of your cat’s reach, we phoned Veterinary Emergency Group (VEG) Chief Medical Officer Lisette Lewis, DVM.

Are lilies dangerous to cats?

These flowers, which bloom in late spring, are especially popular around Easter. But they’re extremely dangerous for cats. “If a cat eats a lily, it’s going to cause kidney toxicosis,” says Dr. Lewis, adding that even a small portion of any part of the plant can harm Kitty. Sometimes, florists will label flowers as lilies that aren’t true lilies. “It’s got to be Hemerocallis or Lilium for it to be a true lily plant and cause the kidney problem,” Dr. Lewis says. Check the label or ask the florist to clarify what type of lily it is. If in doubt, opt for something else or plan to put it somewhere your cat can’t get it.

Look for vomiting, lethargy and a lack of appetite. Unfortunately, there’s more bad news: It can take one to five days for these symptoms to present, and by then Dr. Lewis says it may be too late. “If you think your cat got into a lily, consult a vet,” she advises.

Are poinsettias dangerous to cats?

You may have already heard poinsettias are toxic to animals. The reality is they aren’t good for them, but the risks are a bit overstated. “It’s not life-threatening,” Dr. Lewis says. That said, if a cat ingests a poinsettia, they may have some not-so-fun symptoms, such as vomiting. “It’s irritating to the mouth and stomach,” Dr. Lewis says.

Are tulips dangerous to cats?

These spring-blooming perennials look gorgeous when mixed into bouquets, but you’ll want to keep it out of reach of Kitty. “If a cat eats one, they are going to be lethargic and quiet,” Dr. Lewis says. Diarrhea is often a side effect that usually appears six to 12 hours after ingestion. The worst part of a tulip is the bulb, so if your cat is indoors, you can mitigate this risk by snipping the stem and putting it in a vase.

Are daisies dangerous to cats?

This classic flower is fun to put in your hair, a crown or a bouquet. But keep it out of reach of your cat. “It can cause incoordination sometimes,” Dr. Lewis says. Other symptoms include diarrhea, salivation and vomiting. You’ll want to get the vet on the phone for this one. Left untreated, ingesting daisies can be fatal.

Are peonies dangerous to cats?

The holy grail of wedding flowers, peonies are toxic for cats. Symptoms, including vomiting, lethargy, and diarrhea, typically present within about six hours, Dr. Lewis says.

What to do if your cat eats a flower?

Though lilies and daisies may carry the most risk, different cats may have different reactions after eating plants. It’s best to call a vet. If the vet calls you in, Dr. Lewis advises to “bring any information you have on the flower,” including labels or tags on a bouquet that explain what plants are in it. There’s not usually an antidote, but the vet can usually treat your cat. “There’s not anything we can do to reverse the effects, but we can” induce them to vomit…and get three-fourths of the flower,” Dr. Lewis says. Your cat can make a full recovery.

Prevention is the best mitigation, so try to keep plants out of reach of your cat.

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Georgia Nichol’s Weekly Horoscope: Sunday, August 22, 2021

All Signs

For the next four weeks, the Sun is in Virgo, which is a blessing because it will heighten everyone’s awareness of hygiene and the transmission of disease. Virgo is the sign that rules the intestines, and they’re big on “health and wellness.” (Of course, they eat junk food, but when they do – they “know” they’re doing it. “I love these!”) Not only will we all be more health conscious, we will also be sharp-eyed and discerning because this too, is a classic Virgo trait. (“His black socks don’t match!”) And because Virgos are great mimics – we’ll all be doing different accents! British accent: Justin Biebah. American: Justin Biebur. Australian: Jastin Baybah. (Wasn’t that fun?)

Aries (March 21-April 19)

Some of you are still in party mode and will continue partying for the next few weeks. You want to play! You want to escape on a vacation! You want hot, sizzling romance! You might also be more involved with sports and fun activities with kids. However, if you are an earlier Aries, you already have been playing. For the next four weeks, everyone will want to get back to work and get organized. You’re ready to work hard and you want to work smart. In other words, you want the best bang for your buck. Not only do you want to be productive and efficient, you also want to be healthier and pumped! (I’m impressed.)

Taurus (April 20-May 20)

You’re entering a four-week window of fun! Barbecues, good times at the beach, vacations, romantic get-togethers and playful activities with kids are on the menu. You’ll be up for this because, who loves their creature comforts more than you? Grab every chance for a stimulating getaway, even if it’s just for a weekend. Make fun and pleasure your motto. However, if you were born after May 10th, you have these good times to look forward to. For the next few weeks, your focus is on home, family and dealing with increased chaos. Fear not, you can pull it all together. And after you’ve succeeded in creating order at home – then you will enter your stretch of fun and play!

Gemini (May 21-June 20)

Later Geminis continue to enjoy a fast-paced, busy time full of errands, appointments, increased time with friends, siblings and relatives, plus lots of reading and writing. (You’re running around with an outboard motor on your butt!) Fortunately, you like stimulation because you don’t do boring. However, for most Geminis, the next four weeks focus on home, family and your private life. You might be more involved with a parent. Expect increased chaos and activity at home. Don’t worry; you can cope because you’re flexible. Family conversations. Home repairs. To keep the peace, be patient with loved ones.

Cancer (June 21-July 22)

Cancers born after July 4th, still have a strong focus on money, cash flow and earnings. You also might spend more than usual. (Fortunately, you have moneymaking ideas.) This is a good time to reorganize the stuff you own – (and believe me you own lot because you can’t throw anything away.) If you were born before July 4th, you notice the tempo of your daily life accelerating because you’re busy with errands, short trips and tasks. You might be reading and writing more. In a matter of weeks, all Cancers will all be busy. Your communication skills will be tops, which means this is a strong time for those in sales, marketing, acting, teaching and writing. You will be heard!

Leo (July 23-Aug. 22)

For those born after Aug. 10th, this continues to be a powerful time as you attract people and favourable situations to you. Oh yeah, make hay while the Sun shines! Those born before Aug. 10th, will notice an increasing focus on money, cash flow and earnings. You might have excellent moneymaking ideas. You might also make some major purchases. At a deeper level, something will occur that makes you think about your values and what’s really important in life. (Later Leos will experience this in a few weeks.) What you need to do is take a realistic look at your possessions and figure out what to keep. Some things are not worth the effort to store and maintain. Time to tidy up!

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22)

For the next four weeks, the Sun is in your sign. Yay! This happens only once a year and when it does, it means it’s your chance to recharge your batteries for the rest of the year. This is a fortunate blessing! You will attract people and favourable situations to you; and you will be empowered and energetic. Your confidence will grow. (Don’t be too pushy in close relationships, because it’s easy to be cocky when the Sun is in your sign.) Having said that, this is the one time of year when it’s appropriate to put your own needs first. Think about it. If you don’t take care of yourself, how can you be a strong resource for others? But right now – It’s all about you.

Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22)

This is a time of limbo for you because your personal year is ending but your new year is not yet ready to begin. Therefore, the next four weeks are for some serious thinking. What do you want for your new year ahead? Ideally, it’s time to set some goals because they give you a clearer focus on what is important to you. Goals also give you more clarity in future decision-making. They offer better control over your future and give you a sense of purpose. Make time to sit down and define what you want for yourself in the future and how you want next year to be different from last year. It’s also a good time for research. (Btw: If you think something fishy is going on behind the scenes – it is.)

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21)

Most of you will enjoy increased popularity in the next four weeks. You will be eager to communicate to friends. You will be equally eager to communicate to clubs, groups and large organizations. Many will interact more than usual with younger people. Very likely, some of you will be physically involved, perhaps in competitive athletics because there is definitely a competitive energy present between you and a friend, or you and a group, or working with a group. This is also an excellent time to formulate goals because goals will give you a clearer focus on what is important to you and make future decision-making easier. Goals help you stay on target.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 21)

Those of you who are born after Dec. 10th, might still be travelling or making travel plans or figuring out ways to expand your horizons. Higher education might be a strong focus. However, the next four weeks are very powerful for your sign because the Sun is at the top of your chart casting you in a flattering spotlight. This can happen only once a year and when it does, almost as if by magic, you look fabulous in the eyes of bosses, parents, teachers and VIPs. People admire you – and you don’t even have to do anything special! (It’s smoke and mirrors.) This is timely because your ambition is aroused and you’re ready to talk to the head honcho to see what you can swing. Good luck!

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 19)

The next four weeks are a mix. Initially, in the next week, you are still tying up loose details with inheritances, taxes, debt and shared property. Take care of this because “loose details” don’t suit you. When it comes to money – you like tidy. Basically, your month ahead is full of travel opportunities and chances to broaden your horizons. Many of you will learn more either through formal education or signing up for a course, or you might educate yourself in the ways of the world. The next several weeks are an excellent time to study and finish an important paper. Heady topics like politics, religion and racial issues will appeal. (Sounds profound.)

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 18)

Some of you will continue to need more sleep, especially Aquarians born after Feb. 10th. (Yawn.) Your focus on close partnerships is still intense. Nevertheless, in the broader picture, the next four weeks will introduce passionate issues, and many of these issues will relate to shared property, inheritances and anything to do with the wealth and resources of someone else – probably your partner. There might be disputes. There will certainly be discussions. While all this is going on, secretly, you want to travel somewhere and “get away from it all.” While lucky Jupiter is in your sign, there’s no reason you can’t pull this off! Eh wot?

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20)

For the next four weeks, the Sun is opposite your sign. In your chart, this is as far away from you as it can get all year, which means you will need more sleep because the Sun represents your energy. Don’t push yourself. Take it easy. Very likely, you will be focused on partnerships. Expect intense discussions, and possibly – disputes. In part, this could be due to the fact that with Mars opposite your sign, you are easily annoyed with others. (“They’re annoying!”) Well, they can’t help it; and you can’t change them. Consider this an opportunity to practise patience. Not always fun to do but a valuable trait to cultivate and own.

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Weekly Horoscopes beginning Sunday, 22 August 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.

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Aries

Personal theme: I am!!

Fire & cardinal sign: March 21 — April 19

Your horoscope for this week:

Thrilling as the ideas or offers triggered by the current link between your ruler Mars and inventive Uranus are, they’d mean relinquishing control, something you, as an Aries, resist ferociously. This once, go with the flow. Within days, if not hours, events won’t just reveal how wise this was, and what arises next will turn dreams into reality more swiftly than you imagined possible.

You’ve been excited to start on plans that will give you a chance to learn something new. Now you have the green light you will eagerly throw yourself into this project. Any job that allows you to be creative and to use your imagination will bring you pleasure. Friends and workmates are helpful and it will feel good to get some useful tips from those who are more experienced.

There are, as you know, so many different ways to chase dreams. Sometimes it’s through presentation and fashion style, at other times it’s chasing a romantic ideal, – and at other times simply chasing your tail. Be prepared to experience all of these before month end. Fact is that however determined you are to be ordered, efficient and have your life running smoothly it might seem that there is always just one more thing you have to do before you achieve results. Career wise you could shoot yourself in the foot by never finishing what you’ve started or through self-sabotage and lack of confidence. The art is likely to talk yourself into completing a task as well as you can and ensuring that your language is never self-critical. View this as a confidence-building week.

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Taurus

Personal theme: I have!!

Earth & fixed sign: April 20 — May 20

Your horoscope for this week:

Appealing as the ideas or good fortune coming your way may be, you won’t necessarily be thrilled about the nature of events or the direction they’re taking you; but that’s the point. This isn’t about sticking with what you know. So go with the flow, aware that each day’s experiences are bringing you closer to understanding and, eventually, rejoicing in developments as unexpected as they are worthwhile.

It won’t be easy to be patient when with those who constantly complain and there may even be occasions when you feel you are the one who is being picked on. This doesn’t matter because even though there may be tension at the start, the week should end on a promising note. A family matter will be resolved if you are willing to make a few changes. Use your imagination to find solutions. Experiment with new ideas.

There is still significant planetary attention on research, development and improving latent talents and hobbies. This theme increases in volume around this time of year every year. What’s special about 2021, is that you may now be acutely aware of what you’ve apparently lost or mislaid in recent times. The art is likely not to dwell on what has been, but rather to find some focus on what could yet be. A new career path may be opening. Improved lines of communication (i.e., discovering who can advance your cause) might not come until the very last days of August but, in the interim, you could perhaps tune in to losses felt by others and how their confidence can be rebuilt. The process should teach you something about how you handle yourself too. Indeed, by the time the Moon reaches your sign on Friday, your words of wisdom could have surprising impact – on you!

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Gemini

Personal theme: I think!!

Air sign: May 21 — June 20

Your horoscope for this week:

Recent events forced a sudden rethink of longstanding plans. Annoying as this is initially, within days you’ll realise you’re now free to pursue ideas or offers as thrilling as they are unexpected. The secret? Say a tentative yes, then do some serious fact-finding. What you learn will enable you to organise plans, current and for the future, in a way that’s as wise as it is profitable.

Your imagination has a habit of running away with itself. If you’re nervous about starting a new job or something you’ve had no experience with before, try to curb your over active mind. You don’t want to be a bag of nerves before you even get started. You might finally succeed in tracking down an old friend or colleague you’ve been trying to reach for ages. Arrangements you make together will give you something to look forward to.

Though you might agree that it’s time to undertake asset management: including both your experience, skills, talents as much as your financial position. Though you might start the week with the best of intentions to have lists to work with, it’s probable that distractions will get in the way and or you will overlook something major. That may not be a negative. It may be that whatever the item or service is, has fluctuating value in any case and will require further assessment in a couple of months’ time. For now, it’s likely still important to focus on minutiae and, in particular, consider how you could better invest your time to improve a skill that has been for too long overlooked. Indeed, it may be that mid-week, you dust off items that have been stored, disturbing memories of talents that have been left behind. All this could spur realignment and reconnection with a group whose support could take you to that magical next level.

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Cancer

Personal theme: I feel!!

Water & cardinal sign: June 21 — July 22

Your horoscope for this week:

You’ve been in a cycle that’s focused on your priorities. While this involves money and your ideas, it’s also about what and who is worth your time. Recent events have raised questions about such matters. Tempting as it is to rush into a course of study, if not changes, instead concentrate on broadening your horizons. This could take you in a direction as unfamiliar as it is intriguing.

Happiness will be found in activities with friends. A neighbour might introduce you to a hobby you will want to learn more about and you’re starting to feel an increased need to enjoy the company of someone special. You could be the one to step into a leadership role as you instigate some strong-willed teamwork. You have the energy and ability to pull everyone together to achieve a mutual goal. Ease up a little as the weekends and give yourself a break.

Your imagination could be in freefall by mid-week: and that may not a bad thing. True, your hopes and dreams may not be fully costed, and a reality check likely needed next month, for now though, you could envisage a different future: one where your window on the world is much wider. Take care that others don’t sap your energy mid-week. One of the big themes this week is about confidence or lack thereof. Too many people may be using you as a sounding board. There is real danger of them sapping both your mental, physical and emotional energy in the process. You will likely need time-out to consider your aims and, through useful conversation toward the end of the week, defining a strategy that would assist you to get you to the next step by mid-September. With Venus now moving over the base of your solar chart, this should be considered an optimum week for improving work life balance.

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Leo

Personal theme: I will!!

Fire & fixed sign: July 23 — August 22

Your horoscope for this week:

The past month wasn’t just about your birthday, it was about life-changing ideas, offers and encounters. While you benefit from the courage that comes with being a fire sign, you can be anxious about venturing into unfamiliar territory; and this cycle is about exactly that. If you can’t say an enthusiastic yes to what’s come your way, just don’t say no. You’ll soon learn the reason why.

You could never be happy to be stuck in a corner or confined to dreary routines. You will be serious about your responsibilities but you want more for yourself now and you are aiming high. Recently you have begun to see the larger picture. You have an uncanny sixth sense and this can be relied on. An interest in alternative medicine could lead you to signing up for an online study course. A friend might be keen to join you.

Just how organised or how messy can you be? It may have been more than apparent in recent weeks that you fluctuate between extremes. It would be understandable if you felt overwhelmed; especially post Sunday’s Full Moon but, by Wednesday, the mood should be quite different. Perhaps you do need assistance? A Cancer, Scorpio or Pisces friend could perhaps assist. They understand the value of memory and might help select that which you really, really need to keep. A further, and strong possibility is that renewed contact with someone you worked or studied with will have significant impact. It may be that their lives too have altered direction and though your paths are very different, that shared experience of trauma brings you to conclusions you wouldn’t have reached alone. Note too, that with Venus now moving through Leo’s key communication sector that there is strong possibility of building fresh connections and for your social network to expand.

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Virgo

Personal theme: I analyse!!

Earth sign: August 23 — September 22

Your horoscope for this week:

Since mid-August you’ve been rethinking and, often, reorganising elements of your life and future plans. This process intensifies but also becomes more exciting. The trick? Learn all you can about everything and everybody you encounter. While, obviously, you won’t pursue it all, what you learn will benefit you in terms of encounters, unexpected insights and, possibly completely new adventures. Practicalities and lasting decisions? They can wait.

The work scene could be tense due to someone having made some careless mistakes. You will feel annoyed because your own approach to this job has been careful and now your hard work has been ruined by their carelessness. Life at home brings most happiness. A heart-to-heart conversation with someone special helps you understand their current hopes and wishes. You will want to do all you can to help turn their dreams into reality.

It’s often suggested that Virgos arrive on the planet with master degrees in worry. Every so often your competence and experience in this area is so, so on show (i.e., you take these traits into over-drive). Be careful at the start of this week that you’re not so fretful that others feel they can’t either add to your workload or bring you a problem that you need to know about. It may be that what’s offered is a near-perfect challenge. True, there might be financial incentive and yes, this could be money in the bank for later rather than now. There’s high probability that having negotiated difficult times in recent weeks, that you are overdue for experiencing some smooth running. Don’t jinx that by dwelling too much on what could go wrong. Rather, it might be wise to get into the habit of thinking that solutions are close by and that by delegating some tasks you’re giving someone else an opportunity.

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Libra

Personal theme: I balance!!

Air & cardinal sign: September 23 — October 22

Your horoscope for this week:

You’re currently reviewing elements of the past. You’re also considering future plans, yet can’t actually finalise them. Once that’s clear, everything else will make sense. This includes the reason why you’re saying farewell to certain plans or alliances, while unsure what’s next. Be patient. Some insights surface this week, others only after early October’s Libra New Moon. What arises then will be worth waiting for.

You’re restless and can’t decide what you really want to do. You keep changing your long-term plans and this can confuse those around you. Later, you will notice a growing optimism. A friend who is a gambler at heart is enjoying a lucky streak and you’re starting to trust your own hunches. As the week ends you will just want to get out with friends. You’re definitely in the mood for some major treats.

They say that work is hard. Certainly, it is plentiful. There are times when there’s just so much to do. You could feel justifiably overwhelmed as of Monday. By Wednesday the mood should be so very different. Possibly because others then see what needs to be done and indeed, have better ideas as to what could be tackled first, you may find a support system you didn’t know existed. Then, by Friday, when the Moon reaches another of the Venus-ruled signs, Taurus, and recalling that Venus is presently travelling through your own sign, you could find both a style and a rhythm that allows you to enjoy newly created order. True, it’s likely to be early 2022 before you agree that you’ve negotiated a hurdle. By the end of this week though, you should be reassured that that time will come; bringing with it renewed affiliations with those you haven’t encountered for a while.

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Scorpio & Ophiuchus

Personal theme: I desire!!

Water & fixed signs: October 23 — November 21

Your horoscope for this week:

Over the past few weeks, you’ve faced a range of appealing encounters and offers. Yet, as a Scorpio, you’re uncomfortable plunging into even seemingly wise options, so have retreated to reflect on these. This once, do the reverse. If you can’t plunge in, say a tentative yes. With things moving so swiftly, these options will vanish and the odds are good that you’ll regret having hesitated. or.

You may not feel entirely supported emotionally by your partner and family. Misunderstandings cause tension between you. For now, there seems to be more respect coming your way in the workplace and out in your community so go where you do feel appreciated. Money news is good, but you’re advised to avoid extravagance particularly on Thursday and Friday. It will be hard to justify a purchase which turns out to be a complete waste of money.

There is something forensic about the Scorpio personality. It does seem that you like to dig deep. The problem with that process, is that unless you’re careful along the way, it can seem as though you’re simply creating mess. True, as they say, ‘where there’s muck there’s brass’ and yes, midst of all the chaos, treasures can be found. It might help this week to tackle a project in partnership. The right person could come along before the end of this month. What you need is their practicality. At a quite different level, – and arguably away from work, – you could align with a team whom have built their way up by maintaining a rhythm that allowed for disruption. The fact that they haven’t allowed anything to get in the way of their long-term goal will likely be inspiring and, before the end of this week, encourage you to reach out and reconnect with someone who would help you do the same.

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Sagittarius

Personal theme: I see!!

Fire sign: November 22 — December 21

Your horoscope for this week:

While you’ve been thriving on the current fast pace, others are complaining or anxious. Yet some decisions are pressing and a few need everybody’s agreement. Tedious as winning those who’re struggling with doubts may be, this isn’t just vital, you’re learning a lot in the process. Once things are agreed, ensure arrangements are flexible, as there’ll be numerous twists and turns over the weeks to come.

Domestic commitments will keep you on your toes. An older relative will get into a panic over a matter that can be easily resolved. It won’t take long before you are able to ease their mind. Although you have plenty to do of your own, you won’t turn away from a friend or neighbour who could do with your talents in dealing with a pressing or difficult task. It will be a pleasure to be able to help them out.

With so much planetary attention at the apex of your solar chart, and accepting now that aims and objectives have now altered- perhaps dramatically, – it’s perhaps time to refine plans. In a few months’ time there will be a solar eclipse in your sign. Obviously, much depends on your actual birthday, but there is every likelihood that all Sagittarians will be moving off in slightly altered career direction. Connections need to be made and this could be the optimum week for doing precisely that. Reconnecting with those you haven’t encountered- perhaps for as much as a couple of years, – may be important and helpful. What might also need to be addressed, – and more seriously than in the past, is how you look after yourself and your health. Minor dietary adjustment could make positive difference. It’s quite possible too, that the impact of a health professional’s near throwaway remark, might also be helpful.

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Capricorn

Personal theme: I use!!

Earth & cardinal sign: December 22 — January 19

Your horoscope for this week:

Nobody is better at spotting worthwhile new pursuits or alliances. These could add to your life and, possibly, others’. However, not only are you worryingly short of facts, the actual foundation of plans is shifting. While, ordinarily, you’d wait and watch, you’re encouraged to plunge in. This enables you to ask frank questions and, in the process, allows you to clarify your own perspective and priorities.

You and a partner no longer share the same hopes for the future. Differences over job or family plans could cause a lot of tension between you. If one of you wants to move closer to family or is planning on a big career change, be ready to thoroughly discuss the pros and cons. You have reached a turning point of your life, but don’t be too hasty to take the first attractive opportunity that comes along.

You will be far from the only sign of the zodiac to consider tidying things up. From sorting things out in your head, to archiving and general organisations, it could feel right to address issues that are long-standing. As you probably know, yours is one of the Cardinal signs of the zodiac, – suggesting traits of leadership, determination and goal setting. Yet even you can lose the plot. It might help to think of yourself as an eagle presently. Rather than deal with too much minutiae mid-week especially it’s perhaps time to take the long view. Whilst it is likely that some around you (notably Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces colleagues) might seem to be in a flap, your role may be to take things steady and yes, maintain perspective. In this respect, and with the possibility of an interesting offer coming your way by Friday, you might benefit from planning time out so that you can be alone with your own thoughts.

Aquarius

Personal theme: I know!!

Air & fixed sign: January 20 — February 18

Your horoscope for this week:

True, every sign is benefitting from the current cycle of powerful planetary activity. However, yours began with the first of the rare pair of Full Moons in Aquarius, on 24 July. This triggered exciting breakthroughs. This weekend’s second Full Moon in your sign brings events, changes and your feelings to a head. Unsure what’s wise? The more adventurous you are, the more you’re likely to benefit.

You’ve taken on so much you can’t possibly do it all on your own. Family and friends will prove exceptionally helpful. You shouldn’t feel awkward about asking for a favour or two when you need it. An older colleague will be happy to give you some advice or assistance. You may not see quite the enthusiasm you expected for a new project but there are people who will volunteer to join you.

Just before the Sun leaves your opposite sign on Sunday, there is a Full Moon in your sign. This could mark a special moment. Perhaps you now sense that you have to move on but at different pace. Health issues could be involved, or perhaps there are major organisational issues to address. You won’t be the only sign of the zodiac to feel overwhelmed or all at sea as the working week begins. Know though that this is temporary. Hold onto the thought too, that you are playing for the long term. Yes, you might need assistance, but investments made – both in time and focus – should pay off. Recall that this year (2021), your two ruling planets are at right angle to one another as they were at the turn of the millennium and again during the global financial crisis. These were major years for the whole planet. Obviously much depends on your age, but perhaps you can identify with those years as being key markers on your life journey. What’s special about this week is the way in which you choose to anchor yourself and to identify next steps.

———— ———– ———- ——— ——– ——- —— —– —- — — –

Pisces

Personal theme: I believe!!

Water sign: February 19 — March 20

Your horoscope for this week:

Most Pisceans learnt long ago that not everybody shares your unique vision, both in terms of future possibilities and regarding others. While, mostly, you’ve learnt to navigate around this, at the moment you need the support of certain individuals. The secret? Finding a way to explain your vision in everyday language. As you’ll realise, this is essential. You’ve done it before and you can again.

You’re getting asked for a lot of advice from people who are struggling. All you can do is speak from your own experience and hope this might give them some comfort. You’re thinking of making some big changes and these plans could affect more people than you realise. For in trying to make your life a little easier, this could leave someone else in the lurch. Is this something you really want to do?

With the Sun now moving through your opposite sign, we are at that time of year when Pisces focus is on relationships and apparently how ordered and organised other people are; but are they really? Your sign has a reputation for losing things or apparently living life in a trance. That’s slightly unkind. It would perhaps do you good to realise that others occasionally get things ‘wrong’ too. You also have the magic gift of finding that which is elusive. That trait should be to the fore mid-week. Don’t underestimate your magic touch. There are times when you make spectacular connection. Not only could you do precisely that this week, you might also – as with many other people, make a re-connection. In your case, this could push you up an administrative tree. It may be that you are exactly the right person for a job which a year ago didn’t exist, but is now deemed essential.

From 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

http://GoddessSchool.com

Healing Arts and Pagan Studies

http://Goddessschool.com/Paganstudies/index.html

http://Goddessschool.com/Paganstudies/healingarts.html

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Healing Arts and Pagan Studies

http://Goddessschool.com/Paganstudies/index.html

http://Goddessschool.com/Paganstudies/healingarts.html

Buy GrannyMoon a cup of coffee?!?!

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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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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!”

Goddess Bless!

GrannyMoon

By GrannyMoon Posted in Pagan

GrannyMoon’s Weekly Feast: 15 August 2021

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

Today’s Affirmation

Even when I am afraid or unsure,

I choose to move in the direction of my goal.

Whenever I fall, I stand up,

brush myself off, and keep moving.

– Jonathan Lockwood Huie

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Dark Moon – Time to Rest

New Moon – Time to Begin New Projects; Birth; Attraction

Waxing Moon – Time to Grow; Increase

Full Moon – Time to be Fulfilled; Abundance

Waning Moon – Time to Banish; Decrease

Last Sliver of Moon – Time to Die; Letting Go

Dark Moon – Time to Rest Again

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Light A Candle Today!

In many different traditions lighting a candle is a sacred action. It expresses more than words can express. It has to do with gratefulness. From time immemorial, people have lit candles in sacred places. You may want to begin or end your day by the sacred ritual of lighting a candle on this gratefulness. Or you may want to light a birthday candle for a friend. One single guideline is all you need: Slow down and do it with full attention.

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Herb of the Year for 2021: Parsley (Petroselinum crispum, named by the International Herb Association.

Flower of the Month for August: Gladiolus

August is National Watermelon Month

August’s Feature: Your Herbal Harvest

Goddess Month of Hesperus runs from 8/9 – 9/5

Celtic Tree Calendar: Hazel Moon: August 5 – September 1

Week 3. Friendship Week (Rosemary is the friendship herb).

August  15 – Festivals of Mary .In middle Ages, Aug 15 to Sept 15 were called “Our Lady’s 30 Days.

August 17 – Black Cat Appreciation Day

August 22 – Blue Moon

Week 4. Be Kind to Humankind Week.

August 29. Just what we need! National More Herbs Less Salt Day.

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THE CURRENT MOON PHASE: Waxing

Keywords for the First Quarter phase are: action, expression, growth, breaking away. It is the time in a cycle to take the initial action necessary to achieve your goal by expressing your needs and desires. 

Feel & Move. Make phone calls. Write letters. Dance. Act now. 

Waxing Moon: Time: From New Moon To Full (Approx. 14 Days Symbolic of growth, manifestation, attainment, gravidity (heavy with child – both philosophical and literal). 

Goddess Aspect: Maiden

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

Magickal Attributes: Invoking Beginnings, New Projects, Ideas, Inspiration, Energy, Vitality, Freedom. 

Workings Are For “Constructive” Magick (Love, Wealth, Success, Courage, Friendship, Luck Or Health.) Symbolic of growth, manifestation, attainment, gravidity (heavy with child – both philosophical and literal).    

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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 May 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 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.

http://goddessschool.com/Paganstudies/healingarts.html

The cost for Level 1 is $50.00 or the entire Healing Arts Course (1-3) for $150.00, which includes a free Reiki certification course when all three are ordered!

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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 (www.Goddessschool.com) has grown into a large and beautiful global community of women.

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Sea Magic: Part 1

Saturday, August 28, 2021

4:00 PM to 6:00 PM EDT

Sticks and Stones ~ Westfair Center

11037 Lee Highway Fairfax, VA 22030 (703)352-2343 Westfair Center · Fairfax, VA

Are you fascinated by the ocean?

Do you feel drawn to the sea?

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

Materials provided:

interactive notebook, seawater, beach sand, all items needed to create your own enchanted charm bag.

Please bring:

an open heart, open mind, and willingness to share and collaborate.

Cost: $30

Instructor: Ember Moon

Ember Moon is a Sea Witch and Priestess. Her interests and studies center around folk magic with a focus on Norse practices. Ember is a Reiki Master, crystal healer, and vibrational sound healer. She is a teacher in both the mundane and magical and is passionate about facilitating collaborative learning and self-discovery.

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CoventryCreations.com

August 16, 2021 – August 22, 2021

The third week of August is the busiest week of the month with two sign changes, a Full Moon, four planetary aspects, and Uranus stationing in Taurus.

The week begins with Venus moving into her own sign of Libra, and after the onslaught of planets through the fixed signs in June, July, and the beginning of August, this is a welcome relief. While Venus is in Libra relationships will feel more centered and balanced and it will be much easier to communicate your needs. If you went through a relationship rough patch in  June and July, this would be a great time to work on the issues and move the relationships into a more harmonious space.

Towards the middle of the week, Mercury conjoins Mars and if you need that extra boost to get things accomplished, this duo will deliver. Just keep a watch on your tongue, because you may say something you will later regret.

This weekend, besides the Full Moon in Aquarius (see Lunar Magic) and the Sun moving into practical Virgo, Mars trines Uranus in Taurus. It’s a great weekend to break your normal habits and rituals and do something different. Let go of your inhibitions and take a risk.

Recommended: Full Moon (Astro Magic), Love’s Enchantment (Blessed Herbal), Shut Your  Mouth (Dorothy Morrison’s Wicked Witch Mojo), Black Cat (Motor City Hoodoo

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

New Moon in Leo on August 8, 2021

Leo brings in the deep desire to be uniquely ourselves. This is another invitation to throw off the masks and personalities we’ve taken in life and try again to be fully self-actualized. For some, it will be a welcome breath of fresh air because being anyone but ourselves is oppressive.

Create a New Pathways Beyond Your Personal Challenges

August Astro Magic 2021

I have to admit that I may be a little biased this month being a Leo, but I hope my exuberance over the sign can be a catalyst for inner change, transformation, and some good ole’ magic.

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The Divine Practice of Angel Numbers

BY LEEZA ROBERTSON

Realize Your Divine Self with Angel Ascension Energy

With special numbers like 000, 555, 1010, and 1111, the angels are trying to help you move into a state of awakening and love. For each number, The Divine Practice of Angel Numbers shares a short affirmation-style message from the angel, a deeper message, a description of the angel, visualization or meditation, an angel connection prayer, and an exercise for putting the number’s energy into a crystal. This book also explores thirteen archangels, such as Metatron and Uriel, and their unique ascension lessons for increasing your joy, health, and well-being. Author Leeza Robertson makes it easy to start receiving blessings and support from the angels for specific purposes like letting go, making deeper soul connections, and transcending negative energy each and every day.

A new energy that the angels call ascension energy is sweeping the planet. This book shows how angels use special numbers to connect with you and teach specific ascension energy lessons. You will discover hands-on tips and support for prayer, healing, altar work, automatic writing, rituals, working with chakras, and more. The ascension lessons in this book will support you as you learn to gently open the door and start receiving guidance and love from the angels.

Includes a color insert for crystal identification.

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Tips for De-Stressing on National Relaxation Day

On August 15, celebrate a day dedicated to chilling out. With these relaxation tips, you might be surprised how much you benefit from some me-time.

By James Quigley

Reviewed by Mary Garcia

National Relaxation Day was created in 1985 by a 9-year-old Michigan boy who believed people “think too much about working” and that “people don’t think enough about relaxing.” For the past 35 years, August 15 has marked this celebration of leisure. For the upcoming 36th anniversary of the holiday, let’s take a closer look at why relaxation is not just fun, but fundamental to your overall wellbeing. Then, you can turn this once-a-year event into a daily routine.

Mental and physical health benefits of relaxation  

Taking a step away from the rigors and demands of your everyday life can have a profoundly positive effect on your mood, energy, and stability. In fact, Mayo Clinic suggests regularly engaging in a relaxing activity as one of their six top strategies for avoiding job burnout, one of the most common and most difficult mental health struggles that working people face. 

Limiting your stress through practicing intentional relaxation can also help you:

Manage your blood pressure

Fall asleep more easily

Avoid stress-related afflictions like ulcers

Have a decreased likelihood of smoking or obesity

Improve your immune system

Three tips to help you actively de-stress   

So you’ve decided to incorporate a little more relaxation into your life. Okay, what next? 

Getting to a relaxed state of mind isn’t something that just happens to you. Paradoxically, learning to appreciate relaxation can actually take a little bit of work. These three tips will make that effort easier and help you incorporate de-stressing techniques into your daily routine. 

1. Remember that relaxation is me-time

Me-time doesn’t actually have to do with being alone versus in a group of people; you can definitely relax with partners, friends, and families! Instead, me-time is an important descriptor that helps you identify why you’re doing something, not just who you’re doing it with.

However you choose to relax, make sure you’re pursuing that activity purely for your own enjoyment. Something that seems relaxing on the outside can still be stress-inducing if you have ulterior motives to worry about. For example, writing music won’t be relaxing if you’re doing it on a tight deadline as part of your job. Me-time activities shouldn’t be strongly linked to your career goals or daily responsibilities. 

2. Go in with a plan 

Do you know what definitely won’t help you de-stress? Frantically trying to figure out how you should relax during your lunch hour, after work, or on the weekend. Thinking forward to your free time, consider some methods for relaxing that you might enjoy. This will help you take full advantage of the moment when it arrives.

There are an infinite number of ways to relax because everyone has different interests and skills. Here just a few that you might enjoy:

Meditation – Whether it’s a guided group class or a solo session out in nature, meditation can help you achieve a relaxing reset. 

Yoga – Establish a strong mind-body connection by combining inner focus with physical stamina. 

Cooking – Explore your tastes and share your own culinary creations with family and friends. Don’t be discouraged if you’re a beginner. Join a helpful group like Denver Cooking, Baking & Decorating Workshops and Meetups.

Gardening – Whether you have a full yard or just a spare windowsill, you can grow your planting passion and reap the benefits of being a greenthumb. 

Exercise – Getting active will help you feel happier, more energetic, and less stressed. It’s a fun way to challenge yourself and build discipline. 

Reading – A great story can transport you from your current reality and let you explore someone else’s for a while. You might even learn something incredibly valuable along the way. Plus, it’s always fun to read books that are being adapted into film this summer. 

3. Join a community that will help you relax year-round

Who you choose to relax with is just as important as the activity you pursue. Often, friendships and relaxation go hand-in-hand. Finding groups to share your hobbies and socialize with will help you achieve a relaxed state of mind more frequently. Carrying those good feelings into your daily life makes it much less difficult to handle your job and other responsibilities.

If you don’t find a group near you engaging in your particular interests, you can easily create your own Meetup group and invite others to actively de-stress together.

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Nothing is Insurmountable

There is nothing in your life that cannot be overcome; whatever the situation or problem, there is always a solution.

When our next best course of action seems unclear, any dilemmas we face can appear insurmountable. Yet there is nothing we cannot overcome with time, persistence, focused thought, help, and faith. Whatever the situation or problem, there is always a solution. And if you remember to look within, even as you search around you for the “right” course of action, you will be able to center yourself, clear your mind, and see that nothing has to be impossible.

The first step in overcoming any obstacle is to believe that it can be overcome. Doing so will give you the strength and courage to move through any crisis. The second step is to make a resolution that you can prevail over any chaos. Enlist your support network of family and friends if necessary. The more minds there are to consider a problem, the more solutions can be found. Don’t discount ideas just because they seem impractical or “unrealistic,” and don’t keep searching for the “best” alternative. Often there is no “best” choice, there is only a choice to make so we can begin moving beyond whatever is obstructing our path. At the very least, making a choice, even if isn’t the ideal one, can give you a sense of peace before you have to figure out what your next course of action will be.

If you feel overwhelmed by the scope of your troubles, you may want to think of other people who have turned adversity into triumph. We often gain a fresh perspective when we remember others who have overcome larger obstacles. It can be inspiring to hear of their victories, helping us remember that there is always light at the end of every tunnel. It is during our darkest hours that we sometimes need to remind ourselves that we don’t have to feel helpless. You have within and around you the resources to find a solution to any problem. And remember that if a solution or choice you make doesn’t work, you are always free to try another. Believe that you can get through anything, and you will always prevail. 

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Wealth Is Neutral

As a form of potential energy that empowers us to generate change, money is neither good nor bad.

At its most basic, money is a tool that enables us to meet our individual needs. As a form of potential energy that empowers us to generate change, it is neither good nor bad. Yet many people react emotionally to issues concerning finances, unconsciously condemning currency itself, the manner in which money is spent, and people who live lives of financial abundance. Individuals who are rich in gifts such as high intelligence are acknowledged for their positive traits while those who have acquired material riches or aspire to become wealthy are frequently judged harshly. However, wealth is not a trait upon which judgment can be legitimately passed. It tells us nothing about how a person lives, what they believe in, whom they care for, or the scope of their values. Like any blessing, wealth is merely an instrument of purpose that can be used both constructively and destructively.

From an early age, people learn to court wealth while simultaneously associating money with greed, selfishness, and unethical behavior. Consequently, this idea becomes entrenched in their hearts as envy. To attain a balanced and rational comprehension of money, as well as a fairer perspective of wealth, we need to recognize that outward manifestations of wealth tell us little about the individuals enjoying those blessings. When we feel the finger of jealousy prompting us to draw unflattering conclusions about people whose lives seem more financially secure than our own, we should remind ourselves that there are many elements of their circumstances we cannot see. Their wealth may be the result of long hours of taxing labor, they may donate a large percentage of their resources to charitable causes, or their bounty may be an incidental aspect of a life spent doing what they love. Ultimately, we can heal our hurtful associations with money by turning a blind eye toward both wealth and poverty when interacting with others and instead focusing on the individual before us.

If you take a moment to consider your own feelings regarding money and wealth, you may discover that you equate financial prosperity with happiness, power, security, independence, or self-indulgence. Money itself, however, is none of these things. You can begin developing a healthier view of wealth by simply accepting that while some possess great wealth and others do not, we all have the potential to create lives of beauty, substance, and wisdom using the resources we have been granted.

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Heartwings Love Notes 995 Cooking from Scratch

Heartwings says, “You can put more love into the food with scratch cooking.”

My mother didn’t cook from mixes, and the only canned food we ate was what she put up in mason jars, herself. There were few if any mixes of any kind on the market. Jell-O, of course was available, and commercially canned vegetables were common, however they didn’t taste as good as fresh and while frozen foods came into the markets in the early forties, we mostly ate with the seasons.

She never wanted anything to go to waste. Green beans inevitably appear all at once, and much of her crop went into jars to be sealed with rubber rings and bathed in boiling water. I can still see my mother standing by the stove with the large canning pot steaming away. In the middle of winter, we always had vegetables to eat, carefully preserved on the shelves in the cellar closet. Peaches, too lined those shelves; they brought summer to a bleak winter day.

We never had TV dinners. They were first produced only in 1953, the year I graduated from high school. However, we did have some frozen foods. They were first available commercially in 1939, in Springfield, MA. They were more expensive, and my mother didn’t like to spend extra money. Winter time meant we ate a lot of carrots and winter squash, available fresh. Today’s families have a very different experience at the table. What a luxury of choices and eating experiences they enjoy.

This simple Vinegar Cake has been around for generations. Suitable for vegans it has no eggs or butter. Preheat oven to 350, grease an 8X8 square baking pan.

Ingredients: 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour,1 cup sugar, 1 tsp baking soda, 1/2 tsp salt, 4 Tbs cocoa powder plus more for dusting top, 1 Tbs vinegar, 1 Tbs Vanilla Extract, 1 cup warm water, 6 Tbs Vegetable oil.

Mix dry ingredients in a medium bowl, mingle wet ingredients. Make a well in the dry ingredients and add all of liquid ingredients. Mix well. For best results, use a hand mixer, or if not, a sieve and stir the ingredients through it. If batter isn’t relatively liquid, add water a tablespoon at a time until you get a thin batter. This cake is very moist. Bake in greased 8X8 pan in 350 preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until a wooden pick in the center comes out clean and edges have pulled away slightly from the pan–this could take up to 35 minutes. Or bake in cupcake cups, a little less. Sieve cocoa powder over baked cake or frost. Serves 16 or however you cut it, or makes 12 cupcakes.

May your recipes nourish you and yours.

Blessings and best regards, Tasha Halpert

Got any easy recipes to share? Food stories to tell? I so appreciate yourcomments and thoughts. Please write to me at tashahal@aol.com, and for more love notes, check out www.heartwingsandfriends.com. Thanks

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Three Principles for an Ethical Foraging

by Dana – The Druid’s  Garden

Foraging for wild foods, mushrooms, and wild medicines is something that is growing as a pastime for many people. The joy of foraging from the land connects us to our ancient and primal roots and allows us a chance to build a more direct connection with nature. But with any practice rooted in nature comes the need for balance and responsibility. Thus, the following principles can help wild food foragers and wild food instructors harvest ethically, sustainably, and in a way that builds wild food populations rather than reduces them.  I share both the principles in text below as well as graphics.  The graphics are (full size and web-sharable versions, see links) and they are licensed under a Creative Commons license.  Anyone who teaches plant walks or wants to use them in foraging, wild foods, and herbalism practice is free to download them, print them, and share them! The two graphics are of the same content, rendered differently. For full size printable versions click the following links: The Foraging Flower (8 1/2 x 11″ JPG); Foraging Ethics Tree (8 1/2 x 11″ JPG)

Harvest Mindfully: Mindfully and ethically harvesting from the land to ensure sustainable harvesting, ensuring the long-term survival of wild food and medicines for the benefit of all life and future generations.

Take only what you need. Harvest only what you need and resist the urge to harvest everything. Find ways of preserving foods and wild medicine so that nothing goes to waste.

Harvest in a way that sustains long-term populations. Be careful about how much you harvest, where you harvest, and when you harvest to ensure that you are not damaging plant populations or harming individual plants. If you need to take a root harvest, it should only be done sustainably and when plants are in abundance. If you are taking a mushroom harvest, remember that mushrooms are the reproductive system; if you harvest them all, the mushroom can’t reproduce. At the same time, recognize that some plants should be harvested as much as possible–those who are spreading and harming native plant populations.

Harvest with gratitude and respect. recognize the gift that nature is offering you, and harvest respectfully and with gratitude. Be thankful for the plant and the opportunity to harvest.

Tend the Wilds: Our ancient human ancestors understood that creating a reciprocal relationship with nature were the only way to ensure a more bountiful harvest and sustain our lands so that they could sustain us in return. Thus, building in wildtending practices and tending the wilds should be a counter-practice to foraging.

Cultivate and spread wild plants. Learn how to cultivate and tend the native and naturalized plants you commonly harvest.  Work to establish new wild patches of these plants by gathering and scattering seeds, dividing and planting roots, and transplanting. Cultivate new patches which you can later harvest from.

Target your efforts towards at-risk plants. Look for plant populations that are in danger of disappearing (from overharvesting, loss of habitat, etc) and target your efforts to help cultivate them. This may mean that there are certain plant populations that you do not harvest until a more stable population is established.

Create a balance between foraging and wild-tending: Strive to balance your practices between foraging and wild tending, both in terms of working to cultivate more specific plant populations and also in terms of broader conservation and ecological work, such as protecting wildlands, replanting lands, engaging in political activism, or working with conservation groups.

Build your Knowledge: Understand the plants that you are harvesting–how they grow, how they function ecologically, and the populations of plants in your area.

Build your knowledge of ecology and plants. Recognize that there is a lot to know about plants and that this is a lifetime of study. The more you know, the more you are able to apply to your foraging and wildtending practice. Read books, attend workshops, and learn about how your plants function in the ecosystem: where do they grow? how do they grow? What insects/animals depend on them?  Which plants can you harvest as much as you want? Start by learning about a few plants and build from there.

Observe and interact.  Don’t depend on the wisdom only in books but get out into your local landscape, observe, and interact.  Recognize that the populations in your local area of plants and mushrooms may be radically different than what you read about.  Understand what is happening in the areas that you spend time in specifically so you can be more mindful of your interaction.

Connect, learn, and share with community.  We can do more as a community than as individuals, so find ways to connect with like-minded others, building and sharing knowledge.  The more we spread these principles and ethical foraging approaches, the more good we can do in the world.

Background on these Principles

Milkweed patch now well established in the meditation garden!

I started teaching wild food foraging almost a decade ago after a lifetime of cultivating an ethical practice of foraging and working to regenerate damaged landscapes.  I began teaching foraging with the naive and simple premise that if people understood that nature had value for nature, they would honor and respect it, work to protect it, and cultivate a relationship with it. However, this is not the case. But with increasing frequency, as new people get into wild food foraging, I’m seeing something very different emerging: communities of people who see wild food foraging as a treasure hunt, going into areas without any knowledge of the plant populations or sustainable harvesting techniques, and pillaging the ecosystem.  And in these same communities, there is strong resistance to any discussion of limits, ethics of foraging, or cultivating reciprocation with the land.  But, this situation offers us a chance to grow and to learn how to be better stewards of the land.  With that said: what an opportunity for change. We are always learning and expanding our understanding, foraging is an opportunity for this. Be open to changing your perspective and be forgiving and understanding of yourself and others on this foraging path.

Unfortunately, in the wild food community, we see the same colonizing and capitalist attitudes that pervade other aspects of Western society. Here in North America, one of the underlying issues is that nature is treated by most people in the 21st century no different than it was treated in the 16th-19th centuries: as a resource that you can take as much as you want from. The history of colonization here in North America turned carefully cultivated food forests into deserts and destroyed the way of life and culture of indigenous peoples who lived in harmony with nature. The current practices of land ownership and individualism stress this further–the assumption is that if it’s your land, you can do what you want with it regardless of how it impacts other life living there. Many people born into Western culture are enculturated into this colonizing mindset and may not even be conscious of how much it impacts our assumptions and relationship with nature. This mindset drives a set of behaviors that are literally putting our planet–and all life–at risk. Thus, it becomes increasingly clear to me that at least some behavior surrounding wild food foraging is a new take on the very old problem of colonialism.

I’ll give three examples to illustrate the impetus for the principles I offer. When I was a child in the Allegheny Mountains, Wild Ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) was easy to find. My grandfather used to harvest it in small quantities and brew it up for us as a special treat. In the years since, with the increasing demand from China and the rising prices for American Ginseng, in all my time spent in the forests here, I have never found a single wild ginseng plant growing.  This means that the medicine of American Ginseng is completely closed to the people of the Appalachians, and it should not be. I have only had the opportunity to interact with wild ginseng that someone (myself or others) has planted. And in cultivating it, I’ve realized how incredibly hard it is to establish and grow. Most people cultivating it have less than a 20% success rate with either seeds or roots. In a second example, when a friend and I were co-teaching a wild food class, we came across a patch of woodland nettles. Some of the students in the class immediately went into the patch of nettles like vultures, taking every last nettle. Not 15 minutes before, we had had a discussion of wild food ethics and sustainable harvesting, but this was quickly forgotten with the excitement of the harvest.  That nettle patch has since regrown with some careful tending, thankfully, but it took about four years to get as large and beautiful as it was. In a final example, one wild food foraging online group in my region, a person posted a picture of six 5-gallon buckets full of ramps, including the bulbs. This represented an extremely unsustainable harvest for several reasons, not the least of which being that ramps take 1-2 years to germinate from seed and up to 7 years to mature. When I kindly shared information about how to harvest ramps more sustainably (very limited or no bulb harvests depending on the population, being mindful of the amount being taken, scattering seeds to propagate ramps), I was banned from the group for “pick shaming.”  Most online groups have very strong and immediate reactions to anyone discussing ethics, sustainability, or limited harvests, which prevent any conversations from taking place.

These three examples illustrate the challenges present with overharvesting and were part of the impetus for the above principles. I will also note that all of these examples come from the United States; I don’t know if the issues I’ve witnessed apply to other contexts or cultures.

I’ve never met a wild food instructor, teacher of herbalism, or earth skills instructor who didn’t do their best to teach at least some of the principles I’ve outlined above.  But it seems that we need to do more, particularly as large numbers of new people are picking up wild food foraging and that many online spaces are opposed to discussions of the ethics of practice. These principles can be a critical part of every class we teach, every social media post, every Youtube video we create, and every publication we author. By adhering to a set of ethical standards that put wild food foraging in the broader context of building a reciprocal relationship with nature, I believe we can create a more balanced and ethical practice for all.

Examples of the Ethics in Action: Working with Milkweed, Garic Mustard, and Oak

Here are three specific examples how this might be done, both from a teaching standpoint and from a practitioner standpoint:

Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) is one of my favorite wild edible plants, with four different harvests throughout the season. A wild food foraging practice that includes common milkweed has a chance for causing harm. Overharvesting shoots can prevent the plants from growing at all; overharvesting flower buds, immature seedpods, or silks can prevent the milkweed from going to seed and spreading.  In most areas in the US, common milkweed is in decline due to new farming techniques, spraying, mowing, and land-use changes. Thus, our land needs a lot more common milkweed, which is a critical food source for declining insect populations, including the increasingly endangered Monarch butterfly.

When I teach common milkweed, I start by passing out small packets of common milkweed seeds that I have grown in my garden from local seed stock.  I tell people about what a wonderful wild food that common milkweed is, how good it tastes, and how to prepare it.  And, I ask that people work to cultivate their own patch (in their garden, yard, or in a wild area) so that they can eventually start harvesting it themselves.  I explain that I do not, ever, harvest this in the wild but rather, I cultivate new patches and eventually return to them to harvest. In this example, I teach Common Milkweed in context: not only what it is but how to harvest, but the challenges surrounding it.  And, I put the direct tools for change–seeds–in their hands, so that they can spread them and begin their relationship with milkweed from a place of reciprocation and stewardship.

Garlic Mustard (Alliaria petiolata) is another plant I commonly use and teach.  The lesson of this Garlic Mustard is a very different one: Garlic mustard is an opportunistic plant (I avoid the term “invasive”, also for ethical reasons) and by harvesting, we can control the populations of this plant.  Because it is always abundant and opportunistic, not only do I teach this plant, I encourage those on my plant walks to harvest as much of it as they can while we are on the plant walk.  I will sometimes bring a garlic mustard pesto or another dish that they can taste to see how delicious it is.  On social media, I will share recipes and information on how to find it and cook it, so that others can also start harvesting this plant abundantly.

Offering gratitude to the oak with an offering Offering gratitude to the oak with an offering

Oak (Quercus Rubra, Quercus Spp.) is another one of my favorite trees from a foraging perspective. When I teach oak in the fall, I usually bring a sample of acorn bread or cake so people can get a sense of how delicious the oak is.  This helps people recognize and honor the oak tree as such an abundant resource. We discuss the principle of the “mast year” and how you can harvest acorns. We discuss how to identify good acorns to harvest based on examining their caps and shells.  We do talk about how much one can reasonably harvest and process–and how to leave acorns for wildlife.  I also teach wildtending practices with Oak in two ways: first, I encourage them to be like a squirrel, not only harvesting acorns but, after harvesting, taking a stick and popping some of them back into the ground to propagate the oak.  I also encourage people to return to their favorite oak in the spring and dig up some of the small oak seedlings to spread elsewhere, ensuring the genetics of the tree survive.  This creates a balanced relationship with the oak, and helps repopulate a keystone species in our bioregion.

In all three examples, I’ve developed both a teaching and foraging practice based on examining the specific context in which a plant or tree grows, its abundance, and the ecological needs it has.  In the case of Milkweed, declining amounts of milkweed (including in my immediate ecosystem) have led me to cultivate it in a number of places, spreading those seeds outward, and considerably limiting how much milkweed I enjoy eating.  The case with Garlic Mustard is the opposite–I harvest and eat as much of it as I can as a way of limiting the spread.  One of the practices of the oak is to participate in acorn planting and spreading oak trees.  Each of these wildtending practices allows me not only to ethically balance a foraging practice but to create a deeper and more meaningful relationship with the living earth.

I would love to hear thoughts on these principles and other ideas for how we can cultivate ethics of reciprocation within wild food foraging!

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Ghost Hunting in the Gilded Age

SEPTEMBER 27, 2021 BY RICH NEWMAN

Close up of a talking board

We live in a fantastic time to be paranormal enthusiasts. Dozens of ghost hunting programs are currently featured on television. There are websites dedicated to developing and selling ghost hunting gear, and tourism for haunted locations is so high that hotels and restaurants often post their ghost stories right on their own websites. But, believe it or not, this isn’t the first time that America has been captured by the mystique of ghosts and hauntings.

After Margaretta and Catherine Fox claimed to have made contact with a spirit in Hydesville, New York in 1848, a new movement quickly swept across the country: Spiritualism. Not to be confused with Spiritism (a movement started by Allan Kardec in the 1850s that was largely concerned with reincarnation), Americans were suddenly holding séances in their homes, playing with talking boards, and having parties all concerned with speaking to the dead.

While most of the ghostly activity of this period is associated with the use of mediums—people with the psychic ability to channel spirits and even allow them to temporarily possess them—there were also techniques used by the psychically challenged to interact with spirits, too. Many of these were quite effective and can even be used today by modern ghost hunters. Let’s talk about a few of these.

Setting aside the use of a medium (a practice that is actually used by some paranormal groups today), the most common means of spectral communication by Spiritualists was a technique known as “table turning.” Also known as table tilting, table tipping, and table tapping, this involved a group of people sitting around a small, light (usually round) table with their finger tips resting gently on the surface. A designated speaker would then ask questions from any spirits who were present and ask that he/she turn or tilt the table. Sometimes this would be more of a vibration than dramatic movement, but any activity would pretty much be interpreted as interaction. If a spirit was particularly energetic, the speaker might then ask questions with one-word answers, and then proceed to slowly say the alphabet. The spirit could then move the table when certain letters were said to spell out a word.

Today, this practice is simply known as table tipping, and I’ve seen it used in the field a number of times. In my experience it seems to work best when yes or no questions are asked and the spirit is directed to interact with the table to answer. For instance, the speaker might say, “Please let us know when what I say is correct. Did you live in this house?” If there was an answering movement involved with the table, it would be taken as a “yes.”

Another simple, but effective, item that Spiritualists would use is the candle. In addition to lighting the parlor for a séance, candles were often used by a small group to indicate when a ghost was present. This typically involved placing a single candle on a mantle or table, eliminating any wind moving through the room by closing doors and windows, and then the Spiritualists sitting on the other side of the room (so nobody could inadvertently blow out the candle). A speaker would then entreat any spirits to indicated their presence by blowing out the candle.

I have to admit that this sounds like the premise for a low budget horror movie, on par with the old Bloody Mary legend, but it’s actually quite viable for the present day with a small, but recommended, change. Instead of simply sitting the candle away from everyone, a better way to guard against accidentally blowing it out would be to surround it with glass or plexiglass—essentially sitting it inside a small, transparent box. You would, of course, still need to have the top open to allow the flame to burn, but with high enough walls you could be assured that any extinguished candles were not the result of a wandering breeze.

A popular variation of this technique is something that modern ghost hunters call the “Irish Wind Chime.” Essentially it’s exactly the same premise as the candle-in-a-cage, only you are placing a small set of wind chimes that are hanging from a mini stand under a glass “hurricane”-style cover. Since they are sitting in a micro, sealed environment, any movement of the chimes would be an indicator of a spiritual presence. Care just has to be taken to insure that nothing is shaking the area where the chimes are sitting.

The most controversial method used by Gilded Age ghost hunters was, without a doubt, the infamous “talking board.” After frustrated Spiritualists got tired of the slow method of speaking to the dead by reading aloud the alphabet, it only goes to reason that some enterprising soul would think to simply write the letters and numbers on a table of sorts. The actual origin of the talking board is something of a mystery, but most historians agree that it began making appearances in parlors during the late 1880s.

What we now think of as the “Ouija Board” was first marketed by the Kennard Novelty Company in the early 1890s. Some have supposed that the name came from the combined French (oui) and German (ja) words for “yes,” but talking board historian Robert Murch has stated that the name was supplied by a medium named Helen Peters who claimed she got the moniker from a spirit she communicated with via a board. She said that it meant “good luck.”

Spiritualists loved the Ouija Board, and by 1893 it was a best-selling novelty of the day. Interestingly, in order to sell the device to the public, the Kennard Novelty Company had to prove to the patent office that it worked. After a quick session where the board spelled out the name of the patent officer, it was granted its patent and the new craze began.

The modern version of the talking board, or Ouija Board (as Hasbro still markets it), might be made of plastic and cardboard vs. the original wood, but it essentially is the same. The alphabet, numbers, and words “yes, no, hello, and goodbye” adorn the board, while a planchette is used to communicate with spirits.

Just as they were used in the Gilded Age, two or more people are supposed to sit around the board with their fingers lightly touching the planchette. Questions are then asked and the planchette (hopefully) moves to the appropriate answers—sometimes spelling out words, dates, etc. During the late 1800s, the talking board was a popular parlor activity, with the only negative being the possibility that somebody among them was purposely pushing the planchette.

Today the board is still popular, but it has a bit of a mixed reception. Thanks to a few popular horror movies, and rather vocal followers of organized religion, many believe that these boards are “evil” and used, exclusively, to speak to non-human entities, such as “demons,” “djinn,” etc. This is, of course, nonsense. There is nothing inherently evil in a Hasbro board game—or any other incarnation of the talking board. Like most objects used to interact with the dead, there is nothing inherently good or bad about it.

In fact, the linking of the talking board with the occult and evil practices is a modern belief that began in the 1970s (with some pointing directly at the book/film The Exorcist as the cause). Before then, the most famous case involving a talking board is that of Pearl Curran who came into contact with a spirit named “Patience Worth” via a board. Curran would produce novels, poetry, and other prose all supposedly sourced from Patience Worth. But this is hardly anything of a sinister nature.

Much like practitioners at the turn of the century, you, too, can use a talking board while ghost hunting, but you might want to make sure that everyone present is okay with it before doing so. There’s no sense in scaring or angering anyone. Ironically, I’d actually suggest using it without any human interaction. Since plastic is such a poor conductor of electricity/energy, there’s really no need for anyone to place their fingers on the planchette. Just use the lightest planchette possible and ask any spirits present to move it. If anyone wants to “share energy” with spirits via a planchette, I’d suggest constructing one of copper or aluminum for better conductivity.

The last thing I’d like to touch on concerning Spiritualism is the concept of “debunking.” While there were certainly hardcore followers who were quick to believe most everything was of a paranormal nature, there were also practitioners of the day who reveled in exposing fraudulent mediums, fakery, and criticizing the new practice of “spirit photography.”

Much like today, one of the favorite tools of Victorian ghost hunters was the use of a camera. Taking photos before and during séances often produced images of spirits, and would sometimes capture live activity in the parlor, such as the appearance of “ectoplasm.” People like famed illusionist Harry Houdini took great delight in debunking double exposures and ectoplasm that would actually be various substances, including cheesecloth and a potato starch/gelatin that was usually swallowed and then regurgitated during the séance.

In many ways, fake spirit photography in the Gilded Age is quite similar to modern ghost hunting photos and the appearance of “orbs.” Thankfully, many of us take a cue from Mr. Houdini and take the time to scrutinize photos taken from haunted places—and we debunk our own photos that contain orbs that are nothing more than bits of airborne dust, pollen, etc.

So, while we may think of Spiritualism as a movement from the late 1800s—and perhaps a bit outdated—the truth is that we have taken a lot from our ghost hunting ancestors. And though we may be safe with throwing out some of their more outlandish forms of communicating with the dead (I don’t think the “spirit trumpet” will be coming back into fashion any time soon), every time we ask a ghost to make a rapping sound for us, or take part in a table tipping session, we are continuing an American tradition. One that, thankfully, won’t be ending any time soon.

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Gilberto Rides Again by Stephen Halpert Chapter 14

The merger between Atlas and Clay Calhoun was in its final stages: lawyers for both sides splitting hairs, quibbling over money. Gilberto was unsure why this merger was even happening. How shoestrings fit into Atlas’ long term corporate identity was a mystery to him. Was Atlas kicking off a retail division? He had learned over the years to stand back and watch before venturing an opinion.

He looked over his travel folder for the trip to North Carolina. He and Maria would be staying at The Bull Run Inn, famous for its southern hospitality and its Jeb Stuart Tavern.

There was a light knock on his office door. Sara Midgley slipped in and placed a thick file on his desk. “Merger details.” She smiled coyly, her eyes telegraphing an obvious message.

Her tight silk blouse and clinging short skirt left little to the imagination. She leaned provocatively against the edge of his desk, her eyes wide. “Why are you avoiding me?”

He raised his eyebrows. “I didn’t think I was.”

She sighed softly. “You know you are.” Abruptly she changed the subject. Her eyes grew wider and she took a breath. Her words came out fast. “But listen, I really need your help. Someone broke into my condo. I’m afraid someone’s trying to kill me.”

He frowned. “Why are you afraid someone is trying to kill you?’

“A feeling,” she waved her hand

Was this some kind of ploy to get his attention? “Was anything stolen?”

She shook her head no. “My vanity was obviously searched and my cosmetics had been messed with. My bureau drawers were rifled, but nothing’s missing.” She sighed audibly.

Gilberto frowned “If nothing was stolen…” What’s this about, he thought. Aloud he said, “Why would someone do that?”

Instead of replying, she closed her eyes and pressed the tips of her fingers against the sides of her forehead. Her breath quickened. “I can’t help it,” she pleaded. “Gilberto, I need you. I need to feel you close to me.”

Her perfume cloyed at his nose. He began to sneeze.

She reached and touched his hand. “It makes no sense for us to deny ourselves the obvious.”

His eyes watered. He grabbed a bunch of tissues. “Maybe obvious to you but not to me.” He blew his nose.

“You must feel it too,” her words barely above a whisper.

He shook his head. “Sara stop this. Remember I’m married.”

Her tongue moved slowly over her lips. Her voice grew louder, more insistent. “What’s that got to do with anything? Oh Gilberto, I’m so damned scared. Can’t you understand, someone wants to kill me.”

He ignored that. “Sara, I’m in love with Maria. Just let it go at that.”

She picked up the honeymoon photograph in a silver frame on his desk. Gently he reached and took it from her.

Was this all an act?? He knew he didn’t trust her. The way she was talking made no sense to him.

She pouted and leaned closer. Her perfume attacked his nostrils and he sneezed harder. He backed away. What was he supposed to say to this mad woman?

More whispers. “Gilberto, I’m begging you!”

He waved his hands. He could hardly speak. “Sara move back, give me room to breathe. Your perfume’s really getting to me.” 

Hearing that she looked confused, yet still she persisted. “Please Gilberto, I’m begging you.”

His eyes watered. He grabbed more tissues, blew his nose.

“It must have to do with my deceased husband,” she said. “I could never believe what they called his cause of death. He was too good a swimmer; too healthy just to drown that way.”

“Have you been to the police?”

She shook her head no. “They wouldn’t believe me; they’d write me off as some crazy. Gilberto, we work together. Your being near me appears normal, natural; you can protect me.”

Reluctantly he said. “You’re welcome to be with me and Maria.”

She frowned. “It would be so nice if you left her home.”

He felt as though he were trapped in a forties’ noir melodrama. “Don’t get your hopes up.”

Her eyes lit up. “I could pay you Gilberto. I have money.”

She came around his desk and got even closer, provoking another onslaught of sneezes. He blew his nose and laughed. “Come on, Sara, how am I supposed to protect you? Why don’t you hire a professional bodyguard?”

Ignoring what he was saying, she sighed deeply. “Such a hunk, such a wild ram in heat.”

That made him laugh again. “Come on Sara; one minute you tell me you fear for your life, then the next you come on to me. Make up your mind. Maybe you need to see a shrink.” He shook his head, went to the window, opened it, and breathed.

She followed him. Her fingertips softly touching his shoulders. He turned and faced her: “Back off Sara!” 

Her face flushed; lips quivered. “I don’t understand it any more than you do Gilberto.”

Were those real tears in her eyes? Before he could think what to say, she abruptly, turned and left his office.

He sighed, grabbed more tissues to stave off another round of sneezing. The scent from her perfume lingered in his office.

He left the Atlas building and walked down Stuart Street toward lower Washington Street and the Sushi bar where he’d be meeting Smith. He wondered if Kim Rain would be there. Weirdly, he shivered. Was he was being followed? He spun around abruptly but saw no one. Both sides of Stuart Street were empty. The faint scent of Sara Midgley’s perfume lingered on his sports coat.

Entering the restaurant, Gilberto spotted Smith and Rain at their usual back table. He joined them and ordered the raw fish platter and a tall Sing Ha Beer. Then he shared some of his earlier meeting that morning with Sara Midgley.

“The Black Widow,” Smith said dryly. “Obviously there’s ulterior motives.”

“She makes me nervous,” Gilberto said. He drank some of his Sing Ha and tried to relax.

“Maybe that’s the idea.” Kim Rain smiled. Wearing a tailored suit and dressy shoes, she seemed androgenous. “Maybe she wants to throw you off your game.”

“What game?” I sit in on Board meetings, do a lot of listening but that’s about it.”

“More to it than it seems then,” Smith said. “Her husband did drown under peculiar circumstances. As no doubt you know, his body was never recovered.”

Gilberto nodded. “This merger with Clay Calhoun is worrisome but most likely unrelated to his drowning.”

Kim Rain looked serious. “Why would Atlas want shoelaces unless there’s some kind of stock swindle brewing?” She looked at Smith. “Can’t corporations make money by losing money? Then she smirked. “They have a word for that on Wall Street, don’t they?”

“Selling short or pump and dump,” Smith said.

They all laughed and the conversation turned to the trip and the meetings around the merger. As they finished their sushi and got ready to leave, Smith said: “Take her at her word, Gilberto. Be watchful and if any bloody assassins try to jump into her path fend them off with those famous soccer kicks of yours.”

To be continued.

Stephen loves comments. Please send them to him at tashahal@aol.com

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Kitty Kat’s Korner

Cat Tip of the Month: When your beloved cat crosses the Rainbow Bridge, be open to the paranormal. They may wish to come back and visit from time to time.

Why Do Cats Bring You “Gifts”?

By Susan Logan McCracken

Although I’ve had indoor-only cats for my entire adult life, I grew up with several outdoor cats who earned their weight in paper currency as “working” cats on my parents’ farm. Although these cats were friendly toward humans, I think they would have climbed the curtains if we tried to keep them indoors. But they were sure great at their jobs: catching mice, rats, and moles in particular that shredded my parents’ lawn.

Our tuxedo cat, Miss Kitty, would wait patiently for a mole to come out of its hole beneath the grass, then she would grab it and bring it to my parents, who praised her for her work. I remember during a garage sale, Miss Kitty brought one of her “gifts” and dropped it right in front of one of our customer’s feet. You can imagine the alarm that the shopper expressed. I can’t remember anything more, but I’m guessing she never returned to any of our garage sales!

Love Language

Giving gifts is considered to be one of humans’ love languages, a concept made popular by Gary Chapman’s best-selling book The 5 Love Languages. Do cats have love languages and could gift giving be one of them?

Miss Kitty did receive a lot of praise from my parents whenever she brought her prey to them, and I guess you could surmise that she felt the love and repeated the behavior.

I consulted with board-certified feline veterinarian Gary D. Norsworthy, who owns the Alamo Feline Health Center in San Antonio and has more than 40 years experience practicing veterinary medicine.

“The older I get the more I am convinced that genetics is a major player in personality traits,” Dr. Norsworthy says. “I believe this is one example of that.”

Dr. Norsworthy recounted the story of one of his patients, Ret, who brought home tree bark, a deflated soccer ball, and a horse’s bridle. Ret’s retrieving behavior began when he was 6 months old and his humans, a sweet senior couple, gave him treats every time he brought them one of his treasures.

Dr. Norsworthy refers to cats who engage in this behavior as retrieving cats. “These cats are not trained; they come by it naturally. Their unusual behavior may be increased with rewards, but retrieving cats are often driven to make their owners happy with or without rewards. If you have one of these unique cats, enjoy their special talent.”

Hunting Instinct

All cat species are carnivores and have an instinct to hunt. Among lions, the lionesses hunt for food and bring it to the cubs as a team, while male lions protect the pride. Other feline species are solitary hunters, but the females still share the food with their offspring and teach them to hunt.

Female domestic cats also hunt and bring dead or injured prey home to their offspring to teach them how to hunt. One theory is that spayed females, as they do not have offspring, bring their prey to their humans instead. In other words, they consider their humans as family.

You might inadvertently reward this behavior without realizing it. If you jump, scamper trying to catch the thing, then give your cat a treat, you just rewarded the behavior.

If your cat plops a toy or other object in front of you, he is most likely looking for some playtime. That is a good time to indulge your cat’s need to play. Cats are hardwired to play and might engage in destructive behaviors or have health problems if they don’t get enough playtime.

Curbing Predation

If you’re concerned about your cats bringing prey animals into your home, here’s how to get them to stop.

Keep your cats indoors. Studies show indoor-only cats live longer.

Provide regular playtime. They need the stimulation and exercise.

Use food or treat-dispensing puzzle toys to simulate hunting followed by eating.

Feed a high-meat protein diet. Cats need animal protein to thrive.

In a recent study, researchers from the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom found that people who provided their cats with a high-meat protein, grain-free diet and introduced five to 10 minutes of play with prey-simulating toys each day experienced a 25% to 36% decrease in the numbers of animals the cats captured and brought home.

The researchers concluded that nutrition and playtime were so successful in curbing feline predation that these noninvasive, positive methods worked better than impeding their hunting abilities by such measures as adding bells to their collars, which they wrote had no discernible effect. The study, “Provision of High Meat Content Food and Object Play Reduce Predation of Wild Animals by Domestic Cats Felis catus,” was published on Feb. 11, 2021, in Current Biology.

No matter their reason for bringing you gifts, your cats see you as family as much as you see them as family. And like you, their basic needs for a healthy life include proper nutrition and exercise.

What kinds of gifts does your cat bring you? Share your stories with us at catstermag@belvoir.com.

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Georgia Nichol’s Weekly Horoscope: Sunday, August 15, 2021

All Signs

This week ahead is upbeat and optimistic! It starts off positive and morphs into exciting changes and stimulating experiences. Get ready for something different! Many will muster the courage to break free from certain restrictions and go after what they really want. Routine will be boring. People will be charged with ideas and enthusiastic about new introductions, new encounters and new activities. Lots of change! It’s interesting that Albert Einstein said, “The measure of intelligence is the ability to change.” (And a genius like him should know — after all mathematics is 90% intelligence and the other half is common sense.)

Aries (March 21-April 19)

This week begins with friendly, social occasions, playful activities with kids and possibly a vacation? One thing is certain – you’re ready to play! Sports events will be gratifying and upbeat. Note: As the week progresses, get ready for surprises and sudden changes related to your job or your work. You might encounter new people, new places and new situations. Work-related travel might be on the menu. Something unusual related to a pet might occur? It’s a great time to start a new job or begin a new project. These same surprises and new discoveries could relate to your health. Oh yeah, you’re the pioneer of the zodiac and you love change. Go with the flow and be happy!

Taurus (April 20-May 20)

Your relationship with a parent or a family member will be gratifying and rewarding as this week begins, especially because you will feel fortunate in matters related to real estate, home and family. (Caution about overestimating something.) Later in the week, you definitely want to play because you’re full of fun, creative ideas! Sports events, the arts, the entertainment world, playful activities with kids and anything to do with social diversions, parties and fun getaways (including vacations) will appeal! You will make an effort to seek out good times! You have always liked your creature comforts because you enjoy the good things in life. Ya think?

Gemini (May 21-June 20)

As this week begins, you are in an upbeat, optimistic frame of mind – no question. You believe in yourself. You believe in your abilities. You believe in your future. This is great! After all, you are the one who is scripting the movie of your life. Grab opportunities to travel or get further education or training. Later in the week, surprising changes at home or within your family will take place. Unexpected repairs and improvements are likely. New and unusual people might be on the scene. You might encounter a surprise opportunity with real estate or a way to make exciting changes to where you live.

Cancer (June 21-July 22)

Finances and business deals look good at the beginning of this week. You feel confident and you’re happy with how things are folding. This is an excellent time to fundraise or get money from other sources including banks and financial institutions. You might benefit from the wealth of your partner. Fasten your seatbelts because as the week progresses, it gets busier with unpredictable events. Sudden short trips, the introduction of new people into your life, exciting new ideas, new beginnings and a busy, accelerated pace will keep you charged with enthusiasm. Be smart and stay light on your feet so that you can deal with the unexpected because this week, life is a changing landscape!

Leo (July 23-Aug. 22)

You feel positive and happy this week because you’re enjoying good times and the emotional support of some people. Interactions with others will be cheerful and friendly. Admittedly, you might be inclined to go overboard or overestimate something in a positive way. (Be aware of this.) Later in the week, you might have unexpected moneymaking ideas? You might make spontaneous purchases? This is because something related to your earnings, cash flow and your possessions will undergo swift, sweeping changes. (It’s a bit of a whirlwind.) You might begin a new business or start a new project that impacts your earnings or your belongings. You might make a clean sweep of things and clear up messy areas! “Finally!”

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22)

This is an unusual week for you. At the beginning of the week, you’ll feel content and pleased with yourself. You’re happy to be in your own skin. However, as the week progresses, life gets more wild and crazy! You’ll feel alive and charged with new ideas! Something to do with your immediate environment will be new and different. Quite likely, you will meet new people and be involved in new activities. You will also be courageous about doing things your way because you see now you have a chance to do this. Nothing will hold you back. You might suddenly take on an exercise program or a new regime to improve your health in an invigorating way! “I’m ready!”

Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22)

Right now, you feel good about yourself, which is why you will enjoy schmoozing with others – friends as well as groups and organizations. You’re confident about your ideas and this translates into positive conversations with friends and relations. Basically, you feel like a winner! (Take two, they’re small.) Because of an undercurrent of surprise and change this week, you might feel restless. You might decide that something has to give. Unexpected news might catch you off guard along with the surprising actions by someone else. Is this something that you didn’t see coming? Fortunately, with your ruler Venus in your sign, you will be smooth and unflappable. (Get out and shop for wardrobe treasures.)

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21)

Relations with bosses, parents and authority figures are excellent. Because everyone’s in a great mood, it’s as if you’re in a mutual admiration society. (This could be a good time to advance your cause or ask for a favour?) Almost certainly, later in the week, someone will surprise you. Or perhaps instead, you will meet someone new who is unusual and interesting? Possibly, this unexpected impact with someone else will be because of your involvement with a group? Whatever the case, something exciting will catch you off guard, and someone younger might be involved. In turn, they might introduce you to a variety of new experiences and new people. Naturally, this will lead to new avenues and new ways of doing things for you. Mucho changes!

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 21)

Oh happy day! You’re in a positive frame of mind as this week begins. In fact, you feel confident about your beliefs, your ideas, your politics and your approach to life. (Some of you feel so confident you might be a tad righteous.) Relations with friends are warm and rewarding this week, especially with people who are creative and artistic. Keep your ducks in a row because, quite possibly, you will be sidelined or surprised by something to do with parents, bosses or someone in authority. Whatever it is, it will be exciting, different and will send you off in a new direction. Meanwhile, you will impress important people with your cutting-edge, timely ideas. You’re the promoter, remember?

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 19)

Financial matters, earnings and money deals please you very much right now. You feel happy with how your wealth and assets are looking. (And maybe cooking?) However, later in the week, travel plans are completely unreliable. You might suddenly have to travel when you least expected to do so. Alternatively, carefully laid travel plans might be cancelled or changed. (Whaaat?) These same surprising, unpredictable influences might also impact school plans or something to do with publishing, the media, medicine and the law. Whatever surprises you, might be a fabulous opportunity to explore. Or you might feel blindsided by something? Look for new doors and new opportunities within these changes because this is possible. Stay fresh!

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 18)

Life is good! Things are looking terrific for your sign because lucky Jupiter is in Aquarius enjoying a standoff with the Sun. This makes you feel great! In particular, friendships and partnerships will be warm and enriching! As this week wears on, do be aware that some surprises might catch you off guard related to shared property, taxes, debt, or the wealth of your partner. Hopefully, it will be good news. Your partner might get a raise or a bonus which indirectly benefits you? You might get money back from the government? You might inherit? Something unexpected will affect your shared assets – definitely. Meanwhile, travel for pleasure appeals. Some of you might strike up a cozy relationship with someone new and unusual.

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20)

Ta da! You feel happy, confident and have a strong sense of well-being. In particular, your health feels invigorated, which is why you are eager and enthusiastic to handle whatever comes your way. This is good because some surprises from partners and close friends will likely be on the menu later this week. Someone close to you might demand more freedom in the relationship. They might suggest something unusual. Possibly, you will meet a new friend who is unusual or different. Whatever happens in your closest relationships will be surprising, stimulating but at the same time, liberating and exciting. You might see new ways of doing things or perhaps, new ways of living? Someone might be surprised to learn something new about you. They might see a side of you they never appreciated before?

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Weekly Horoscopes Beginning Sunday, 15 August 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:

Understandably, you’re tempted to tackle certain plans that are going nowhere. Instead, focus on tidying up several of your own, as yet unrewarding, ideas and ventures. While you’ve worked on some, but without success, you’re no longer enthusiastic about others. Once you begin, however, you’ll soon realise that, between changes in circumstances, and what and who you’ve encountered, you’ve plenty of worthwhile options to pursue.

You might look back and realise you have been spending without thinking. You can’t blame anyone else if you’ve been careless about cash in the past. It’s not as if anyone held your hands behind your back and forced you to spend. So why waste even more money now? If you don’t need it, don’t buy it. A hint of friction in the home in the weekend could be due to some ill feeling when either you or someone you live with has to make work a priority.

As of Monday, Venus begins its annual transit of your opposite sign. It would be understandable if you experienced envy about other people’s career plans and how much they’ve accomplished in the last year. That feeling should be temporary. By Wednesday, and the Moon’s arrival at your own career point, you should have a clear idea of action you could take to improve your own standing. All this is the build-up to a dynamic weekend that includes both a Full Moon and Uranus’ station. The fact that these events coincide and are in Fixed signs of the zodiac suggest this will mark a turning point. Career wise this could be when a team comes together and/or when you realise precisely who has both talent and experience. Nor would it be surprising if you were asked to take on greater role within a team. Your leadership skills are doubtless recognised: but now they could be used on new platform.

Taurus

Personal theme: I have!!

Earth & fixed sign: April 20 — May 20

Your horoscope for this week:

The current theme is teamwork, both in existing plans and arrangements but, also, in new ideas and ventures you’re hoping to get off the ground. Tempting as it is to force issues, instead focus on exploring every option and, equally, meeting those who’ve insights to discuss. This ensures you’re prepared for the stunning ideas, offers and encounters promised by next week’s amazingly congenial planetary activity.

You’ll be as happy as the day is long providing you are left to your own devices. As the week begins, your main aim will be to avoid people who love to whinge and jobs that aren’t your responsibility. Once you’ve had a few days to think about it, you will know what to do to move a joint project forward. You are beginning to appreciate the support around you at work. Where some people have been shirking their responsibilities there are others who can’t do enough for you.

You know what you enjoy doing. You also know what you’re good at. Give both careful thought in the first half of this week. By next weekend’s Uranus’ station in your sign – which comes within hours of a Full Moon at the apex of your solar chart, – you should know exactly what it is you have to offer and what products and services you could provide. Yes, this may be your moment for launching your own business. Even if that’s not a realistic possibility, – and obviously much depends on your personal chart, – there’s high probability of you wanting to do things your way and taking control in a way that so far hasn’t been apparent. This really could be life changing. The accent though, is very much on what you enjoy doing and who you enjoy working with. A partnership opportunity could at least be discussed.

Gemini

Personal theme: I think!!

Air sign: May 21 — June 20

Your horoscope for this week:

Recently a range of tricky but crucial issues involving how you live, work or your lifestyle arose. While you’ve had changes in mind, it seems destiny i