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
Goddess Month of Maia begins 4/18 – 5/15
Celtic Tree Month April 15 – May 12 ~ Saille / Willow Tree
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GrannyMoon Says Today Is: Moon Day
Spells and rituals involving the Earth Element should be performed when the
Moon is in an Earth sign: Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn.
Energy: Female Ruler: The Moon – Rules emotions, protection, healing, and
women’s mysteries – Use for magick involving the subconscious, healing,
emotions, love, spirituality, healing wounds, children, small animals,
women’s mysteries, the female side of men, mothers, sisters, female
partners, wives, instincts
Today’s Magickal Influences: Agriculture, Domestic, Long Life, Medicine,
Travels, Visions, Theft
Today’s Goddesses: Luna, Selene, Diana, Re, Gaeleach, Ida, Artemis [Whom The
Greeks Associated With Bast], The Witches, Yemaya, Erzulie, Bast
Perfumes: White Poppy, White Rose, Wallflower
Color of The Day: Silver, Grey, White
Colors for Tomorrow: Red
Lucky Sign: Monday Is The Lucky Day For The Sign of Cancer
Cooking on Monday will improve magics for creativity, insight, maternal
nature, and goddess-related efforts. ~Quote from Magickal Martha
GrannyMoon Says Today Is: Tiu’s Day – the day of Mars…also Ares, Tiwaz,
Tiw (from whom it is named), Tuisco, and Tyr. Tuesday is ruled by Mars,
whose Magickal influences are: Passion, courage, aggression, and
protection. Tuesday comes under the influence of Mars, the planet associated
with vitality, passion, ambition, and raw, unabashed power.
Mars energy makes the mind acute, and the body restless; therefore, on
Tuesday we are likely to exert ourselves physically and take action to
achieve goals. This day is dynamic and high-spirited, and the prevailing
energies may include carelessness and destructiveness as well, so it is good
to be cautious—especially while traveling.
Today’s Magickal Influences ~ Destination, War, Courage, Surgery, Physical
Today’s Goddesses: Aset [Isis], Soorejnaree, Pingalla, Anna, Aine, Danu,
Yngona, Bellona, Aida Wedo, Sun Woman
Perfumes: Hellebore, Carnation, Patchouli
Incense: Lignum Aloes, Plantain
Color of The Day: Red
Colors for Tomorrow: Yellow
Lucky Sign: Tuesday Is The Lucky Day For Aries
GrannyMoon Says Today Is: Woden’s Day
Energy: Male Ruler: Mercury – Rules healings, the mind – Use for magick
involving mental issues, learning, higher education, addictions,
communications, travel, young people, messages, perception, self-expression,
artists, poets, and writers
Today’s Magickal Influences: Conjurations, Predictions, Knowledge, Writing,
Today’s Goddesses: Aset [Isis], Demeter, Ceres, Spider Woman, Bona Dea, Oya,
Devi-Kali, Hella, Rhiannon, Coatlique, Maman Brigette, Sekhmet, Het Heret
Incense: Cinnamon, Cinquefoil
Perfumes: Sweetpea, Lavender, Mastic, Frankincense, Cloves
Color of The Day: Yellow, Grey
Colors for Tomorrow: Purple, Indigo, Blue
Lucky Sign: Wednesday Is The Lucky Day For Gemini And Virgo
GrannyMoon Says Today Is: Thor’s Day
Energy: Male, Ruler: Jupiter – Rules growth, expansion, generosity – Use
for magick involving growth, expansion, prosperity, money, business,
attracting more of what you have.
Today’s Magickal Influences ~ Luck, Religion, Healing, Trade And Employment,
Treasure, Honors, Riches, Legal Matters
Today’s Goddesses: Juno, Hera, Kwan Yin, Mary, Cybele, Tara, Mawu, Mlaba
Mwana Waresa, Ishtar, Nuit
Perfumes: Stock, Lilac, Storax, Aloes
Incense: Nutmeg, Henbane
Color of The Day: Purple, Indigo, Blue
Colors for Tomorrow: Light Blue, Pale Green
Lucky Sign: Thursday Is The Lucky Day For Sagittarius And Pisces
GrannyMoon Says Today Is: Freya’s Day
Energy: Female Ruler: Venus – Rules lovers and pleasure, affairs of the
heart – Use for magick involving love, peace, beauty, gentleness, women’s
problems, healing, protection, lovers, ease, pleasure, affairs. Resolve
Today’s Magickal Influences: All Love Matters, Friendships, Affection,
Partnerships, Money, Sex
Today’s Goddesses: Astarte, Aphrodite, Erzulie, Aida Wedo, Eve, Venus,
Freya, Frigg, Diana, Aset [Isis], The Witch Of Gaeta, Chalchiuhtlique
Incense: Saffron, Verbena
Perfumes: Stephanotis, Apple Blossom, Musk, Ambergris
Color of The Day: Light Blue, Pale Green
Colors for Tomorrow: Black
Lucky Sign: Friday Is The Lucky Day For Taurus And Libra
Saint Jegudiel represents Friday
GrannyMoon Says Today Is: Saturn’s Day
Day of Seatere, Seater, and Saturn and of Loki, the Norse god of tricks and
revelry. Saturday is ruled by Saturn, whose Magickal influences are:
longevity, endings, and homes. Saturday comes under the influence of Saturn.
Saturn’s influence directs our attention toward routine chores, customs, and
conventional traditions.Saturday is a good day for furthering our ambitions
through perseverance, patience, responsible action, and a sense of purpose .
Saturday is a good day of the week to perform spells and rituals involving
spirit communication, meditation, psychic self-defense, binding, and
locating lost things or missing persons.
Today’s Goddesses: Ops, Rhea, Tellus Mater, Gaia, Eartha, Ge, Tonantzin,
Asherah, Anath, The Shekinah, The Matronit, Mary, Gula, Herodias, Oddudua,
Today’s Magickal Influences: Duties, Responsibilities, Finding Families,
Works Of Magic, Buildings, Meditation, Life, Doctrines
Today’s Energies: Female – Rules obstacles, overcoming blockages – Use for
magick involving overcoming limitations, the elderly, endings, deaths,
blocks, constrictions, and those restricting you.
Incense: Pepperwort, Assodilious, Black Poppy Seeds, Henbane, Lodestone,
Perfumes: Hyacinth, Pansy
Color of The Day: Black
Colors for Tomorrow: Orange, Gold and Yellow
Lucky Sign: Saturday Is The Lucky Day For Capricorn And Aquarius
GrannyMoon Says Today is: Sun Day – Energy: Male Ruler: The Sun – Rules
health, prosperity, leadership, joy, and protection – Use for magick
involving happiness, prosperity, joy, healing, protection, power,
leadership, ego, authority figures, fathers, husbands
Today’s Goddesses: Sunne, Frau Sonne, Aditi, Igaehindvo, Amaterasu, Arinna,
ay’s Magickal Influences: Health, Healing, Confidence And Hope, Prosperity
Incense: Mastic, Palaginia
Perfumes: Heliotrope, Orange Blossom, Cloves, Frankincense, Ambergris, Musk,
Color of The Day: Orange, Gold
Colors for Tomorrow: Silver, Gray, White
Lucky Sign: Sunday Is The Lucky Day For Leo
Llewelyn’s Spell A Day RSS Feed
Spell Date: Sunday, April 30, 2017
Many traditions use some sort of bead string to guide prayer or meditation, and you can do the same. You’ll need a cord in a chosen color, or just use black. You’ll also need a set of beads, buttons, or small items for stringing. Consider the purpose of your prayer or meditation as well as the color, shape, number, and meaning of each item.
Lay out your beads and string on a surface and work with them until you have a pleasing arrangement. Now begin stringing. Use figure-eight knots between each item. The figure eight is continuous, allowing energy to flow through the string, and its shape suggests eternity.
Finish the string with more permanent square knots. Holding the string in your hands, say:
“One bead, two bead, New lessons, I heed.”
Keep the beads close for the next week, and charge them under the sun and/or moon as desired. Use them thereafter when you pray, meditate, or work ritual.
This post was written by Susan Pesznecker on April 30, 2017
Spell Date: Saturday, April 29, 2017
As the land around us begins to blossom in earnest, we can tap into that energy to plant the seeds for abundance in our own lives. You will need a small pot of soil, a few seeds (simple herbs or flowers that can later be used for magic are nice, but anything decorative and easy to grow will do), and a small pitcher of water. (For an added boost, you can leave the water out under a full moon.) Take a moment to visualize what abundance means to you. Then plant the seeds in the pot and say this spell as you slowly water them:
“By the power of water and the power of earth, By the power of the season’s sacred dance, Let abundance be given birth And all good things my life enhance.”
Every time you water your seeds, remember to focus on abundance and prosperity.
This post was written by Deborah Blake on April 29, 2017
Bless Your Garden
Spell Date: Friday, April 28, 2017
Planting time is almost here. It’s time to wake up your soil and prepare your garden. But the earth still sleeps. Although we’re graced with warm days, summer is still a couple months away.
Use April’s energy to awaken and revive the soil. Clear away any debris that has gathered over the winter, and lightly rake the soil. If the weather allows, take your shoes off and walk in your garden. Feel the tingle of new life preparing to sprout forth.
Face the east and raise your arms. Walk a clockwise circle as you call upon the power of nature:
“Great is the golden sun and the blessed season that has begun.
Great is the moon, powerful and bright, who shines upon us through the night.
Great is the rain, which cleanses and makes us whole again.
Great is the earth, on whom we do depend!
This post was written by Najah Lightfoot on April 28, 2017
Pay the Bills
Spell Date: Thursday, April 27, 2017
We can always use some extra money, no matter what we do. Sometimes we need to get out there and push.
I like candle spells. Green candles, for our greenbacks, would be a good start for this spell. Choose a simple tapered green candle, or use a three-day or seven-day money candle. Add something to your candle that draws, like sugar or honey. Use cinnamon oil as an accelerant for your spell. Dress the candle with the oil then place it in your working space and burn it.
It will help if you also do the mundane work. Need a temporary part-time job? Someone owe you some money? Have something you can sell? Add these to your working: look for the job, call the person who owes you, or put your item up for sale. You will be surprised at how fast this will work.
This post was written by Boudica on April 27, 2017
Spell Date: Wednesday, April 26, 2017
Take a walk down memory lane while using friendship bracelets to help strengthen a friendship. Using stranded cotton embroidery thread, pick a color that represents you and another color to represent your friend. For the third color, you’ll need a blue shade of your choosing.
Cut off about eighteen inches of thread of each color to work with. Leaving about a two-inch tail, tie the ends of the three threads together in a knot, thinking about something fun the two of you did the last time you hung out together. Now start braiding, thinking of how much you appreciate this friendship.
About every 3/4 inch, tie another knot, thinking of something very specific that you appreciate about your friend. Keep braiding until you have made a total of eight knots. Add another ¾ inch of braid and then tie off the last knot. Cut off the remaining thread, leaving about a two-inch tail.
Give the braid to your friend and let them know how much you appreciate having them in your life. Your friend may either wear the bracelet or keep it somewhere special.
This post was written by Laurel Reufner on April 26, 2017
Fire Purging Ritual
Spell Date: Tuesday, April 25, 2017
Fire is a powerful way to encourage transformation and to banish harmful energy. Today, make way for change. Write down what you wish to purge, then fold the paper and burn it. Use an outdoor fire pit or, if indoors, use a saucepan on the stove or some other heatproof container.
As the paper is burning, visualize the fire consuming that which needs to be removed from your life. You are transformed. You will rise like a phoenix from the ashes. As the paper burns, chant:
“Fire, rid me of this weight, On this night I consummate The change I need to be set free, Let it be the best for me. For good of all and harm to none, As I will, so it be done.”
When the fire is out and the ashes have cooled, collect them and either set them free upon the wind or bury them.
This post was written by Ember Grant on April 25, 2017
A Blessing for Our Young Women
Spell Date: Monday, April 24, 2017
As we consider the four stages of a woman’s life—Maiden, Mother, Queen, Crone—we see that springtime is the maiden season of the year. It must be hard to be a young woman in the early years of the twenty-first century. Not only do they have to cope with the usual hormonal changes, but there are also issues around social media—keeping constantly in touch and bullying—as well as education and career choices. Consider young women you know. How can you help them in practical ways? Become a mentor.
As you’re mentoring a young woman, buy beads of agate (courage, health, love, protection) and tourmaline (all colors: success, courage, friendship, grounding, love, prosperity, peace, protection) and make her a bracelet or necklace. Explain the significance of each stone. Make a similar bracelet or necklace for yourself and explain to her that the two of you are now BFF (best friends forever … well, approximately forever).
This post was written by Barbara Ardinger on April 24, 2017
Tasha’s Astro Planner for May 2017
I’m sure you will all be happy to hear that from an astrological standpoint, May looks pretty easy going and pleasant. Mercury finishes up its retrograde motion in initiating Aries on the 3rd turning direct mid day. Beginnings of all sorts will go better now. On the 16th it moves into Taurus, and our thoughts and discussions turn in more materialistic directions. The Sun begins the month in steady Taurus, fine for continuing with what has already been begun and moves to Gemini on the 20th, providing airy bounce after the groundedness of earthy Taurus.
Venus is in showy Aries all month; expect stores to present fashion innovations and new colors for the season. Our choices will tend toward acquiring what is new and trendy rather than what is tried and true. Mars is in facile Gemini all month. Innovations and developments in communication may be emphasized. Activity around anything involving communication or transportation might also be highlighted. Jupiter remains retrograde in Libra: legal matters could be slowed. Saturn is still retrograde in Sagittarius; educational matters could be also.
Uranus is direct in Aries and Neptune is direct in Pisces. Neither makes any strong aspects with other heavy planets this month. Pluto is retrograde in Capricorn still, however there is not much importance to that except that it might slow the effects of change on politics and business. There is a lot of foot dragging in those areas as it is. However, as the saying goes: the mills of the gods grind slowly but they grind exceedingly fine. August may be an interesting month because for part of the month four of the five “heavies” will be retrograde along with Mercury.
The Full Moon in Scorpio takes place on the 10th, and the day before the sun trines Pluto and early that day Mercury conjuncts Uranus. Mars squares Neptune on the 11th. There could be some interesting events or occurrences in the days surrounding the 10th. For the two weeks after the full Moon eliminating and concluding are featured. For the two weeks after the new Moon on the 25th , initiatory actions and accumulation are featured.
Special days to be used well: the 3rd with Mercury direct, the 9th with Sun/Pluto trine, 10th with Uranus/Mercury conjunct, the 11th with Mercury/Saturn trine, the 12th with Mars/Jupiter trine, the 18th and 19th with Saturn/Uranus trine, the 31st with Mercury/Pluto trine. Be especially mindful on these days: the 11th with Mars/Neptune square, the 25th with Venus/Pluto square, the 29th with Mars/Saturn opposition. You can check my website for particulars on the best use of the energy at http://www.heartwingslovenotes.com on these or other days according to which sign the Moon is in.
Tasha’s Day by Day Astro Planner
Mon. 5/1 Loving Cancer Moon makes May Day warm and lovely.
Tue. 5/2 Playful Leo Moon helps us enjoy this day.
Wed. 5/3 Dramatic Leo Moon has us remembering tales to tell. Mercury turns direct; think how to correct errors. Sun/Neptune sextile says seek out music.
Thu. 5/4 Diligent Virgo Moon helps get things accomplished.
Fri. 5/5 Organized Virgo Moon helps put all the ducks in a row.
Sat. 5/6 particular Virgo Moon makes for fun polishing. 2:30 PM Beauty loving Libra Moon encourages artistic expression.
Sun. 5/7 Indecisive Libra Moon makes it difficult to choose.
This Week in the Heavens
From Occult Weekly
Monday, May 1st
Moon Phase: First Quarter and Waxing, Incense – Clary sage, Color – Gray
Tuesday, May 2nd
Moon Phase: Second Quarter and Waxing, Incense – Cedar, Color – Maroon
Wednesday, May 3rd
Moon Phase: Second Quarter and Waxing, Incense – Bay laurel, Color – Topaz
Thursday, May 4th
Moon Phase: Second Quarter and Waxing, Incense – Balsam, Color – Turquoise
Friday, May 5th
Moon Phase: Second Quarter and Waxing, Incense – Vanilla, Color – Rose
Saturday, May 6th
Moon Phase: Second Quarter and Waxing, Incense – Sage, Color – Indigo
Sunday, May 7th
Moon Phase: Second Quarter and Waxing, Incense – Hyacinth, Color – Amber
The Week Ahead
May 1 – Beltane / Bealteine / May Day
May Day. Final and most exuberant fertility holiday. First day of summer, the fields get greener and flowers decorate the landscape. People dance around a Maypole, weaving ribbons onto the pole as they dance. A maiden would be crowned Queen of the May. People would give May baskets filled with flowers. Fires were lit and cattle were driven between the fires to cleanse them. It was also a day to honor the dead, faeries, and the earth Goddess (particularly Maia, an old Italian goddess of spring). Many wear green like the Celtic faeries. This morning’s dew has magickal qualities.
Finland: Ancient festival of the Rowan Witch Day, in honor of the Goddess of Earth, Nature, Weather, and ceremonies Rauni. Reindeer were sacrificed to Rauni on this day to bring pleasant growing weather and insure a bountiful harvest.
Slavic Pagan: Rodonitsa – Traven (May) 1. This is the third great day of worship of our ancestors, a day of remembrance. Today we bring beer, vodka, and food to our dead. During the feast, celebrants call their guests to stir from their sepluchres and eat and drink in remembrance of Trisna. This day is named “Rodnitsa” to honor the God Rod, the God of Family
May Love Spell
To Attract Someone’s Interest or To Rekindle the Fires of Love
Light a white candle, with two candles standing by, one red, one pink
Prepare your altar and include fresh red roses or other significant flowers. If you don’t have the colors called for, you can use all white, red, or pink. Write your incantation on pink paper using a pen with red ink. If you have a photograph of your loved one or a personal object, place it on the altar. While gazing at the picture or object or contemplating your loved one in your mind’s eye, hold and charge your crystal with the energies of your desire.
Heartwings Love Notes 774: Good luck Can Be Ours
Heartwings says: Making our luck can be more than superstition
Whenever I see a penny I pick it up, and depending on whether the penny is heads of tails I keep it or give it away. I was told tails meant it was to be given away, heads to kept. When we lived near a brook I used to use the pennies I found to make wishes. Making wishes while throwing pennies in the water is a very common superstition. I just looked it up on the Internet and discovered it comes from the ancient idea that to do so was to make an offering to the spirit of the water to achieve help with what was wished for.
Feathers are something I always pick up. Not only are they pretty they are said to be messages from those in spirit that all is well and that the individual is thinking of the finder. After my son Robin passed on I kept finding feathers everywhere. It is also true that certain Native American tribes consider feathers from particular birds to be sacred objects. The best place for feathers of course is a beach, where gull and other bird feathers are often to be found in plenty. I used to have quite a collection. When we moved I gave them to a friend to use in her various craft projects.
The flight of birds has been used to predict good or ill fortune. Stephen’s grandmother thought birds were an omen of death. Perhaps her belief stemmed from the idea of prediction by the bird flight. Some cultures have a negative view of predicting. The subject of superstitions has fascinated me since I was very young. I wrote a paper on it in the eight grade. Yet even though I pick up feathers and pennies and make wishes by throwing pennies into water, I firmly believe that we make our own luck, not by practicing superstitions but by doing what seems right and good when the occasion arises.
The saying that what goes around comes around seems to me to resonate as truth. It could be that my belief is influencing my opinion yet even if that is true it seems to me that one can only benefit by doing unto others as you would have them do unto you. There is one codicil I would add: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you if you were they. In other words, think about what the other person might really prefer rather than what you believe they might. When you do this you are fulfilling the true intent of the good result that you can earn by remembering to do unto others.
When you engage in a good deed, may you receive back as you are giving.
Blessings and Best Regards, Tasha Halpert
PS Thanks for reading my little love note. Please write me to let me know how you liked it or if you have any comments or questions. I love hearing from you. TashaHal@aol.com
Murder In Grafton, Part 1
Affectionately Dedicated To The Memory Of Robert B. Parker
I picked Susan up at Logan and we got onto the Pike west to Grafton. Last night I had told her about Bob’s sudden death. She insisted on leaving her psychologists convention in Miami and flying back to Boston.
The calling hours were at his home on Brigham Hill Road from 2 to 8. We had time to stop for lunch.
She looked ravishing. Her chocolate cashmere jumpsuit outlined her sleek trim figure. Her streaked blond hair was perfect and her makeup gave the impression she hadn’t used any.
Susan studied the menu at the Inn. “Bob never ate right,” she said. “And all that booze was even in his writing. And he’d always gloat over some artery clogging recipe he’d found.” She sipped her water. “You’d best be careful too. At your age eating poorly is best replaced by having fun doing something other than eating.”
I decided on the grilled tuna and seaweed salad.
We sat by the window at The Inn across from one of the three churches facing to the town Common. The cute waitress with a blond pageboy recited the luncheon specials. Susan chose the Cobb salad. She looked around the Inn’s rustic interior. “Tell me everything.”
“This morning’s paper said he died at his desk. His wife found him when she came got home. Massive coronary.”
My mind went back to the night before. Hawk had called. “Boss is gone,” he said. “Right in the middle of a new chapter about us; bummer!”
I was in my office overlooking Berkeley and Boylston. “Just like that? Nothing funny?”
“How should I know,” Hawk said. “You is the private eye. I’m just your faithful Afro American companion.”
The waitress came over with our plates. I asked her if she had known Bob.
“Everyone in town knew him,” she said wistfully. Then she grinned. “Especially the ladies. He liked to teach them about gourmet cooking.”
“Anyone in particular,” I said.
“Everyone in particular.” Then she looked blank and beat a hasty retreat.
“The plot thickens.” I tasted the tuna.
“What plot? From everything you’ve said it sounds like his heart just gave out. Happens every day.” Susan noticed another couple taking a nearby table. “Hello there Sonny,” she waved.
“Dr. Silverman!” The hefty brunette smiled. “I’m so sorry we have to run into each other this way. I’d like you meet my friend Jesse Stone, Chief of Police of Paradise, MA.”
Susan smiled at Sonny. “Just like you said, he does look a lot like Clint Eastwood.”
Jesse seemed to enjoy the compliment. “And you must be Dr. Susan Silverman, the celebrated Cambridge shrink. Even in her sleep Sonny talks about you.”
“If I ever dared to call her a shrink …,” I said quietly.
“And you’re Spencer.” Her eyes lit up. “I’m Sonny Randall. My father always speaks well of you.”
“Is he enjoying his retirement from the Boston PD?”
“He’ll never completely retire.” Sonny said. “Now he’s a weapons consultant. He couldn’t stand being alone at home 24/7 with mom.”
The blond waitress appeared at their table. “Can I bring you anything to drink?”
“Ice tea,” Stone said with a sigh. He looked across at Sonny.”
“Same,” she smiled.
“Here for calling hours?” Susan said.
“This whole thing is blowing my mind,” Sonny said. “Just the other day we talked and Bob told me he was planning a European vacation with his wife over Christmas. Apparently she’s been on the go and they hadn’t had much quality time together.”
The waitress brought their iced teas and they ordered.
“Wives require lots of time.” Stone said.
“Look,” Susan said. “There’s Hawk.”
Hawk, trim and muscular and Rita Flores, tall, curvy and attractive took a table near ours. Rita smiled cordially at Susan. “Hi Spencer. This must be your main squeeze.”
Susan smiled. “And you must be that lady lawyer downtown Spencer speaks so well of.”
“I’ll take that as a compliment,” Rita grinned. “Considering…”
The blond waitress reappeared. “Can I bring you something to drink?”
Hawk, wearing a black turtleneck and jeans looked up. “Imported French Champagne. Tragedy calls for something more bubbly than soda pop.”
“I’ll check with the bartender,” she said and scurried off.
I introduced Rita and Hawk to Sonny R and Jesse.”
“How are you, Chief Stone?” Rita gave him an imperceptible wink and Sonny wondered how well acquainted they might be.
Jesse nodded and gazed around the rustic dining room. “I’d have thought Bob would have lived in Boston or even Manhattan. I can’t quite picture him out here in the country.”
“We’re not too far from Taft where he lectured on the art of detective fiction,” I said.
“Or even up on the North Shore near Paradise,” Sunny said. “I wonder if there’s any night life around here? Or do people watch PBS and lights out by ten?”
“Night life’s easy to find,” Jesse said. “All it takes usually is booze and two people drinking it.”
“We don’t know anything about Bob’s private life.” I said.
Rita frowned and examined her manicure. “You mean our Mr. Monogamy lead a double life? Is that what you’re insinuating?”
“I wouldn’t make any assumptions,” Susan said. “Just because he hardly ever let any of his characters fool around. Or the next thing you know one of us might start suggesting foul play.”
(To be continued)
Pagan of the Good Times
I am celebrating May Day, Beltane and Walpurgisnacht. The beginning of May is a time of year when, supposedly, the warmer weather comes and everything begins to blossom and grow. Festivals have been held at this time throughout Europe for centuries. When I wrote about the founding of Rome in 753 BC, I mentioned the festival of Parilia, which involved driving a flock of sheep through a bonfire to purify them and give them protection through the following year. This is not unlike the Beltane celebrations that we find in Scotland and Ireland. In a later period the Romans held another celebration called Floralia which was dedicated to Flora, the goddess of flowers and fertility. It was a six day festival covering the end of April and the beginning of May and is probably the origin of the ‘May Queen’ tradition in England. But the Roman festival was known for its licentiousness and pleasure-seeking atmosphere. It was a festival enjoyed by the common people of Rome. Prostitutes particularly made it their own. They performed naked in the theatre and perhaps also fought in the gladiatorial arena. This doesn’t sound so much like our English festival.
In England, the May Day festival is celebrated with dancing around a maypole, crowning a May Queen and, of course, Morris dancers. What could be more English than Morris dancers, right? The word ‘morris’ is an odd one but it is thought to derive from the word ‘Moorish’. The Moors, came originally from Morocco and settled in southern Europe in the eighth century. The term is first recorded in the fifteenth century and there seem to be comparable words in other European languages. So Morris dancing is not specifically English at all. The maypole is likely a remnant of tree worship originating amongst Germanic tribes. The dancing with ribbons is a more recent Victorian addition. It was all part of their vision of ‘Merry England’, a utopian paradise that never really existed. The crowning of a May Queen celebrates youth and new life and, as I said, probably Roman.
In Ireland and Scotland we find Beltane, which is principally a fire festival. Early sources suggest that two fires were lit and livestock were driven between them in order to provide protection for the following year. Possibly the first May bonfires were lit to drive away predators that might otherwise prove a danger to animals that were being taken to their summer pastures. Then, the fire became a ritual that would drive away all danger both natural and supernatural. Burning embers from the Beltane fire would be taken home and used to kindle a new fire in the hearth. Its ashes also had protective powers. They could be sprinkled on crops, on animals, on people. Some rituals seem to contain a memory of human sacrifice, such as leaping over the bonfire. There is an account from Scotland, mentioned in ‘The Golden Bough’, that describes a ritual in which the gathering pretended to throw someone onto the fire and afterwards spoke of him, for a while, as if he were dead.
Another feature of both May Day and Beltane was the gathering of yellow flowers to be placed at doors and windows and the construction of a May Bush. A thorn tree was be decorated with bright flowers, ribbons and painted shells. This could either be for a single household or a community endeavour. Competition between rival districts became strong, sometimes people would resort to theft. The problem of everyone trying to pinch everyone else’s bushes became so great in Ireland that the ceremony was banned in Victorian times.
In Northern Europe they celebrated Walpurgisnacht or, Hexennacht (witches night). It was celebrated on the evening of the 30th April and into the dawn of May Day. Fires were lit to drive away witches that were said to gather in the mountains on that night. In the Hartz Mountain region of Northern Germany, Walpurgisnacht celebrations sometimes gave rise to a phenomenon known as ‘the Brocken Spectre’. The Brocken is the highest peak in the Hartz mountains and almost always lost in fog. The spectre appears when a bright light casts the shadows of the observers onto the fog. It makes the shadows look enormous. They are often surrounded by a rainbow halo and generally a bit weird. The Hartz Mountains was one of the last regions in Germany to be converted to Christianity. The name Walpurgisnacht sounds like a brilliant Pagan word, but is in fact named after Saint Walpurga and is just another case of Christians spreading one of their saints all over an earlier festival. Saint Walpurga herself is disappointingly uninteresting apart from her name.
May Day celebrations are generally pastoral in nature and, as our country became more industrialised, they gradually fell out of favour. By the twentieth century they were almost gone but, due to an interest in pre-Christian religions, they have recently undergone something of a resurgence. The oldest surviving festival is the ‘Obby ‘Oss Festival in Padstow, Cornwall and probably the most notable revival of the Beltane festival has taken place at Calton Hill in Edinburgh since 1988.
By Madisyn Taylor
Always know, the Universe works in perfect order and you are never given more than you can handle.
Sometimes we may feel like there is just too much we need to do. Feeling overwhelmed may make it seem like the universe is picking on us, but the opposite is true: we are only given what we can handle. Difficult situations are opportunities to be our best selves, hone our skills and rise to the occasion.
The best place to start is to take a deep breath. As you do, remind yourself that the universe works in perfect order and therefore you can get everything done that needs to get done. As you exhale, release all the details that you have no control over. The universe with it’s infinite organizing power will orchestrate the right outcome. Anytime stress begins to creep up, remember to breathe through it with these thoughts.
Then, make a list of everything you need to do. Note what needs to be done first, and mark the things others may be able to do for you or with you. Though we often think no one else can do it correctly or well, there are times when it is worth it to exhale, let go of our control, and ask for help from professionals or friends. With the remaining things that feel you must do yourself, take another breath and determine their true importance. Sometimes they are things we’d like to do, but aren’t really necessary. After taking these quick steps, you will find you have a plan laid out, freeing you from frenzied thoughts circling in your head. With calming deep breaths, you are now free to focus more fully on our priorities. Herbal teas or flower remedies along with wise choices about caffeine and food can help keep us from becoming frantic too. But with nothing further from us than our breath, we can breathe in our best intentions and let the rest go with an exhale. Keeping ourselves centered and breathing into and through life’s challenges helps us learn what we are truly capable of doing, and we will find we have the ability to rise to any occasion. Remember you aren’t being picked on, and you are never alone.
Reverse a Spell Cast Against You
You will need:
• Black candle
• White paraffin, melted
Place the black candle in front of you and light it. Say: easily lit, you burn as I allow, but I have the power to disavow. Blow out the candle.
Dip the candle from the bottom into the white paraffin, you may dip it as far as two thirds of its length, but leave some of the black portion near the wick untouched. Dip the candle three times. Notice how each time you dip it, it gets whiter. Allow this to dry.
Light the candle again and allow it to burn the black portion remaining. As the flame reaches the part where the white paraffin begins, say: your will remains and though it is black, it has been transformed, it cannot attack. Allow the candle to burn down into the white paraffin area, and then snuff it out. Discard the unused portion at a crossroads, over your shoulder, without looking back.
This spell can be performed any time you know or suspect someone has put a spell on you, or when you seem to having a string of bad luck and you can’t explain why.
Source: Wicca Candle Spells by Milla Walsh
Source: Reverse a Spell cast Against You
4 Herbal Recipes For Everyday Skin Care
Posted By Naomi Ullian, B.A.
With farm season and warm weather coming our way and the brisk cold winter air at our backs, stocking the bathroom cabinets with concoctions from the kitchen is one way to be proactive about caring for your exposed outer layer. Skin care is not only a method of self-care and body-love, it also offers preventative measures for oxidative damages we incur as living beings out in the world.
I like my skin care to be affordable, non-toxic, and easy to input into daily and weekly routines. Most dermatologists see daily skin care in three stages: cleansing, toning, and moisturizing, with a weekly free-radical scavenging practice tacked on. A myriad of DIY recipes are available with any number of combination of easily accessible ingredients, from green tea and cacao to tea tree and sage. Below are a few recipes that I’ve used over the years to satisfy that tribute to Venus, the small daily luxury of body benevolence.
4 Herbal Recipes For Everyday Skin Care
Cleanse: Oatmeal Rose Honey Scrub
Many skin care educators agree that using a scrub or exfoliant several times a week can help clear dead and congesting cells from the surface of the dermis so that the living underlayers can receive moisture and antioxidant care from other products. The trick to a good scrub is to balance the exfoliation with skin-food, moisture, and toning to avoid irritation or overdrying.
The emollient and nourishing Avena is a grain long cherished for its skin-soothing properties, often applied in poultices and creams for dry, chapped, and irritated surface layers. The fine-ground oats bring the gentle exfoliating quality while also layering on gooey nutrients that help repair and plump. Rose petals similarly offer a gentle exfoliation while also lending the gentle astringent quality that rose water is so famous for.
Raw honey has long been used for skin care on account of its anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory, moistening, collagen-boosting, and free radical-scavenging actions (Ediriweera & Premarathna, 2012). Rich in proteins, acids, minerals, and antioxidants (uniquely, in the flavonoid pinocembrin), honey is called for in many traditional recipes and formulas for acne treatment, cleansers, moisturizers, hair conditioners, and wound care (Ediriweera & Premarathna, 2012). The sticky golden layer cleans without drying out the skin, and the fragrant rose petals offer their well-known astringent properties, drawing pores closed and tightening the structures for more resilience tissue. Traditional medicine practices hold that honey can also serve to enhance the properties of the herbs and other substances with which it is combined (Ediriweera & Premarathna, 2012).
Oatmeal Rose Honey Scrub
1 tablespoon ground oats
1/2 tablespoon ground rose petals
1 tablespoon raw honey
• Combine ingredients in small bowl.
• Steam skin with warm wet cloth. Apply scrub gently with circular motions for 1-2 minutes.
• Gently rinse and pat dry.
Tone: Queen of Hungary Water
This hundreds-of-years-old recipe has disputed origins and a difficult to trace lineage, but many a parfumerie and kitchen-witch swear by various versions of this recipe—the most well-known of late including Rosemary Gladstar’s (2001). Steeped in witch hazel (antimicrobial and astringent) or apple cider vinegar (which offers astringent, anti-infective, pH balancing), the herbs included offer toning, cleansing, anti-inflammatory, and anti-oxidant for daily care as well as for stressed tissues (Johnston & Gaas, 2006).
Queen of Hungary Water
This version is altered from Gladstar’s basic recipe., beginning with combining fresh macerated herbs in the following ratios.
6 parts fresh lemon balm
4 parts fresh chamomile
4 parts parts rose
4 parts fresh bee balm
3 parts fresh comfrey leaf
3 parts fresh elderflower
2 parts fresh sage
2 parts fresh rosemary
• Combine herbs in a jar and cover with raw apple cider vinegar. Let sit for 2 weeks.
• Strain herbs and bottle with an equal amount of witch hazel or rose water.
Spray or wipe gently over skin after cleansing and before moisturizing.
Moisturize: Calendula and Rosehip Oil
The oil bases for creams or face serums are usually chosen from among the lighter food-grade oils that are more affordable and available. For many people, olive oil is too heavy for the skin of the face so other options in which to infuse herbs include jojoba, argan, sweet almond, avocado, coconut, or a combination.
The bright blooms of Calendula have long been called upon to address skin ailments that include inflammation, infection, irritation, and oxidative stress (Dawid-Pac, 2013). Research has confirmed the wound regenerating, gentle tissue drawing, and antimicrobial actions that folks practices have employed Calendula for. Rosehips, similarly, offer a highly nourishing tonic for tissues that have undergone oxidative stress, including post-surgical scarring and the daily effects of the elements.
Calendula and Rosehip Oil
Carrier oil of choice (jojoba, argan, sweet almond, avocado, coconut)
• Macerate dried Calendula and rosehips and cover with oil in a double boiler or a crockpot on low for 2 hours.
• Allow to cool, strain herbs, and bottle oil.
Smooth a small amount of oil gently over skin after cleansing and toning.
Repair: Yogurt Honey Turmeric Mask
Once or twice a week, it’s useful to give a little extra care and nourishment to your skin. Clay, honey, or fruit peel masks can serve to hydrate, deep clean, exfoliate, and offer damage-control, and it’s useful to choose herbs and bases that suit the needs of your pH, moisture, age, and oiliness.
Similar to fruit acids like lemon, yogurt (whole and with no added sugars or preservatives) offers gentle acidic nourishment that complements the pH of the skin and removes dead cells from the surface that may clog pores and cause skin to appear dull. Adding a small amount of turmeric offers significant preventative and restorative skin care. Current research offers evidence that curcumin, a principle compound in turmeric, can address persistent inflammation, accelerate wound closure, treat skin infection, ameliorate skin discolorations, and protect against cytotoxic agents and environmental pollutants (Nyugen & Friedman, 2013, Sonavane et al., 2012).
Yogurt Honey Turmeric Mask
1 tablespoon yogurt
1 tablespoon raw honey
1 teaspoon powdered turmeric
Combine yogurt, raw honey, and turmeric (making sure not to add too much that the skin becomes stained) together in a glass bowl. Mix until thoroughly blended.
Tie hair back and steam face with a hot wet cloth. Combine ingredients as indicated and apply generously to skin. Allow to sit for 15 minutes or until mask is dry. Wash away mask gently with warm water. Apply moisturizer such as herbal-infused jojoba oil.
For many of us who have long been encouraged to cultivate our inner lives and not become to mired in the fleeting experiences of the cosmetic, it can feel challenging to prioritize skin care. In times of decreasing ozone and increasing skin cancers, however, the everyday attention to the body’s largest and most exposed organ is an act of self-care that can help us increase quality of life, longevity of the body’s function, and a joy in beauty that allows our outer surfaces to magnify and translate the inner care we show ourselves daily.
Dawid-Pac, R. (2013). Medicinal plants used in treatment of inflammatory skin diseases. Advances in Dermatology and Allergology/Post?py Dermatologii I Alergologii, 30 (3): 170-177.
Ediriweera, E.R.H.S.S., Premarathna, N.Y.S. (2012). Medicinal and cosmetic uses of bee’s honey – a review. Ayurveda, 33(2):178-182.
Gladstar, R. (2001). Family herbal: A guide to living life with energy, health, and vitality. North Adams, MA: Storey Books.
Johnston, C.S., Gaas, C.A. (2006). Vinegar: medicinal uses and antiglycemic effect. Medscape General Medicine, 8 (2): 61.
Mandal, M.D., Shyampada, M. (2011). Honey: its medicinal property and antibacterial activity. Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine, 1(2): 154–160.
Nguyen, T.A., Friedman, A.J. (2013). Curcumin: a novel treatment for skin-related disorders. Journal of Drugs in Dermatology, 12(10): 1131-7.
Sonavane, K., et al. (2012). Topical curcumin-based cream is equivalent to dietary curcumin in a skin cancer model. Journal of Skin Cancer. Published online 2012 Dec 13. doi: 10.1155/2012/147863
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